Speak up Be heard: Human Resources

Pay issues

Submitted: March 06, 2024
Last updated:
Status: Resolved

Comment or issue submitted:

It's disheartening to observe how the current structure of pay increases within our institution predominantly benefits those in leadership and management roles, while overlooking the dedicated individuals working tirelessly in lower positions. While some employees may see a slight uptick in their pay, it's often akin to receiving mere spare change, which fails to keep pace with the soaring inflation rates, particularly concerning essentials like rent, groceries, fuel, and other necessities.

Adding insult to injury, we witness higher-ups enjoying substantial bonuses, a stark contrast to the paltry 0.2% pay increase many of us receive, rendering the whole process seemingly futile. Additionally, the disparity extends to the allocation of time off, with senior employees not receiving equitable treatment compared to their newly hired counterparts. This discrepancy leaves longstanding employees feeling undervalued and neglected, as if their years of dedication and service count for naught.

Regrettably, these practices foster a sentiment that our institution, ASU, prioritizes numbers over the well-being of its workforce. The expectation of loyalty from employees becomes increasingly difficult to uphold when the institution itself appears to lack reciprocity. ASU must reassess its approach to compensation and employee recognition, ensuring fairness and equity across all levels of the organization. Only then can we cultivate a culture of inclusivity and genuine appreciation for the hard work and dedication of every individual within our community.

Resolution:

Thank you for your inquiry. Like other organizations, the university has a budget that requires it to allocate funds for various objectives each year and prepare for unexpected expenses. ASU's merit compensation program follows a pay-for-performance approach rather than providing inflation-calibrated or cost-of-living increases. The funding for the merit program aligns with national trends among higher education institutions. The university's leadership strives to offer employees the highest possible salary increases while also keeping its commitment to Arizona students and their families to keep tuition costs low.
Furthermore, we acknowledge your concern regarding vacation allocation. The objective of aligning vacation time is to establish a sustainable work environment in which every employee receives support, regardless of their time at the university. We appreciate your feedback.
 



Cost of living

Submitted: March 20, 2024
Last updated:
Status: TBD

Comment or issue submitted:

Will ASU consider implementing a cost of living adjustment for employee salaries? Many full-time employees, myself included, are finding it increasingly challenging to make ends meet. Despite the soaring cost of living, our salaries have not kept pace, leaving us struggling financially. It's disheartening to see that an average worker without specialized skills can earn over $15 per hour at a Walmart store, while highly qualified researchers with valuable expertise are only compensated at $20 per hour. With housing costs consuming a significant portion of our income, ASU must address this issue to ensure fair compensation for its employees. Additionally, it's worth noting that while tuition fees for students increase every year, the salaries of staff members remain stagnant, exacerbating the financial strain on employees.

Resolution:


Cost of living

Submitted: February 19, 2024
Last updated:
Status: Resolved

Comment or issue submitted:

Does ASU plan on raising salaries to combat inflation, align to market value and combat the astronomical rise in cost of living for employees? The cost of everything has risen significantly and salaries do not reflect this. I work full time and am not making enough to make ends meet anymore. What is being done to address this? Your employees are suffering. I see multiple posts about employees voicing the same concern and nothing has been addressed or improved?

Resolution:

Thank you for your feedback. University leadership monitors changes in relevant labor markets and works hard to provide employees with the largest salary increases that resources will allow. Similar to other higher education organizations, the university operates on a budget, and the ability to implement wage adjustments or merit compensation programs varies from year-to-year.



Inadequate Pay = Loss of Educator Talent

Submitted: November 13, 2023
Last updated:
Status: Resolved

Comment or issue submitted:

I trust this message finds you well. I am writing to bring to your attention the urgent need for a comprehensive salary reform at Arizona State University. The current challenges faced by our staff in terms of required educational experience, gender pay gaps, and cost of living increases are reaching critical levels, impacting not only individual livelihoods but the overall equity and vibrancy of our university community. The topic of salary has been repeatedly brought to the attention of Staff Council and repeatedly there is a resounding lack of systemic support for staff.

It is commendable that our institution upholds high standards for education and qualifications, as reflected in the academic requirements for various positions. However, it is equally important that the compensation packages for these roles evolve in tandem with the increasing cost of living. Many of our staff members find themselves grappling with financial challenges due to the current salary structure. This is apparent across multiple departments and campus locations.

1. Educational Experience: The requirement of educational qualifications for various positions at ASU is commendable, but it demands a proportional compensation structure. Many dedicated staff members, despite holding requisite degrees (many often demanding a bachelor's degree), find themselves struggling with salaries that do not align with their educational achievements. Similarly, some staff are unable to even afford educational courses at ASU despite the tuition benefits because they cannot afford the reduced tuition cost - creating an equity gap in newly hired educators who can afford and long-serving staff who cannot afford furthering their studies. This continues inequality in educational opportunities. Furthermore, many staff have reached their personal educational goals and thus tuition benefits are an extra cost to a meager salary. Aligning compensation with educational qualifications and furthering benefits is not just about fairness but also about retaining and attracting top talent to further elevate the reputation of our institution.

