Employee information regarding the state compensation plan

Oct. 27, 2011

Here are three messages regarding the state compensation plan. The first is from Robert Lavigna, UW–Madison director of human resources. The others include a message from Michael Huebsch, secretary of the state Department of Administration, and another is from state Office of State Employment Relations Gregory Gracz.

UW–Madison Colleagues,

Attached are two letters describing the 2011–13 compensation plan, one from Department of Administration (DOA) Secretary Huebsch and the other from Office of State Employment Relations (OSER) Director Gracz.

As detailed in the letters, OSER has submitted the compensation plan to the Joint Committee on Employment Relations (JCOER). This biennial compensation plan includes several provisions that affect employee compensation and benefits. However, per the attached letters, there are only minimal changes to employee base pay and benefits.

The compensation plan provisions apply primarily to classified employees but also affect faculty and academic staff. Some of the key provisions are described below. 

Classified staff:

  • Many of the recommended changes are past collective bargaining provisions that are now being incorporated into the compensation plan. This was necessary because the Budget Repair Bill (Act 10) modified the scope of collective bargaining.
  • OSER is not recommending any changes to the Supplemental Health Insurance Conversion Credit (SHICC) program or current vacation allocations. The SHICC program allows employees who have at least 15 years of continuous state service to earn additional sick leave credits (that are added to Accumulated Sick Leave Conversion Credits) to pay for health insurance after retirement.
  • The compensation plan does not provide any general wage increases this biennium. However, the plan recommends some limited pay flexibility in the form of “discretionary merit compensation” adjustments (DMCs) for classified staff only. We do not yet have details on how DMCs will be administered.

Faculty and academic staff:

The SHICC program is unchanged and there are no pay plan increases in the compensation plan recommendations. The “discretionary merit compensation” adjustments (DMCs) included in the plan do not apply to faculty and academic staff.

If JCOER approves the plan, its provisions will be effective on January 1, 2012.

Details about the compensation plan recommendations are available at http://oser.state.wi.us (click on “Compensation Plan Toolkit”). We will provide more details over the next several weeks but, in the meantime, if you have any questions please email us at compensationplan@ohr.wisc.edu.

Thanks.

Bob Lavigna

Director of Human Resources, UW–Madison

 

Here is Secretary Huebsch’s message:

October 25, 2011

To All State Employees:

This morning a proposed new Compensation Plan was submitted to the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Employment Relations (JCOER). Later today you will receive a letter from Gregory Gracz, Director of the Office of State Employment Relations (OSER), which will provide direction on where you can obtain additional information. I want to reach out to you in advance for several reasons.

First, while respecting OSER’s obligation to provide the Plan to JCOER first, I wanted to make every effort to ensure you heard about the Plan as early as possible. I feel strongly about how important it is to communicate with you in as timely and complete a manner as possible.

Second, the Compensation Plan was developed taking into consideration the commitment the Governor made to maintain base pay and earned benefits under the new Plan.  While there have been many rumors associated with this new Compensation Plan, I believe you will see little has changed in the proposed Plan. Items like base pay, vacation, holidays, sick leave and sick leave conversion credits remain largely unchanged. The vast majority of add-ons and differentials that were in the prior Compensation Plan for nonrepresented employees, as well as many of those that were included in the various union contracts, remain the same.

Third, while much remains the same there are things that will change in an effort to reform the current system. While the majority of pay and benefit-related provisions from former contracts were incorporated into the Compensation Plan, there are many contract provisions that were not. These changes relate primarily to day to day agency operations, which we must conduct in the most effective and efficient manner possible. Overtime is one of the major areas that will be affected as agencies will now have discretion in determining how overtime is assigned. In addition, payment for overtime will be calculated in accordance with federal law which will impact how many employees are compensated for these additional hours. Another change is the addition of Discretionary Merit Compensation, which will be similar in nature to the Discretion Compensation Adjustments of the past but, as the name implies, will focus on rewarding outstanding performance. We have talented professionals working for the State of Wisconsin who do great things – we will now have a way to recognize them appropriately.  

Fourth, this is a process. OSER submitted a proposed Plan to JCOER and that Plan must be approved before it can be implemented effective January 1, 2012. As promised, the governor has requested that any vote on the Plan take place no sooner that ten days from today so members of the Committee have ample time to gather public input. Once approval has been secured, your agency leadership will be able to provide further details and answer many of your initial questions. In order to ensure that all employees are aware that these resources are available, please feel free to share this letter with any fellow state employees you believe may not have received this communication.

As a state employee myself, I understand that this has been a time of significant change for all of us. I understand that some employees may feel this is a challenging time in our history. Please know that each agency’s leadership will be working with you to ensure you understand the upcoming changes and how they will affect your position with the State of Wisconsin.

Lastly, on behalf of the Governor and myself, I want to thank you for the hard work you and your fellow state employees do every day to make Wisconsin a great place to live and work.

Sincerely,

Mike Huebsch

Secretary

 

Finally, here is Gracz's message:

DATE: October 25,2011
TO: All State Employees
FROM: Gregory L. Gracz, Director
SUBJECT: 2011–2013 Compensation Plan

The 2011–2013 Compensation Plan, as submitted to the Joint Committee on Employment Relations (JCOER), will be published on OSER's website by the end of the day today: http://oser.state.wi.us/. The Compensation Plan covers all classified employees, except those in the public safety bargaining unit (which covers State Troopers and Inspectors), and certain unclassified employees not covered by a separate Plan (e.g., UW faculty and academic staff). If approved by JCOER, the Compensation Plan will be effective January 1, 2012.

It is important to note that very little is changing in the Compensation Plan from the former collective bargaining agreements in terms of employee base pay, supplemental pay, and benefits. Provisions covering
base pay, vacation, and sick leave, including sick leave conversion credits, remain largely unchanged and are generally the same or slightly modified versions of provisions that used to be included in collective
bargaining agreements. Also, the vast majority of pay progression and supplemental pay and differential provisions from the former contracts were incorporated into the new Compensation Plan with only minor
changes in some areas. For the most part, the modified language results in consistency and equity in application of pay and benefit provisions across employee groups.

At the link provided above, you will also find an Overview document that covers some of the issues included in the Compensation Plan that will likely be of greatest interest to state employees. Included at this link as
well are tables for each former collective bargaining agreement which indicate if and where Agreement provisions can be found in the new Compensation Plan. Please be aware that even those provisions that were incorporated into the Compensation Plan may not be identical to the provision as it existed in the former contract. If provisions were not incorporated into the Compensation Plan, a link is provided to governing
statutes or administrative code, or other reference sources.

The final version of the Compensation Plan (without underlining and strikethrough), as approved by JCOER, will be available on OSER’s website as soon as possible after such approval.

If you have any questions about using the collective bargaining agreement tables or about the contents of the Compensation Plan, please contact your agency’s Human Resources Office via e-mail to the address provided by your agency.