Finance and Administration

Career Banding Policy

Human Resources Policy HR 08 05 (Revised 7/10/09)

A. Purpose: To establish a process to compensate SPA employees at a level that promotes successful work behavior which contributes to the university’s mission and business strategies, emphasizes demonstrated competencies that are linked to organizational goals, reinforces high standards of performance and maintains the labor market competitiveness necessary to recruit, retain and develop a competent and diverse work force.  Section J of this policy provides definitions that are helpful in gaining a better understanding of this policy.

B. Scope: Employees subject to the State Personnel Act (SPA).

C. Policy: It is the policy of The University of North Carolina at Pembroke that career banding administration and guidelines will be applied consistently, to ensure fair and equitable treatment for career opportunity and compensation for all employees, through consistent application of the career banding policy and guidelines.

D. Responsibilities: The Chancellor and Vice Chancellors are responsible for assuring the career banding program is conducted in a fair and consistent manner. Financial Managers (FM), in consultation with Human Resources, are responsible for communicating career banding to employees by ensuring employees attendance at related HR training, identifying appropriate role competencies and applying pay factors, as listed in the compensation section of this plan, for equitable determination of employee salary recommendations in compliance with UNCP Salary Administration Policy. FMs are accountable for:

• consistent application of the career banding concepts, • evaluation of employee’s initial and continuing level of competency through the evaluation  of career development plans, • developing career development plans and coaching employees with the goal of enhancing each employee’s contribution to the department and organization’s success at the highest level allowed by the business plan, • evaluation of employee’s competencies upon entrance into any career banded position to determine competency level, • evaluation of employee’s competencies during the annual performance review or upon attainment of demonstrated competencies, and • documenting pay recommendations upon attainment of demonstrated competencies.

The above responsibilities are noted as expectations on the FM’s annual performance evaluation.

Employees, in conjunction with the FM, will establish work plans that are based on the duties outlined in the job description as well as being relevant to the mission and goals of the university. Employees will assume responsibility for:

• career self-management in developing competencies, • enhancing skills and educational level valued by the university • contributing to the success of the organization through continued demonstration of those competencies to advance in the pay band, • attending related training sessions, meetings, informal sessions, etc. that provide explanation of the career banding program, • assuming the responsibility for the review process, which begins with direct notification to the immediate FM and then may proceed through the chain of supervision, as needed. Additional review information is defined in Section I of this policy and in the Salary Administration and Compensation Philosophy Policy.

The Director of Human Resources/EEO/AA Officer is responsible to ensure that the program is administered on a non-discriminatory basis and all necessary components are in place for an effective program.  Designated Human Resources staff are responsible for administering the career banding policy in conjunction with Salary Administration and Compensation Philosophy Policy and Performance Management Program, providing consultation and oversight of all program areas including communication, employee and manager training, and program evaluation. Career banding training is a part of the required “core” training program for staff development. Human Resources staff will ensure, through the administration of these policies, career development guidelines are provided and consistent use of pay factors are used in making compensation recommendations.

E. Office of Human Resources: The Human Resources Generalists will serve as the Career Banding Coordinators for assigned divisions and/or departments. The Coordinators will oversee the Career Banding Program, ensuring that the necessary components, classification analysis and establishment of position competency level within the UNCP memorandum of understanding agreements with Office of State Personnel (OSP), request for new career banding classification to OSP for approval, effective communication, training, evaluation, accountability, and equal opportunity are in place for an effective program. The Career Banding Coordinators will provide continuing technical support for managers on making salary recommendations.

Human Resources (HR) staff will administer the following provisions regarding career banding salary decisions and/or other career banding responsibilities by a FM:

• Determine if employees have been provided opportunities for development and advancement • Determine if pay factors have been applied properly and consistently in compliance with the plan • Determine if the career banding concept has been communicated through HR training opportunities to employees • Ensure that The University of North Carolina at Pembroke does not engage in unlawful discrimination • Ensure that performance management and review procedures are available to address concerns about equitable opportunities for development and advancement • Track dispute resolutions resulting from career banding salary decisions • Conduct periodic self-assessments of the career banding program

Human Resources will report results of the career banding program self-assessments to the Chancellor, respective Vice Chancellors and Office of State Personnel (OSP) at least annually, more often if required. Detailed information and requested reports will be released to OSP for monitoring purposes as requested.

F. Career Banding Funding Goals: The Career Banding Policy, along with the Salary Administration and Compensation Philosophy Policy, use a centralized funding and compensation model for statewide band revisions, promotions, new hire salaries, career banding salary adjustments and reallocations.

