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Compensation: Pay Grades and Placement In-Grade

SECTION: HR - Compensation NEXT REVIEW DATE: May 2017
APPROVED: April 2012 REVIEWER: Director of Human Resources
APPROVED BY: William C. Rickle, S.J. REVISION DATE: May 2016

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Wheeling Jesuit University has developed a series of pay grades augmenting our philosophy on position titles, the comparative value of the position within the University, the market place and in compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act.


2.1 Methodology

New employees must be hired in compliance with these guidelines which are subject to change at the discretion of the University Compensation Committee and with the approval of the University President or his designee.

2.2 Establishing Pay Grades

The University pay grades are comparable to the external markets for employees performing similar work in similar organizations; in keeping with the compensation philosophy, the midpoints of all University pay grades are set at 90% of the comparable market. Depending upon the position, the market comparisons used to develop pay grades may be based upon local, regional or national trends where:

2.2.1 The local market is the Wheeling Metropolitan Statistical Area, as defined by the US Census Bureau, consisting of Ohio and Marshal Counties in West Virginia and Belmont County in Ohio; it may expand into Washington County, Pennsylvania. This area is used to recruit non-exempt positions and many lower and mid-level exempt positions.

2.2.2 The regional market consists of the Wheeling Metropolitan Statistical Area, the Pittsburgh Tri-State Combined Statistical Area, the Columbus Metropolitan Statistical Area, and the counties surrounding and extending to Morgantown, West Virginia, Parkersburg, West Virginia / Marietta, Ohio, and Cleveland / Akron / Youngstown, Ohio. This are is used to recruit the majority of technical non-exempt and entry-level /mid-level exempt positions. This market may expand to include additional, adjacent, counties as determined by the position.

2.2.3 The National market is more appropriate for higher level exempt positions and Faculty and includes the continental United States with an emphasis east of the Mississippi.

2.2.4 These areas are also used to assess the Affirmative Action Plan.

2.3 Pay Grades

Pay grades are established according to the following guide lines:

2.3.1 Midpoints, equivalent to the middle of the pay grade, are used to compare with the market place;

2.3.2 Quartiles, defined as quarters of the pay grade from minimum to maximum;

2.3.3 Salary Grade Spread, defined as the distance from the minimum to the maximum of the pay grade;

2.3.4 Percent Spread from Grade to Grade, the percent of increase from midpoint to midpoint.

2.3.5 This information will be provided on the pay grade schedules.

2.4 Placement

2.4.1 Initial Pay Offers

Whenever an offer is made, the University generally considers: education, experience, skill, time in position, and equity relevant to the position for which the candidate is being hired. The key consideration is that the University is paying the candidate for his / her qualifications, skill and ability to perform the essential functions described within the job description for which the candidate is being hired. The University may take into consideration those skills above the minimum qualifications; however, the University is not paying for employee potential or any work beyond the job description.

2.4.2 Equity

The University will take into consideration comparisons between the base pay offered to the candidate and the compensation paid to current employees in similar positions performing similar work across the University.

2.4.3 Guidelines

  • Candidates who meet minimum, required, qualifications will be hired at the minimum of the pay grade.
  • Candidates may be hired between the minimum of the pay grade and the midpoint of the pay grade, centered on the first quartile, depending upon relevant experience, education or other preferred skills and abilities in excess of the minimum, required, qualifications. All hires in excess of the minimum of the pay grade will be governed by equity and approved by the University Executive Administrator responsible for the department and the Director of Human Resources.
  • No candidate will be hired in excess of the midpoint absent the approval of the University president.

2.5 Local Variation / Geographic Adjustment Candidates hired in operations outside the local and regional markets whose work requires them to live and work within their home area will receive an adjusted amount based upon the variance in the cost of labor / wages between their market / location and the Wheeling / Western Pennsylvania / Eastern Ohio regional market, where appropriate.

2.6 Revisions to Pay Grades

Surveys used to benchmark positions and markets will be completed by Human Resources in compliance with generally accepted principles, practices and procedures.

2.7 Approval

Initial pay offers must be approved by the Executive Administrator responsible for the position, the Chief Financial Officer, the President and the Director of Human Resources before any candidate is extended a verbal or written offer. There is no guarantee that the amount of pay placed in the offer will remain unchanged; economic conditions may merit an increase or decrease.


The Director of Human Resources has the authority to change, modify or approve exceptions to this policy subsequent to review by the Chief Financial Officer with the approval of the University President or his designee.



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