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Professional Staff Compensation
Position Review FAQ

General Information

Does the University-wide merit increase process impact the professional staff compensation change processes?
No, unless the major organization you are in (e.g., medical center, EVP division, college, etc.) has locally established policies or requirements that need to be followed. Contact your administrator or manager to learn the policy for your organization.
Why do I need to confirm that a faculty member’s position has previously gone through recruitment when I want the position reviewed for placement in the Professional Staff Program?
The University’s equal opportunity practices require that we ensure that employees in the Professional Staff Program were hired through an open, competitive recruitment process. If a position was not filled through a competitive recruitment, an individual cannot be placed in the Professional Staff Program through the position review process. You will have to create a requisition for the proposed professional staff position and fill it through recruitment.
The Professional Staff Compensation Change Request Form asks whether the employee has received an in-grade or promotional salary increase within the last 12 months. Does this include salary increases received through the University-wide professional staff merit increase process?
No. Check this box only if the employee has received an increase through either an in-grade salary adjustment or position review.

Form Preparation & Completion

When I open a form, I am asked if I would like to enable or disable macros. What do I do?
This question is prompted based on your application's macro security setting. Enabling or disabling the macros will not affect our forms, which do not use macros.
How do I move between form fields on the form documents?
You can move between fields on the form documents by either clicking between fields with your mouse or using the "Tab" key or arrow keys on your keyboard.
Can the required forms be completed manually?
Yes. While the forms were designed to be completed electronically using Microsoft Word and have fields that can expand to accommodate the information entered, they can be completed manually. If you complete a form manually and do not have enough room on the form, attach additional documents.
How can I be sure that I'm using the current version of a form?
We recommend that you always download a copy of the forms you need from the position review website to obtain the current version of a form.
When I receive the HR Compensation Office approval of my request, how do I enter the email approvals into OPUS?
Review the "OPUS as a Resource Tool" section of the OPUS Help Pages for instructions on adding notes into the OPUS system.
When is it not appropriate to use the Professional Staff Compensation Change Request Form?
Do not use this form for classified reclassification requests, for temporary professional staff appointments, or for recruiting for professional staff positions.
I am completing the Professional Staff Compensation Change Request Form for a position review, but I don't know what payroll title or salary to request. How do I complete the "Proposed Payroll Title" and "FT Monthly Salary" fields in Section D?
If you are unsure of which payroll title and job code to propose, leave the "Proposed Job Code" field blank and enter the phrase "PLEASE CALL TO DISCUSS" into the "Proposed Payroll Title" field. If you are unsure of what proposed full-time monthly salary to suggest, leave the "FT Monthly Salary" field blank. The HR Compensation Office will contact you to discuss these issues.
Why does it say "! ZERO DIVIDE" on the Professional Staff Compensation Change Request Form in the "% Pay Increase" field?
The form generates this error message when a calculation results in a "division by zero" (which is not allowed mathematically). This is typically caused by leaving one of the salary fields blank. When the salary numbers are filled in, the error message goes away.
What information should be included in the justification section of the Professional Staff Compensation Change Request Form?
For Professional Staff Position Review requests, please give a detailed justification for the proposed change to the position.

Include the following information, as appropriate, in your justification:

  • What has changed in the position’s duties and responsibilities
  • Why these changes have occurred
  • What effect will/has the changes in the position’s duties have/had on others in the organization
  • Will former duties be shifted to others and if so, will any positions be back-filled as a result
  • Any additional information that would be helpful in reviewing the request
For In-grade Salary Adjustment requests, please provide additional details supporting the reason you selected in Section C of the Compensation Change Request Form.
For Payroll Title Change Only requests: Please explain why this title change is being requested. If the new title will be under a different professional staff exemption, please provide information to support that position’s exemption under the new professional staff exemption. Consult the Professional Staff Payroll Titles web page for information on professional staff titles and their exemptions.
Can I use the Professional Staff Compensation Change Request Form to request a change to a position’s FLSA overtime status (e.g. overtime eligible or overtime exempt)?
Yes, if the Compensation Office has previously assigned the position to an overtime exempt job title and the position should be made overtime eligible because it no longer meets the Fair Labor Standards Act’s salary basis test for overtime exemption. Complete only the title change sections of the Compensation Change Request form and note the reason for the change in the form’s justification section. You can use this process to request that a position that is now overtime eligible, but was previously overtime exempt, be reassigned to an overtime exempt job code. Contact the Compensation Office to discuss your situation.
Rather than using the Organization Chart section of Professional Staff Position Description Form, can I attach my department's organization chart?
Yes, if your organization chart contains all of the information requested in the organization chart section of the Professional Staff Position Description Form. Organization charts sent electronically should be Microsoft Word, Power Point files or PDF.
Can I fax the Professional Staff Compensation Change Request?
Completed Professional Staff Compensation Change Request documents can be faxed to the Compensation Office at 206-616-2372. However, if you fax them, please do not mail the same documents. Doing so may cause double entry of the request into our tracking system.

