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Professional Staff Payroll Titles
& Payroll Title Descriptors

Professional Staff Payroll Title Assignment

All professional staff positions must meet one of the legislatively authorized exemption criteria in order to be placed in the professional staff program. The HR Compensation Office evaluates each professional staff position to determine the exemption criterion it meets, to assign a payroll title that is associated with the exemption criterion, and to assign a salary grade that is based on the position's duties, responsibilities, and other factors. Each payroll title and salary grade combination is assigned a unique job code. (Learn more about professional staff compensation).

Payroll Title Series

Most payroll titles (e.g., "manager" or "director") are assigned to more than one salary grade. A payroll title and its salary grades are referred to as a Payroll Title Series (e.g., manager grades 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11)

Payroll Title Series Descriptors

The HR Compensation Office created professional staff payroll title series "descriptors" as a tool to help users identify and propose the payroll title to be assigned to a position at the time of recruitment, or when a professional staff position is reviewed for a change in payroll title. Each payroll title descriptor provides a general description of the work the series typically performs. The wide diversity in UW positions means that a descriptor cannot address position-specific job duties. The descriptor is therefore not a substitute for the position description that is needed when you submit an employment requisition or a professional staff position review request.

How to Access and Use Payroll Title Descriptors

Use payroll title descriptors to help select a job code for a position when requesting the review of a professional staff position, or when submitting an employment requisition to fill a vacant position. To identify a payroll title to propose, complete these steps:

  1. Complete the Professional Staff Position Description form or Research Scientist Engineer Position Questionnaire. (See the professional staff position review web page for process information and forms.)
  2. Identify the professional staff exemption criterion that you believe is most consistent with the position's function. If you cannot identify an exemption criterion for the position, contact the Human Resources Compensation Office for assistance.
  3. Go to the payroll title/descriptor list web page and navigate to the payroll titles listed under the exemption criterion you have identified for your position. Follow the links to the available payroll title descriptors, and select the payroll title/salary grade job code that you believe is most consistent with your position's duties and responsibilities. Descriptors are not intended to provide guidance on salary grade selection.

The UW Compensation office will review the payroll title you suggest and consult with you if it determines that an alternate payroll title is a better fit for the position.

Payroll Title Series Descriptor Format

Each professional staff payroll title series descriptor contains the following sections:

Descriptor Title The title of the descriptor.
Typical Responsibilities General description of the type of work performed by positions assigned a title in the payroll title series.
Supervisory Responsibilities Level of supervisory responsibility positions in the series normally exercise, if any.
Job Codes Job codes and salary grades for the applicable payroll title series.
Overtime Eligibility Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) overtime status generally assigned to, or required of positions in the series.
Professional Staff Exemption The professional staff exemption criterion that applies to the series.
Sample Working Titles Examples of working titles sometimes used to provide a more descriptive title for a position than the payroll title. Examples are not exhaustive, and an individual position may be assigned a different working title than those listed. Working title examples are not always provided.
Alternative Payroll Titles Other payroll title series that may be a better fit for positions that do not fit the descriptor. Classified titles may be provided for positions that may not meet one of the professional staff exemption criteria. Alternative payroll titles are not always provided.
Limitations Limitations or requirements that positions assigned the payroll title series must meet. Limitations are not always provided.

Payroll title descriptors do not contain “minimum qualifications” because minimum qualifications are position specific and are not generalized across positions.

Questions & Answers

Do all payroll title series have descriptors?
No, a payroll title series may not have a descriptor if:
  • the payroll title is used infrequently or for a limited number of specialized positions (e.g., vice president, vice provost).
  • a descriptor is largely organization-specific, and it is not needed University-wide.
  • the HR Compensation Office has not yet created a descriptor for the series in question.
My job is assigned a job code that is not listed on the payroll title job code list. Why is that?
The payroll titles listed on the HR web site are those that are most commonly used. A job code may not be listed if it is infrequently used or if it is new and the web page has not yet been updated.
Why are some jobs assigned to a payroll title where the descriptor doesn't match the positions' job duties?
Descriptors provide a model for the job title series as a whole and not individual positions that may be assigned to a title in the series. If an organization believes a position's assigned job title is no longer appropriate, the organization can, with appointing authority concurrence, request that the HR Compensation Office review the position.
What happened to the Professional Staff Benchmark Descriptions that Human Resources Published?
The professional staff benchmark descriptions were developed as part of the Professional Staff Salary Survey that the University conducts periodically. Before the professional staff payroll title descriptors were created, the benchmark job descriptions provided the best tool available to help managers select payroll titles. The salary survey benchmark job descriptions are still available at the Professional Staff salary website, but should no longer be used to help professional staff payroll title assignment.