2. Gender Pay Gaps: It is disconcerting to note that gender pay gaps persist within our university, at every level, and in every department. Please note that salaries at ASU are public information and accessible online in a matter of minutes due to the work and diligence of the State Press. Achieving gender pay equity is not just a moral obligation but a strategic imperative to foster an inclusive and diverse work environment. I urge ASU to conduct their own thorough analysis of gender-related pay and opportunity discrepancies. This analysis should explore not only overall salary averages but also delve into specific roles and departments to identify and rectify any instances where a gender pay gap may exist. Rectifying these disparities will contribute to a workplace where every staff member, regardless of gender identity, feels valued and fairly compensated for their work at ASU.

3. Cost of Living Increases: The rising cost of living in Phoenix, Arizona, is undeniable. Failure to adjust salaries to keep pace with this increase places an undue burden on our staff, hindering their ability to meet basic needs and forcing long-serving staff out the door. The lack of affordable housing options for our staff is a significant concern. Staff members should not have to choose between essential living expenses, medical care, or pursuing further education. I urge the HR department and university leadership to conduct a comprehensive review of the current salary structure, with a specific focus on elevating staff incomes from lower-class designation. Every staff member at ASU should be able to independently afford the median apartment rental cost within Maricopa County while still maintaining a reasonably comfortable lifestyle - we are more than employees working to survive. The impact of this situation is multifaceted, affecting not only the financial well-being of our staff but also their overall job satisfaction and morale. It is crucial to acknowledge that a fair compensation plays a pivotal role in the overall quality of life and job performance. Adequate compensation is not just a matter of financial remuneration but is integral to the well-being, job satisfaction, and morale of our continual workforce and community.

These issues have been raised locally and in governance, yet a comprehensive resolution seems to be continually deferred. This has been brought up to local and university wide organizations, yet it is apparent that no discernable action has been done.

This inaction speaks louder and is heard with more reverberation - ASU does not care that their staff are suffering under inadequate wages.

The consequences of inaction are tangible—staff members making low incomes pick up secondary and third jobs, community members sacrifice healthcare needs, and staff face housing insecurities. The resultant disparities in the workforce are detrimental to the overall success and reputation of our university, forcing long serving personnel to make the difficult decision to leave a school that refuses to support them. Yet time and time again research shows that educators that are paid appropriately for their work are able to focus better and support their students and educational community. As an institution that is proud of it's status in innovation, ASU should be at the front to herald significant educator salary reform to recruit and maintain quality talent. I appeal to you to champion a comprehensive salary reform that addresses these pressing concerns. This is not just an investment in our staff; it is an investment in the future success, diversity, and inclusivity of Arizona State University and educators.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I am optimistic that your leadership will pave the way for a more equitable and thriving university community that staff may be supportive of.

Resolution:

Thank you for your feedback. We understand that providing feedback can sometimes be challenging, and we appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts. Your comments will be shared with the leadership. To address your concerns directly, we recommend reaching out to your department's HR Representative to discuss them further. Additionally, the Office of Human Resources Business Partners team https://cfo.asu.edu/ohr-partners , is also available as another resource for you to provide further feedback. We value your input on the concerns you've raised.



Questionable promotion and minimal disciplinary actions

Submitted: March 06, 2024
Last updated:
Status: TBD

Comment or issue submitted:

I am writing to seek clarification and understanding regarding the procedures and criteria employed for internal promotions within our esteemed organization, with a particular focus on directorial positions.

As a dedicated member of our team, I value the principles of transparency and fairness that underpin our organizational culture. However, recent observations have prompted me to inquire about the process through which internal promotions, especially at the directorial level, are conducted.

Specifically, concerns have arisen regarding instances where individuals who have been the subject of multiple complaints and have only received minimal disciplinary actions have been quietly promoted. This occurrence has led to questions about the alignment between our promotion practices and our commitment to fostering an environment of accountability and excellence.

I firmly believe that all employees, regardless of their hierarchical position, should be held to the highest standards of conduct and performance. In light of this, I propose that there be mechanisms in place for employees to provide feedback on upper management, similar to the evaluations that employees undergo themselves. This would not only ensure accountability but also promote a culture of continuous improvement and mutual respect within our organization.

Furthermore, it is imperative that those occupying leadership roles demonstrate not only proficiency in their responsibilities but also exemplify qualities of effective leadership. It is disconcerting when individuals prioritize personal advancement over the fulfillment of their leadership obligations, as this can have adverse effects on team morale and organizational success.