Determinations of Career Banding assignments are made, specific to each employee, based upon competencies at the approved level (contributing, journey, advanced) and the appropriate salaries based on the pay factors.

G. Compensation: The compensation structure for a career band job family is defined in the appropriate NC Career-Banding Pay Plan.  Salary adjustments shall be determined in all cases after consideration of application of all pay factors.  The University must consider Pay Factors and provisions of this policy to ensure proper documentation of salary decisions and strive to assure that equity is maintained.  Salaries will be determined in compliance with the Office of State Personnel policies and UNCP’s Salary Administration and Compensation Philosophy Policy.

1. Pay Factors Pay factors will be applied equitably. Pay factor evaluation will occur with each action as defined in this policy: Band Revisions, Career Progression Adjustment, Demotion, Horizontal Transfer, New Hire, Promotion, Reallocation, Reassignment, Reemployment Priority, Reinstatement, Retention Adjustment, and Temporary Salary Adjustment.

Pay Factors include:

Financial Resources - The amount of funding that a FM has available when making pay decisions.

  • business need (budget)

Appropriate Market Rate - The market rate applicable to the functional competencies demonstrated by the employee.

  • Journey market rate guidelines/market reference rate guidelines and related market information
  • Market dynamics

Internal Pay Alignment - The consistent alignment of salaries among employees, who demonstrate similar, required competencies in the same banded class, within the university.

  • Internal pay alignment (equity)
  • Current salary and total compensation

Required Competencies - The functional competencies and associated levels that are required based on university business need and subsequently demonstrated on the job by the employee.

  • Minimum qualifications for class
  • Knowledge, skills, and abilities
  • Related education and experience
  • Duties and responsibilities
  • Training, certifications, and licenses

Pay factor evaluation will also occur with the following situations to determine if a salary adjustment may be warranted:

• Attainment and demonstrated use of competencies within the same class • Recognition of low employee salaries in relation to average market rate or market reference rates.

2. Career Banding Personnel Actions These actions shall be on a current basis except for actions to adjust salaries to minimum.  Salaries that are below minimum of the banded class must be adjusted to minimum when funds become available.  This adjustment may be retroactive to implementation date. 

An employee’s salary may be increased as a percentage of salary up to 20% of their salary provided such increase does not place the employee’s salary above the maximum rate of the new pay band or create internal equity issues.  Salary adjustments will normally be awarded with the effective date of June 1. 

Band Revision: Any change in a Career Banded salary range as a result of routine or special labor market reviews and approved by the State Personnel Commission.  Typically, this may result in a change in the minimum, contributing, journey, advanced and maximum rates for the band but may not necessarily mean a change in all five reference points.  However, for a band revision to occur, at least the journey market rate must change.  Increases provided by this provision are for maintenance of market competitive pay levels for affected employees.  Subject to the availability of funds, satisfactory performance and application of pay factors, salary increases shall be awarded at least to the minimum of the new range.  Salary increases above the minimum of the range may be awarded but shall not exceed the percentage difference between the old journey market rate and new journey market rate. Salary increase as a result of band revisions are not rewards for job performance, assumption of greater responsibility or achievement of higher competency levels. 

Career Progression (in same position):  Salary adjustments may be awarded (but are not guaranteed) to recognize career progression of employees who demonstrate competency advancement through the competency structure or justified through labor market factors. Salary adjustment recommendations shall be determined after consideration and application of all pay factors.  Probationary employees are not eligible for Career Progression Adjustment increases. Employees with active warnings/disciplinary actions or with overall below good or unsatisfactory ratings are not eligible for a career progression adjustment based on competency assessment.

Demotion: A demotion is a change in employment status due to disciplinary action resulting in employee movement from one banded class to another with the same banded classification with a lower competency level, or employee movement from one banded position to another with a different banded classification with a lower journey market rate, or reduction in salary within the same class. When demotion results in movement to another banded class, salary shall be reduced if it exceeds the maximum of the salary range or has the potential to create internal equity issues.  When demotion results in salary reduction in the same banded class, salary may not be less than the minimum of the salary range.  A salary reduced by disciplinary action may be less than appropriate rate based on application of all Pay Factors.

Horizontal Transfer: A horizontal transfer is employee movement from one position to another within the same banded classification with the same competency level or movement from one position to another with a different classification with the same journey market rate.  If employee’s current salary exceeds appropriate rate based on application of all Pay Factors and the transfer is not by employee choice, salary may be maintained except the salary may not exceed the maximum of the class salary range.  If the transfer is by employee choice, the option to maintain salary above appropriate rate based on Pay Factors is not applicable.

