University of Wisconsin–Madison

Frequently Asked Questions

About the TTC Project

Title and Standard Job Descriptions

  • My job spans multiple roles, which title should I be mapped to?

    Many staff have roles that are complex, but these roles may be better represented by one SJD more than another. One way to help determine the best-fit SJD is to consider which SJD you would use if you were to recruit for this position, and you had to choose one SJD as the basis for the job posting. 

    While this is general advice for determining the best-fit SJD, each job should be reviewed and evaluated by your local HR department. Reach out to the HR contact for your school, college, or division. You can find their contact info from this list of HR contacts.

  • Why doesn't my job have levels?

    Job levels are identified by numbers behind the job title. Accountant I, Accountant II, and Accountant III are examples of job levels. Some jobs in the new job framework have levels, but most do not. Job levels are only created when there are significant differences in duties that need to be called out, such as differences in scope, complexity, and impact to the organization. Job levels are also created based on market information and relevancy. 

    If your job does not have levels, you will still have opportunities to progress. Your growth in experience and expertise over time will be recognized through progression in your salary range. Current pay adjustment tools such as performance adjustment, market adjustment, and pay plan adjustment will continue to exist. You can also promote to different positions with a higher salary range. Review the Progression and Promotion micro learning for descriptions and examples of progression and promotion in the future.

     

    It is important to note that just because some titles have more than one level does not mean that employees will automatically advance to the next level of that title. For example, there may be a work unit on campus that only has a business need for Animal Care Technician II and will never need an employee to perform the responsibilities outlined in Animal Care Technician III. In this example, an employee wouldn’t be eligible for movement to the level III position within the same work unit because the responsibilities outlined in the SJD are not needed. However, there may be vacancies elsewhere on campus where Animal Care Technician III responsibilities are needed.

  • If I am put into the same title as someone with less experience and qualifications, how will my seniority, higher qualifications, and higher level of responsibilities be recognized?

    Education and experience are factors when determining employee salary within a job’s salary range. For example, someone with minimal experience and relevant education may be paid at the lower end of the salary range, while a person in the same job with many years of experience and higher level of relevant education might be placed higher on the salary range. It is also possible to differentiate the level of experience between individuals in the same job through the use of business titles. You can learn more about business titles in the Business Title Guidelines fact sheet. Each division on campus may provide additional guidelines for the use of business titles for staff. You can discuss your business title with your supervisor or local HR representative. You can find their contact info from this list of HR contacts.

  • My position required a certain degree. My new title/Standard Job Description (SJD) requires a lower level of education. Will this reduce my chances of receiving a pay increase in the future?

    The education field listed in the standard job description (SJD) describes the minimum level of education that people in this job typically possess in the job market. The preferred minimum education is a recommendation not a requirement. Relevant work experience and skills can satisfy preferred minimum education. Listing the preferred minimum rather than a requirement is a more inclusive recruitment practice because it allows qualified candidates from diverse backgrounds to be considered. A hiring manager may modify preferred educational requirements when recruiting for a position. Please note that these educational levels do not apply to, or restrict, current employees from being mapped to these titles prior to TTC Project implementation. The only exception is when a legal requirement exists (for example, physician, attorney), where the educational requirement is clearly specified in the SJD.

  • What happens if my responsibilities fit a title/Standard Job Description (SJD) that requires supervision and I don’t supervise 2.0 FTE (full-time equivalent) employees?

    The university is moving towards a more market-informed title structure through the TTC Project. The titles and responsibilities in the SJDs are aligned with this external market information and data. Titles that require supervision of 2.0 FTE (full time equivalent) employees reflect market data that supervision is a core function of these jobs. To account for different supervisory circumstances, 2.0 FTE is not limited to supervision of two full-time employees. A combination of part time employees and hourly student workers count toward the 2.0 requirement. Your division’s HR representative has details on how 2.0 FTE is determined. You can find their contact info from this list of HR contacts

  • What happens if staff doing the same job in different schools, colleges, and divisions are mapped differently?

    The quality assurance (QA) process aligns titles across campus prior to the employee conversations. In instances when this alignment is not consistent, compensation analysts on the TTC Project team will collaborate with human resource representatives across campus to make changes. They will then determine if a Standard Job Description (SJD) needs to be modified or added to the Title and Standard Job Description Library.