Resolution:


Roth IRA contribution

Submitted: February 29, 2024
Last updated:
Status: TBD

Comment or issue submitted:

I spoke to someone in HR within the past year that said that the Roth IRA contribution in the 457(b) was not an option because one person in HR decided not to let it be an option. They said that the change would be happening to allow the Roth IRA contribution, but I haven't seen it. Can you please look into this being an option? One of the benefits of working for the university is the increased ability to invest more for retirement and I'd like to be able to take advantage of the Roth IRA option.

Resolution:


ABOR Annual Personnel Report, Staff Salaries

Submitted: November 29, 2023
Last updated:
Status: Resolved

Comment or issue submitted:

I would like to know what steps ASU plans to take to address the information presented to ABOR during their meeting on 8/24/2023 regarding the Annual Personnel Report. The meeting information and the report can be viewed at https://arizonastateu.sharepoint.com/:b:/s/O365ABOR/public/Committee/Bo…. Look for Item #6.

In the report the data presented for ASU showed that for other staff (which includes professional, university staff category and administrative), the projected average salary increases needed to reach market in fiscal year 2025 are 14.1 percent at ASU.

What does ASU plan to do to increase salaries for staff in regards to bringing the salary to market, salary increases to address inflation or cost of living adjustments (COLA), and merit increases? These are three separate issues and should not be addressed with one increase.

Resolution:

Thank you for your question. Similar to other organizations, the university operates on a budget, which requires it to fund multiple objectives each year and plan for contingencies and unexpected expenses. ASU’s merit compensation program utilizes a pay-for-performance approach in lieu of inflation-calibrated or cost-of-living increases; funding for the merit program is consistent with national trends among higher education institutions. University leadership works hard to provide employees with the largest salary increases that resources will allow, while also meeting its commitment to Arizona students and their families to keep tuition costs as low as possible.



Holiday Closure

Submitted: December 15, 2023
Last updated:
Status: Resolved

Comment or issue submitted:

Hello, I read the recent vacation policy accrual change and although it benefits all employees it does not address the holiday season. I know that ASU follows the Thank you for your feedback. The university falls under the policy guidelines of the Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR). The holiday leave benefits policy currently authorizes ASU to designate 10 paid holidays; that number has not been expanded since the federal government’s recognition of Juneteenth. And although closing the University and providing paid time off beyond the current vacation accrual and accumulation schedule would not be in alignment with ABOR and ASU’s Vacation Leave policy, how is it that NAU and UA have a university closure in addition to the ABOR 10 day holidays? I think ASU keeps making excuses. Now that all employees will have the same accrual rate it just means that employees, teams, and departments will have to juggle coverage during the time from 12/25 through the new year even more than before. NAU for example has Presidents designated holiday on 12/26 and University closure 12/27-12/29. It is hard to imagine that we are willing to risk employee health and wellness .

Resolution:

Thank you for your question. ASU does adhere to the policies outlined by the Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR) as part of the tri-university system. It's important to note that while we share this tri-university structure, ASU is not obliged to synchronize its business practices with other in-state institutions. The decision not to officially close the university campus during regular business hours is rooted in our charter, established business practices, and the essential needs of our community. This practice aligns with our commitment to providing continuous service and accessibility to our community. ASU's employee vacation leave accruals approach offers flexibility, allowing employees to utilize accrued vacation with supervisor approval. The approval process for vacation time is decentralized and managed at the department level. This approach enables departments to consider both the unit's business needs and employees' individual needs while ensuring appropriate coverage. While we acknowledge the variations in practices across universities, ASU remains steadfast in its commitment to meeting community needs and upholding its charter. We'd like to encourage you to engage with your supervisor or internal department HR liaison for specific guidance or to provide feedback regarding internal processes.



Vacation Accrual

Submitted: September 27, 2023
Last updated:
Status: Resolved

Comment or issue submitted:

Is there the possibility of reviewing the vacation carryover figure and increasing after 5 years? It is very difficult to utilize all the vacation sometimes due to short staffing, or demands of busy unit. Thank you!

Resolution:

Thank you for your feedback. Per the University's policy, it is permissible to carrying over a maximum of 320 hours of unused vacation leave from one year to another. ABOR has laid out specific guidelines on Vacation carryover. If you require any additional guidance, please do not hesitate to contact your supervisor or internal HR Liaison.



Salary

Submitted: October 20, 2023
Last updated:
Status: Resolved

Comment or issue submitted:

Is ASU ever going to make a cost of living adjustment to employee salaries? I work full-time and then some and am struggling to make ends meet. With the astronomical rise in cost of living the salaries have not caught up and your employees are struggling.

Resolution:

Last fall, ASU set Staff pay minimums at $20.00 per hour and $42,000 per year for most every full-time and part-time non-exempt and exempt employee, respectively. This was followed up by ASU funding a Merit Program for calendar year 2023. ASU continues to monitor changes in the relevant labor markets and plans for wage adjustments based on this and the ability to fund increases from year-to-year. Please reach out to your internal HR liaison for guidance and/or providing feedback regarding your internal processes.



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