New Hires: New hires salaries should be established at levels that recognize the individual’s demonstrable skills, competencies, education and experience while considering the salary levels of current employees within the same job title and competency level, and shall be based on application of all pay factors, but may also include information obtained from other State agencies, local employers, etc.  New employees possessing the minimum qualifications and competencies at the contributing level shall normally be paid at the minimum of the contributing band within the banded class. If the new employee possesses competencies and qualifications that are higher than the minimum standards, the salary may be established at a higher rate within the range assigned to the band and competency level specified in the vacancy job posting.

Salaries paid as a result of recruitment shall not exceed the maximum amount published for recruitment purposes on a vacancy announcement.  Requests for hiring applicants above the minimum of the competency level salary that has been determined for a specific position must be reflected in a statement of justification. Proper justification for approval would include consideration on the basis of education, training, skills, competencies and/or experience that exceed the minimum requirements for the position-specific qualifications and may also reflect recruiting difficulties, occupational pay differentials, etc.  Prior to authorization of requests for hires above the minimum, it is imperative that the Office of Human Resources review the request to ensure it does not create an internal inequity.  The request to hire information will be forwarded to the Office of Human Resources for internal equity analysis and then forwarded to the Director of Human Resources/EEO Officer for approval. Exceptional salary requests must be approved by the Chancellor and/or Office of State Personnel prior to an offer being extended.

Promotions: Promotions will be awarded through a competitive process to include posting of the vacancy, interview, and formal assessment. A promotion is employee movement from one position to another with the same banded classification with a higher competency level or employee movement from one position to another with a different banded classification with a higher journey market rate.  If employees are promoted from a lower band to a higher band, they must be paid at least at the minimum of the contributing level for their new role. Salaries will be based on the application of all pay factors and may not exceed the maximum of the range.

Reallocation: Assignment of a banded position/employee to a different banded classification through data collection and analysis according to customary human resources classification procedures.  Reallocations require the approval (Supervisor/Financial Manager/Vice Chancellor/Chancellor as appropriate) on an updated position description.  Salary is determined through application of all Pay Factors.  Salary increases resulting from reallocation upward shall be increased at least to the minimum rate of the pay band of the new class and/or to the appropriate salary percentage of competency level salary.

Reassignment: A reassignment is employee movement, due to organizational needs or employee/employer signed agreement, from one position to another with the same banded classification with a lower competency level or employee movement from one position to another with a different banded classification with a lower journey market rate.  If employee’s current salary exceeds appropriate rate based on application of all Pay Factors and reassignment is not by employee choice, salary may be maintained, except the salary may not exceed the maximum of the banded class salary range.  If reassignment is by employee choice, the option to maintain salary above appropriate rate based on Pay Factors is not applicable.  Salary reduction will be evaluated based on review of internal equity.  The signed agreement with justification must be submitted to the Office of Human Resources for final review and approval prior to implementation.

Reemployment Priority: Until career banding is implemented for all occupational families, employees in career banded classes will be assigned a grade equivalency only for promotional and reduction in force (RIF) reemployment priority purposes.  The grade is not a determining factor in establishing salary for career banded employees.

Reinstatement:  Reemployment with the university of a former employee into a banded position after a break in service or a return of an employee from leave without pay (LWOP). Reinstatement following LWOP into previous position shall be at the previous rate unless a higher rate is justified by legislative increases or as a career progression adjustment.

Retention Adjustment (in same position): A salary increase not covered by other pay administration policies that may be necessary for UNCP to retain a key employee in their current position and/or where there is evidence of a bona fide written job offer from another employer and there is no current employee with substantially equal competencies to assume those duties

The employee’s salary may be increased up to 20% for the purpose of retention, provided money is available from existing departmental budgets and such increase does not place the employee’s salary above the maximum of the pay band or create internal equity issues.  An employee shall receive no more than one retention increase per year. FM must submit requests through the appropriate divisional approval process. The Office of Human Resources Generalists will review the request and then forward it to the Director of Human Resources and/or Office of State Personnel for consideration and approval prior to implementing as appropriate.

Temporary Salary Adjustment (Acting Promotion):  Employees who are assigned additional or higher level duties, typically for a period not to exceed one year, may be granted temporary salary adjustments not to exceed 20% of their current salary. Temporary salary adjustments are not considered a permanent part of the employee’s base salary. A statement of justification must be provided by the Supervisor and approved by the Vice Chancellor, reviewed by the Director of Human Resources, and submitted to the Office of State Personnel for approval as appropriate. The Office of Human Resources must be contacted priorto commencing the approval process to verify whether a temporary salary adjustment is warranted.

