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SB 330 FAQs

 

Senate Bill 330 Frequently Asked Questions

What exactly does Senate Bill (SB) 330 do with respect to the human resources function at institutions under the jurisdiction of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission (Commission) and the West Virginia Council for Community and Technical College Education (Council)?

SB 330 is comprehensive legislation passed during the 2011 Legislative Session that sets forth new conditions and structure to the human resources function at each of the state’s 20 public colleges and universities. The legislation applies equally to each public institution in the state system of higher education. The law created the position of Vice Chancellor for Human Resources for the Commission and Council to oversee and monitor the human resources function at each institution. The legislation also creates a number of new studies and reporting requirements in an effort to bring best human resources practices to institutions of higher education in the state. Finally, SB 330 contains a component referred to as "relative market equity" requiring the restructuring of compensation for all employees of the state system of higher education in an effort to bring about a measure of internal pay equity. What has already been accomplished under SB 330? SB 330 requires the completion of comprehensive studies of human resources practices and compensation throughout the system. A comprehensive study of human resources practices at each of the public institutions of higher education including the Commission, Council and WVNET offices was concluded in early 2013 by the consultant ModernThink. Other conditions and reporting requirements have been met as well, including a reduction of the ratio of non-classified staff at all institutions and a study of the viability of the state’s new Enterprise Resource Program (wvOASIS) as a platform for a statewide human resources information system (HRIS). SB 330 also includes prospective study and reporting requirements such as yearly updates to the metrics measured by ModernThink and the creation of an organizational accountability system aimed at upholding best human resources practices.

SB 330 mandates a legislative rule be developed to give structure and definition to certain elements of the statute. A legislative rule, Series 53, Human Resources Administration, dealing with the most immediate requirements of the law was promulgated by the Commission and Council, put out for public comment and approved by the Legislature in early 2013. A supplemental legislative rule addressing the remaining requirements of the statute is currently in draft format, the result of a working group consisting of chief human resource officers (CHROs)

as well as representatives of the Advisory Council of Classified Employees (ACCE) and Advisory Council of Faculty (ACF) representatives. Another requirement of SB 330 still in progress is the study necessary to measure and implement relative market equity in compensation among the three classes of employees (faculty, classified and non-classified). In late 2011, a Request for Proposal (RFP) was issued to commission a comprehensive salary survey that will serve as the starting point for measuring relative market equity. The winning vendor was a compensation consultant, Fox Lawson and Associates, with expertise in higher education. At present, the Commission is actively working with Fox Lawson to design and implement appropriate parameters for the salary surveys they are conducting. Due to the complexity of the project requiring surveys of three different classes of employees at 20+ individual institutions, work is continuing on some of the design parameters and methodologies.

 

What remains to be done for full implementation of SB 330? Most of SB 330’s requirements anticipate the completion of an original task with recurring updates. For example, the metrics derived from the initial human resources reviews conducted by ModernThink are to be updated annually. The larger-scale "systematic human resources review of each organization" is to be repeated every five years. Similarly, the initial salary survey and compensation study being conducted by Fox Lawson will provide the basis for implementing new salary structures for higher education and measuring each institution’s compliance with the internal pay equity concept, relative market equity. SB 330, however, also requires that the results of that survey be updated annually with subsequent, full-scale salary surveys for classified employees being conducted by an outside vendor every five years. What are some of the immediate implications of SB 330 to faculty and staff at West Virginia institutions of higher education? The most immediate and anticipated results of SB 330 on higher education employees will come in the form of new structure and guidance to institutional human resources offices with the intent of bringing consistency to how that function is carried out at the system’s 20 institutions. The ModernThink work provides a baseline measure of what functions fall within the different institutional human resources offices, how those functions comply with the law and with recognized best practices in human resources, and where changes might be necessary to bring about a measure of uniformity while still allowing for institutional flexibility. ModernThink’s findings also provide a campus-by-campus comparison of statistical information relative to the human resources function (e.g., ratio of HR staff to total campus employment, HR costs, HR personnel qualifications, etc.). From the big-picture perspective, the initial work done by ModernThink will affect higher education employees by providing a means of identifying and then correcting inconsistencies in the statewide application of human resources policies written and intended to be uniform in their administration.