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Professional Staff Position Reviews

What is a professional staff position review?
A position review evaluates the duties and responsibilities of a position to determine an appropriate professional staff payroll title and grade. The position review process may also be used to review a position that is not currently in the Professional Staff Program for inclusion into the Professional Staff Program.
When is it appropriate for a classified staff position to be reviewed for inclusion in the Professional Staff Program?
This action would be appropriate when there is reason to believe that the position meets one of the professional staff exemption criteria.
What can I do to ensure the most efficient review of my position review request?
Accurately complete all required position review documents. If you have any questions prior to submission of the position description or questionnaire documents, please contact the HR Compensation Office.
Why is a different position description form used for research scientists/engineers?
The general evaluation process did not work well for research scientist/engineer positions. A specialized process and form was developed to capture standard competencies for most research fields.
How long does an employee need to work in a position before a position review can occur?
For the Professional Staff Program, there is no mandated amount of time that an employee must work in a position before a position review can occur. It is important that the employee be in the position long enough to demonstrate that he/she is capable of working at the level sought in the position review. Individual organizations may have policies specific to this question. Please check with your organization's human resources administrator.
Where can I find the professional staff payroll titles? What if I cannot find a payroll title that is appropriate?
Payroll titles are general titles organized by Professional Staff Program exemption. The Professional Staff Payroll Titles web page provides a list of professional staff payroll titles listed by exemption group. If you do not find a specific title that you feel is appropriate, select one of the general titles. You may use a working title for the position, however, for the purposes of a position evaluation only payroll titles are used.
On the Contacts/Interactions section of the Professional Staff Position Description Form, is contacting the President’s office to coordinate a meeting for my manager enough to qualify as having “direct contact” with the President on this form?
No. It is intended that direct contact be in-person, email, or phone contact with the person in question, not his/her office or representative.

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Research Scientist/Engineer Position Questionnaire

Why is there a special position questionnaire for Research Scientist/Engineer reviews?
The questionnaire was designed to provide users a tool to quickly and easily document a position's level of responsibility for a variety of competencies common to many research scientist and research engineer positions. Additionally, the questionnaire helps users to readily identify and define those elements of a job that are most important in determining the a position;s grade and title assignment. It addresses factors that are characteristic of the kind of work that research scientist and engineer positions perform.
How do I use the generic job descriptions?
The generic job descriptions provide a model for the typical attributes found in positions within the grade/payroll title. They are based on similar job descriptions and career progression matrices used in other research-oriented organizations and have been adapted to reflect how the University differentiates between levels/grades. These generic job descriptions are used to help identify a salary grade and payroll title for a particular level of work.
How should I use the Career Path Guidelines?
The Career Path Guidelines identify the core competencies for various job content factors. Employing officials can use this tool to quickly identify an appropriate job level for a particular position. Employees can identify the level of competence required to progress from one level to the next. A position is generally assigned to a salary grade that represents the majority of the position;s competencies. A position does not have to perform all competencies at a specific grade level to be assigned to that grade.

In-grade Salary Adjustments

What should be considered in determining an appropriate salary adjustment recommendation for an in-grade adjustment?
Factors to consider when determining an appropriate salary adjustment include:
  • the individual’s performance,
  • length of time in the position,
  • external pressing issues such as current market conditions,
  • major organization policies,
  • whether the salary adjustment will cause an inequity or compression with another employee’s salary, and
  • University of Washington professional staff compensation program practices.
Who can submit an in-grade salary adjustment request?
In-grade salary adjustment requests may be requested by the employee's manager, department or major organization and require the same approval as full reviews per organizational policy (dean/vice president or school/college, medical center COO, or delegated designee).
How often can in-grade salary adjustments be requested/granted?
There is no central University policy that governs how often an in-grade salary adjustment can be requested for an employee. If in-grade review requests are frequent for a position, the Compensation Office may recommend that a full position review be conducted. Major organizations may also have their own internal review guidelines; check with your administrator.
What information should be included in the justification section (Section F) of the Professional Staff Compensation Change Request Form?
Include more detailed information to support the selected reason in Section C.

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Payroll Title Changes

What if I want to provide a salary increase and a payroll title change at the same time?
The payroll title change option was created for situations when a position’s duties may have changed but the salary grade and pay rate are appropriate. If you believe that both a salary and title change are appropriate, consider requesting a full professional staff position review.
What supplementary documents are helpful to support a Payroll Title Change Request?
While not required, it is helpful to have a current job description attached. If the Compensation Office cannot approve the title change request based on the information in the Professional Staff Compensation Change Request Form, the Compensation Office may request a job description.