3. Market Data: The labor market rates for statewide career banded positions will be established by the Office of State Personnel (OSP).  The State’s Career Banded Salary Schedule is posted on the Office of Human Resources website.  Human Resources may use occupational specific surveys, and geographic specific labor market data, as appropriate, for establishing UNCP specific Market Reference Rates. This will include viable recruitment areas as well as areas which UNCP experiences strong competition.  Periodic adjustments in the market reference rate will be determined by OSP and adjustments in salaries based on changes in the market reference rate for career banded positions will be made after applying all the pay factors.

4. Working Titles:

Each position at UNCP is assigned a State classification title. In some cases, titles for classified positions that are more specific to a department and/or function are assigned and/or are referred to as “working titles.”  To maintain consistency within UNCP, the State, and with external job markets, any designation of or changes to working titles must be submitted to the Office of Human Resources on an updated position description. These working titles may be used when recruiting for vacancies, by the incumbent signing correspondence, business cards, etc., and will not change the State classification title.

H. Career Banding Procedures:

1. Initiating Career Banding Actions

  • Career banding actions may be submitted at any time and will be reviewed as received in the Office of Human Resources.  Career Progression Adjustment recommendations may be submitted at any time and will be reviewed, for completeness, as received with the opportunity for a salary adjustment annually in June.  Recommendations must include the required justification documentation and be received in the Office of Human Resources by May 1 to be considered by the Core Career Banding Committee. Submissions should include an updated position description, updated competency assessment, work plan, written justification supporting recommendation, organization chart as appropriate in reporting changes, and career banding salary recommendation form.  Incomplete submissions will be returned to the appropriate department. Late submissions will be held until the next review date.

a. Human Resources Initiatives Human Resources may schedule, at any time during the fiscal year, organizational-wide, career band job family or occupational-group salary equity or labor market studies. The Chancellor and Vice Chancellors, supported by appropriate documentation demonstrating the need for the study, will review and authorize Human Resources’ recommendations.

b. Departmental Initiatives The request for a Career Progression Adjustment may be initiated by the FM or employee and is required to have the appropriate Vice-Chancellor approval. The FM, in collaboration with the employee, will provide written justification for each salary adjustment recommendation, using the Career Banding Salary Recommendation Adjustment form, by describing the relevance of all applicable pay factors to the recommendation and submitting the request, with supporting documentation, through the appropriate management channels to the Office of Human Resources. Each individual employee’s development of competencies, completion of training, and demonstration of applicable knowledge, skills, and abilities will determine progression through the career bands and competency levels. A salary adjustment recommendation is defined as a FM’s proposal of the amount of pay that an employee may be granted after applying the pay factors.

Approvals required:

  • Department Chair or Director approval is required to initiate Career Banding Salary Adjustment recommendation requests from appropriate FM.
  • Vice Chancellor approval is required for all requests to receive consideration.

2. Career Banding Evaluation Process
a. Office of Human Resources The Office of Human Resources will coordinate the receipt of recommendations and conduct an initial review to ensure all required documentation and approvals have been received, coordinate the meeting schedule and prepare approval/denial documentation as necessary.
b. Core Career Banding Committee The Core Career Banding Committee, made up of both supervisory and non-supervisory members who represent the divisional areas of the campus, will review operation of the Career Banding Program, evaluate career banding recommendations for approval, and ensure employees are being treated fairly in opportunities for career development and compensation levels. Results of said evaluations will be presented to the Chancellor and Vice Chancellors for final authorization to implement.

c. Career Banding Approval Authority The Chancellor, appropriate Vice Chancellor, and Director of Human Resources will exercise final institutional approval authority for career banding actions based on documented established competency structures, applicable pay factors, salary equity, job changes, market reference rates, or labor market conditions.

3. Review Process Step 1: Department Level Review The FM makes the first determination as to forwarding an employee’s career banding request for approval(s) and/or to Human Resources for consideration. If the FM denies the employee’s request at the department level, a denial letter must be provided to the employee within 10 days of the decision. A copy of the denial letter should also be provided to Human Resources.

Step 2: Employee Review If the employee is not satisfied with the FM decision to deny the employee's request, the competency assessment evaluation or the amount of salary increase awarded, the employee may file a written request to meet with the FM to discuss the reason(s) for the action. Such a request must be made within 10 days of receipt of the related action. The purpose of the meeting may also be to discuss what direction the employee might need to take in order to improve the possibility for future career band or salary adjustments. The FM will provide a written report to the employee within 10 working days following the meeting.