A concrete example of one of the immediate effects of SB 330 on higher education employees is the refined definition of a "non-classified employee" and the requirement that each institution not exceed a certain ratio of non-classified employees to all non-faculty employees as a means of preventing a dilution of the classification system. The law also requires changes to the manner in which classified employees move through their compensation structure, affording additional flexibility to allow campuses to compete with other employers for hard-to-fill positions. Before SB 330, many campuses had difficulty recruiting well-qualified people into some classified positions due to the strict years-of-service formula that did not afford any credit for non-state agency experience. For example, a plumber with 30 years of non-state agency experience could only be offered a job at the lowest step on the compensation ladder for that pay grade. In addition, certain employment fields have experienced spikes in demand (e.g., IT, health-care, engineering) without accompanying adjustments to the value of those jobs under the classification system. SB 330 revises the considerations for affording credit to existing and incoming employees within the classification system by eliminating the strict years-of-service formula and replacing it with a system that takes into account non-state agency service, job performance and other objective, measureable factors that are relevant and responsive to the market-driven value of particular jobs. In this way, SB 330 represents substantial advances in human resources practices, bringing public higher education closer in line with the demands and needs of a 21

 

st Century workforce. How can one compensation approach satisfy the needs of institutions as varied in their missions as, for example, West Virginia University, Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College and the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine? SB 330 will allow for more specific and better targeted compensation plans designed to meet the unique needs of each of the state’s colleges and universities. Previously, each school has been bound by a statewide, uniform classified salary structure. Under SB 330, each school’s existing compensation levels will be measured by a survey customized to that institution and drawing comparisons to appropriately-selected peer institutions and other employers with whom it competes for labor. Whereas at present, Shepherd University—competing for classified employees with the metro-DC area—has great difficulty hiring plumbers under the statewide classified salary schedule, Shepherd’s salary schedules will now have the flexibility to be adjusted for geographic differences based on cost of labor differentials. At the same time, Shepherd will be afforded the ability to seek "hot jobs" designations and, therefore, enhanced salaries, for positions that cannot be effectively filled under the existing classified structure constraints. In these ways, SB 330 makes the statewide compensation approach more responsive to the recruiting and retention needs of each individual institution.

In order to attract and to retain top-notch faculty to support the institutional mission of West Virginia University, for example, a Carnegie class "high research" school, WVU may elect a compensation philosophy of paying salaries above those paid by its competition. To do so with respect to faculty, however, will also require WVU to do so with respect to its other classes of employees, thereby achieving a measure of internal pay equity. By the same token, some schools may lack the funding necessary to attract the kind of faculty talent WVU competes for. Relative market equity will relieve these schools of having to pay classified and non-classified staff at market rates that may be disproportionately high when compared to what the institution is capable of paying its faculty.

 

What will the new classified salary structure look like? SB 330 requires that the Fox Lawson survey results be used to prepare a Market Salary Structure from which the Commission/Council will establish a minimum salary schedule for all classified employees across the state. With that minimum schedule as the floor, individual institutions will then determine where in relation to the market they will elect to pay. For example, if the minimum classified salary schedule is set at 80% of the market, institutions can elect to pay at any rate at or above that minimum; provided, of course, that they satisfy relative market equity in doing so. In this way, the new classified salary structure will vary by institution depending on the compensation philosophy adopted by that institution. The new classified salary structure will look very much like the existing pay grade structure in regard to pay grades. SB 330 anticipates reducing the total number of these classified pay grades. The use of "steps" based on years of service will, however, be replaced with a range representing the top and bottom of the pay grade together with percentages along that range. Classified employees will be assigned within that range and will progress through the range on the basis of criteria which are to include "performance and other objective, measureable factors including education, years of experience in higher education and experience above position requirements." West Virginia Code §18B-9A-7. Will performance evaluations be used to help determine classified salary progression? SB 330 implements and requires certain human resources best practices across-the-board at all institutions. Among these is the requirement that all supervisors be trained in conducting performance evaluations. The draft legislative rule implementing SB 330 includes provisions requiring regular performance evaluations, guidelines on how performance evaluations are to be conducted and consequences for supervisors who fail to conduct timely evaluations.

How will system employees be kept abreast of the status of the implementation of SB 330 and any other new developments?

The websites for the Commission and the Council contain information related to the requirements of SB 330. The Commission and Council will post new information to their websites as it becomes available. Commission and Council staff are working closely with institutional chief human resources officers and statutory representatives for the classified staff (ACCE) and faculty (ACF) in the development of the legislative rule necessary to implement SB 330. ACCE/ACF representatives will continue to receive regular information from the office of the Vice Chancellor for Human Resources regarding the status of the implementation of SB 330.