Employee Conversations and Position Descriptions

  • Why is the salary structure not available during employee conversations?

    At this point in the TTC Project, we are focused on assigning job titles and standard job descriptions based on duties that employees currently perform. This ensures employees and supervisors appropriately assess the duties of the position. Introducing the assigned salary grades during the title discussion may result in duty inflation, bias, and an inaccurate assessment. The salary structure will be published after employee conversations are complete, closer to the project implementation date.

  • Why doesn’t my Position Description (PD) include all of my tasks?

    The purpose of position descriptions (PD) is to describe your position in a clear, concise format. The position description summarizes your responsibilities at a high level and can capture up to 15 tasks, but is not designed to capture every task you perform.

    Because market data uses concise job summaries, it is difficult to compare jobs at UW to jobs in the market if position descriptions are detailed and lengthy. A concise summary of your position allows the university to find comparisons in the market and determine appropriate compensation.

    Tasks and additional performance expectations can be documented outside of the position description.

  • Can I refuse to sign my Position Description (PD)?

    Employee signature on the PD does not indicate agreement with the PD, but can be used to indicate that the employee has reviewed the PD. We recommend that you work with the HR department of your school, college, or division to address your questions and concerns now, before implementation of the new title and PD in November. However, you can address disagreement with the title through the Appeals process. You can review the steps of the Appeals process along with what can and cannot be appealed on this fact sheet.

  • Is my FLSA exemption status changing?

    Your exemption status is determined by criteria set by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the U.S. Department of Labor. Exemption status determines whether you are salaried (exempt) or hourly (non-exempt), whether you are paid overtime, and how you report time and leave.

    As part of the process to update job titles, we have reviewed and determined exemption status for each job in the new job framework. Your exemption status depends on the title that you are matched to. Most employees’ exemption status will remain the same. If your exemption status is changing, your human resources contact will reach out to you.

    If your exemption status changes based on federal requirement, your employment category  (Academic Staff, University Staff, Limited Appointee) will not change as a result of the Title and Total Compensation Project. 

Pay

  • When will I see the new salary structure?

    Staff base pay will not change as a result of the TTC Project.The salary structure will be published in the fall prior to implementation. The salary ranges will be posted on the TTC website.

  • How can salaries not change if the salary structure is changing?

    The university is updating its salary structure because in many cases our current structure is not market-based. Through the TTC Project, we are comparing UW jobs to similar jobs in the market. Once we implement a modernized salary structure and know where UW-Madison’s compensation compares in relation to the market, we can develop a long-range plan to address compensation issues.

  • What happens if my pay is above the maximum of my salary range?

    Salary ranges within the new salary structure will be based on current market data. The data comes from compensation surveys of peer organizations around the country. The minimum of the salary range will reflect typical pay in the market for someone who is new and gaining experience in the job. The maximum of the range will reflect typical pay of someone who is highly proficient and an expert in the job.

    Your base pay will not change at the implementation of the TTC Project. If your salary falls above the maximum of your salary range, then you will no longer be eligible to  receive base-building salary adjustments until your salary falls within the range. However, you can still receive lump sum payments. Lump sum payments count toward your total cash compensation and earnings toward retirement calculations. In addition, the Office of Human Resources will continue to monitor market data on an annual basis and adjust salary ranges to reflect market trends after the implementation of the TTC Project.

  • Once we identify potential market issues from the mapping placement, will the university proceed with a strategy to address the compensation issues?

    In collaboration with colleges and schools, the campus will develop a long-range strategy to address any market deficiencies. The issues will not be corrected overnight but the campus is committed to find the problems and resolve them. This will involve prioritizing and allocating future resources to eliminate the deficiencies.

  • What happens if my pay is below the minimum of my salary range?

    Salary ranges within the new salary structure will be based on current market data. The data comes from compensation surveys of peer organizations around the country. The minimum of the salary range will reflect typical pay in the market for someone who is new and gaining experience in the job. The maximum of the range will reflect typical pay of someone who is highly proficient and an expert in the job. 