If the employee is not satisfied with the outcome of the meeting with the FM and wishes to discuss this decision further, they may submit a written request to the Director of Human Resources within 10 working days from the date the FM report is received. The purpose of the request would be to have the decision reviewed.

Step 3: Director of Human Resources Upon receipt of such a request, the Director of Human Resources has 15 working days to convene a meeting that may include the employee, the appropriate FM, director, and vice chancellor. The purpose of such a meeting is to discuss the written request, review the competency evaluation and/or the amount of salary request or award. The Director of Human Resources will record the decision of this meeting and share a written report with all parties participating within 10 working days.

Step 4: Core Career Banding Committee Should the employee wish to pursue this matter further, they may have 10 working days to request a meeting with the Core Career Banding Committee. Upon review of all the information available pertaining to the matter and after meeting with the employee, the Core Career Banding Committee shall render a recommendation. The Committee Chair will have 10 working days after the meeting to file a decision with all parties. The University of North Carolina at Pembroke plan for distribution of limited funding in regard to salary decisions to ensure fairness is defined the Salary Administration and Compensation Philosophy Policy. Salary decisions that are restricted solely because of the limited funding are eligible for review consideration only if the plan is not followed.

Any disputes resulting from career banding will be tracked and independently reviewed by the Office of Human Resources and Office of State Personnel in accordance with the established process and time limits.

I. Definitions:

Advanced Competencies: The highest or broadest scope of knowledge, skills, and abilities demonstrated on the job that are beyond journey competencies.

Banded Classification Series: A group of banded classifications that represents the full range of work performed from entry level through the management level (ex: Law Enforcement).

Career Band Level Changes: A change in the level to which an employee is assigned within a banded class from contributing, journey, or advanced.

Career Progression Adjustment (in same position): A salary adjustment within the salary range of the banded class to which an employee is assigned.  A career progression adjustment may be granted in conjunction with demonstrated competencies or as justified through labor market.  Probationary employees are not eligible for Career Progression Adjustment increases.  Employees with active warnings/disciplinary actins or with overall below good or unsatisfactory performance ratings are not eligible for a career progression adjustment based on competency assessment.

Competencies: Sets of knowledge, skills and abilities that employee needs to successfully do his/her job.

Contributing Competencies: The span of knowledge, skills and abilities minimally necessary to perform a job from entry up to journey competencies recognized for the class.

Demotion: Change in employee status due to a disciplinary action as resulting in employee movement from one banded class to another with a lower journey market rate, or reduction in salary within the same class.

Journey Competencies: Fully acquired knowledge, skills, and abilities demonstrated on the job that are beyond the contributing competencies.

Journey Market Rate: The average salary of competitors in the relevant labor market for a banded class as determined by comparisons of benchmark jobs.

Market Reference Rate: A market reference rate determined by comparing benchmark jobs to relevant local, state, or national market data that allows geographical market flexibility in establishing appropriate market relationships.

Pay Band: A broad pay range approved for use with the career banding program as determined by the Office of State Personnel. These bands will include contributing, journey, and advanced levels for each job family.

Pay Range: The actual range of pay (minimum to maximum) assigned to a band.

Position Competency Level: The position is established at a contributing, journey, or advanced competency level.  The overall evaluation of the employee’s competencies will be at the same or lower competency level as the position competency level.  The employee’s overall competency level would not be at a higher level than the position since the employee is assessed based on the position competencies. 

Reassignment: Employee movement, due to organizational needs or employee/employer agreement, from one banded class to another with a lower journey market rate or to a different position within the same class.

Reinstatement:  A former employee is reemployed with the university after a break in service or the return of an employee from leave without pay (LWOP) to a career banding position.  Employee’s returning from LWOP will receive legislative salary increases awarded during the leave, upon his/her return, on a current basis. 

Reallocation: An employee or position is reallocated from one banded classification to another banded classification.  Salary is determined through application of all Pay Factors.

Reassignment: An employee is moved, due to organizational needs or employee/employer agreement, from one position to another with the same banded classification, with a lower competency level or from one position to another with a different banded classification, with a lower journey market rate.  If employee’s current salary exceeds appropriate rate based on pay factor analysis and reassignment is not by employee choice (ex. reduction in force when position is abolished due to funding), salary may be maintained, except the salary may not exceed the maximum of the banded class salary range.  If reassignment is initiated by employee choice, the option to maintain salary above appropriate rate based on pay factors is not applicable.  Salary reduction will be evaluated based on review of internal equity.