Determining compensation

Wages and salaries are market-based; pay increases are merit-based.

To determine market compensation, we use both internal and external benchmarks to provide a pay range for each position. Within that range, we target pay based on both experience and performance – for example, a very high performer with many years of experience might be placed at or just above the 75th percentile, while an unseasoned or mediocre performer might be placed under the 25th percentile. However, USC does not use any prescribed salary or wage scales. Your HR Partner can provide specific information on your employee ranges.

Some categories of employees fall outside this compensation plan, however. Union employees are paid based solely on the negotiated collective bargaining agreement. Student workers who are funded by the College Work Study program have prescribed wage scales by position (other student workers do not).

USC adheres to all regulatory requirements regarding minimum wage rates and salaries, and we voluntarily comply with local living wage ordinances for staff and faculty who are not under collective bargaining agreements.

In addition to base pay, USC allows a variety of other options, including bonuses, sales incentives/commissions, allowances, and overloads. Consult with your HR Partner, who can help you decide appropriate pay components for each employee.

Pay raises

“Cost of living” raises are not given. Instead, you will compute yearly merit raises for your staff by consulting with your manager, SBO and HR Partner, who will help you understand current budget issues, and by consulting your own performance evaluations of your staff. The annual pay cycle culminates in merit raises effective July 1 of each year. Note that pay raises for employees represented by unions are determined by the appropriate collective bargaining agreement.

If you wish to offer a merit raise that exceeds 5%, a bonus, or a market-based adjustment, additional approvals will be required. Consult with your HR Partner for the latest compensation guidelines.

If an employee approaches you with questions or a dispute about their pay level, consult with your HR Partner, who will work with Compensation to review market comparisons.

Central HR periodically audits compensation levels and may contact you for more information about how you established the pay level for an individual employee.