    If your current salary falls below the minimum of your new salary range, you will receive an increase to at least the minimum of the range on November 7, 2021. UW–Madison strives to offer competitive pay and benefits to attract, reward and retain our employees. The university’s goal to be a competitive employer included raising the minimum hourly rate of staff to the City of Madison living wage mark in the last few years. The TTC Project is part of the effort to ensure that UW  is a competitive employer in the job market. At the completion of this project, the university will have a clear, data-driven understanding of compensation issues for the approximately 15,000 employees at UW–Madison who are included in this project. Once the university has a comprehensive picture of compensation issues and understands the budget needed to address these issues, leadership can then thoughtfully work to resolve those issues with a long-term strategy. A thoughtful long-term strategy allows the university to provide a solution that is sustainable and maintains salary balance within the entire organization.

Career Advancement

  • How can I get pay increases in the future?

    The new salary administration guidelines will provide guidance on any adjustments for employees based upon performance or other factors. The following current pay adjustment tools will continue: pay plan increases, performance increases, market adjustments, equity adjustments, and parity adjustments. Information about these pay adjustment tools will be made available  as we get closer to the implementation date.

  • In addition to salary, how will you recognize my years of experience and expertise?

    In addition to pay increases, growth in knowledge, experience, and proficiency in a position can be recognized through the use of business titles. The university has general guidelines for the use of business titles, which can be reviewed in this fact sheet. Each school, college, or division can also utilize more specific business title guidelines. We recommend that you discuss your business title with your manager and local HR department. 

  • If I am placed at the highest level of a title, does that limit my opportunity for career advancement?

    There are many pathways for career growth at UW–Madison. Advancing from one level of a job to the next level is one way to grow. If you want to remain in your current field, you can also explore other jobs within your job group, sub-group, or related careers. By reviewing SJDs of other jobs, you can find jobs that build upon your current skill set. If you are interested in branching out beyond your current field into a related field, you can explore jobs in other job groups or sub-groups, which can potentially prepare you for higher level positions that require comprehensive knowledge of multiple industries or fields of study. One of the benefits of the new job framework is clearer pathways for career growth, along with concise, consistent job descriptions that help UW–Madison employees plan for the next step in their career. 

    After the implementation of the TTC Project in November, we will be share more resources to explore careers at UW–Madison.

  • How will promotions and changing job levels occur in the future?

    Promotion after TTC Project implementation will be defined as upward movement to a new standard job description (SJD) with new responsibilities. One of the goals of the TTC Project is to clarify career development opportunities by providing a job framework where you can easily identify higher level jobs as you look to grow your career at UW-Madison. By using consistent job titles across campus, employees can also see job opportunities within their own work units and across campus. The use of standard job descriptions also allows employees to see the responsibilities expected for jobs to which they aspire. 

Appeals

  • What will the appeals process entail?

    If an employee does not agree with their assigned job title they should talk with their supervisor and local human resources unit. If the concern cannot be resolved, the employee can request a title review and begin the formal appeals process after they receive their official notification letter. Review the Appeals Process fact sheet to learn about the process. More information about that process will be communicated to employees closer to the time that employees can formally appeal.  

Benefits

  • Will my benefits change?

    Your benefits will not change at the implementation of the TTC Project. Your core, statutory benefits (retirement, health insurance, dental insurance, etc.) are determined by the State’s Employee Trust Fund (ETF).

    The TTC Project is looking for ways to enhance UW–Madison’s benefits package by reviewing supplemental benefits that the university has authority to set. Supplemental benefits include benefits such as paid time off, flexible work schedules, tuition assistance and supplemental insurance. The project will propose recommendations based on the results of the Benefits Preferences Survey as well as the Benefits Valuation Analysis, which was conducted by Mercer Consulting, to determine how UW benefit offerings match up to other organizations.

  • What is happening with the project’s efforts to enhance benefits?

    We will align the results from the Benefits Value Analysis (BVA) (which compared benefits to our market peers) and the Benefits Preference Survey (which told us what benefits our employees value) to develop a long-term benefits strategy. There is a team of UW benefits experts reviewing the survey results and developing options and recommendations. Results from this analysis is availible on the TTC Project website in the Resource Library https://hr.wisc.edu/title-and-total-compensation-study/resources/