Salary Changes and Adjustments

Columbia University is committed to ensuring that total compensation paid is commensurate with the work performed. It is critical that salaries within your area of responsibility are fairly administered and in compliance with Columbia’s non-discrimination policies. When considering salary changes, either during the annual year-end adjustment process or as an off-cycle adjustment, managers should make decisions that reflect both the relative performance of individuals as well as their position within the salary range with a focus on rewarding high performers. Salary differentiation is also an important consideration that encourages improved performance and increased retention of valuable contributors.

See Salary Changes and Adjustments Policy

Processing Changes

Year End Salary Adjustments

Salary changes and adjustments for active employees are typically completed at the end of each fiscal year. The University has a standard process for managing salary adjustments that are effective at the beginning of each fiscal year, July 1. Towards the end of each fiscal year, detailed guidance on the annual salary review process is distributed to the Schools/Departments. This guidance includes the detailed process, guidelines and deadlines.

Off-Cycle Salary Adjustments

In certain circumstances, off-cycle salary adjustments may be made at any time during the year. These include both ad hoc salary adjustments, position re-evaluations and promotional salary increases. Once approved by the school/department, a PAF should be submitted to HRPC to process the change.  For more information, see Processing Pay Rate Adjustments.

Salary Exception Processing

If a proposed salary increase is equal to or greater than 10% of the incumbent’s current base salary, a Salary/Bonus Exception Review Form must be submitted to the appropriate CUHR Client Manager when the roster or Personnel Action Form (PAF) is submitted for review. The CUHR Client Manager will submit these forms to the Compensation Review Committee for approval, as necessary.

A pay rate adjustment is a change to an employee's annual, hourly or contract pay.

Practice

Submit the request for a Pay Rate adjustment to change or correct an employee's pay except in the case of a promotion. If the pay adjustment is due to a promotion, then you must follow the promotion process (see the Promotions and Transfers).

Process

  1. Generate an active PAF for the employee from the Employee Personal Information page in the Manager Self-Service section of the People @ Columbia system.
     
  2. Enter the Action/Reason code and effective date at the top of the PAF (see the chart below).
     
  3. In the appropriate sections of the PAF, draw/type a single line through information that needs to be changed and print/type the new information in the updated fields. Verify that the form is complete, sign it, attach the appropriate documentation and route it to the appropriate office for approval, along with the required supporting paperwork for the transaction.

Action / Reason Codes (Pay Rate Adjustment)

Below are the applicable action / reason codes for a Pay Rate Adjustment. Enter these on the top of the PAF form to indicate the purpose for the submission. Note: If employee is on an LOA s/he must be returned, apply pay action, place back on LOA.

 

Union support staff, non-union support staff (including Casuals) Variable Hours Officers and Regular Hourly Officers may be eligible for overtime. Please review the applicable Collective Bargaining Agreement(s) for your department, and the Overtime Policy for more information.

Note: if you have any questions or concerns about the exempt or non-exempt classification of a job, contact your HR Client Manager or the Office of the General Counsel.

All Support Staff

Non-exempt employees under The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) -- all support staff members -- must be paid one-and-a-half times their regular rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours per week. In those departments on a 35-hour work week, University policy and applicable collective bargaining agreements provide overtime in excess of 35 hours per week.

For non-union support staff, special overtime rules may apply to a limited number of employees who work in a position funded by a government grant or contract in which overtime provisions, differing from University policy, are specified as part of the grant or contract.
 

2110, SSA and Non-Union Support Staff

Staff members on a 35-hour weekly schedule who work between 35 and 40 hours in one week may receive either overtime pay or compensatory time off, granted at the rate of one-and-a-half hours for each hour worked above 35. The question of pay or compensatory time-off between 35 and 40 hours can be determined by the supervisor subject to operational and/or budgetary considerations.

Note: The SSA contract states, "Employees shall be compensated at the rate of one-and-one-half (1 1/2) times their regular pay for authorized time worked in excess of the regular full-time work week of thirty-five (35) hours up to forty (40) hours by receiving either pay for such overtime worked or compensatory time-off as mutually agreed."

The computation of overtime in any work week includes all hours worked plus paid holidays, vacation and personal days. Paid sick leave is not included in the computation of overtime.

Regular part-time support staff who work in excess of their regularly scheduled work week are paid at straight time for hours worked in excess of their regular schedule up to 35 hours in any given work week. Hours worked in excess of 35 (or 40, where applicable) are treated the same as those for a full-time employee.

Other Support Staff

Collective bargaining agreements other than 2110 and SSA require the payment of overtime for all hours worked in excess of the regularly scheduled work week. Please review the applicable collective bargaining agreements for detailed information.

Short-Term Casuals

Short-term support staff casual employees are eligible for overtime (at the rate of time-and-one-half) for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours in a work week (Monday through Sunday).

Variable-Hour Officers

The work hours for variable-hour officers are undefined and vary from work week to work week depending on the nature of the work or project. Variable Hours Officers are limited to a maximum of 999 hours in a rolling 12 month period and should average less than 20 hours in a week. However, if in any given week the VHO exceeds 40 hours, he/she must be paid one-and-a-half times his/her regular rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours per week.

Regular Hourly Officers

Hourly Officers are Officers of Research, Officers of the Libraries or Officers of Administration who, by Federal regulation under the FLSA, or State regulation under the New York State Wage Orders, must be categorized as non-exempt because they earn less than the applicable salary threshold.  Hourly Officers who work in excess of their regularly scheduled work week are paid at straight time for hours worked in excess of their regular schedule up to 35 hours in any given work week.  Hours worked in excess of 35 are paid at a rate of one-and-a-half times his/her regular rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours per week.

Officers

Officers ("exempt" employees) are not eligible for overtime pay or for compensatory time off. Officers of the University, as salaried employees, are expected to work the time required to accomplish the responsibilities of the primary position without additional compensation.

A shift differential may be paid to non-exempt employees who work in departments that provide services beyond the normal work hours, or that operate on a 24-hour shift schedule.

Please review the applicable collective bargaining agreement(s) and ensure that you are familiar with the Shifts and Differentials policy.

Shift differential pay is done through the Financial Front End (FFE) system. 

Calculation of Daily Rate for Employees

The University calculates the daily rate for all employees (including officers and support staff) by dividing the annual salary by 260 days, representing the number of U.S. working days.

Deviations from this calculation only occur in rare circumstances such as when required by the laws of a work location.

Vacation/Personal Days Payout

Earned, unused vacation and personal days are paid out once the employee is terminated from the University. The days are valued by dividing the annual rate by 260 days and multiplying by the days earned:

  • (Annual rate / 260) * unused vacation and personal days = vacation and personal days payout

Termination Pay

Employees are paid through their last day of work at Columbia. If the day falls on any day other than the last day of the pay period, pay for the partial period is calculated by dividing the days worked in that period by the total working days in the period and then multiplying the result by the period rate:

  • (Days worked in pay period/working days in the period) * period rate = termination pay

Officers

The leave rate for officers working less than their normally scheduled hours for an extended period of time due to a leave is calculated by the department by dividing the pre-leave regular hours by the actual hours worked during the leave and multiplying by the pre-leave annual rate:

  • (Hours worked during leave / regular hours pre-leave) * pre-leave annual rate = leave rate

Support Staff

For support staff working less than their normally scheduled hours for an extended period of time due to a leave, the department may use Kronos or FFE to submit adjusted time as appropriate.

Note: the details of intermittent and other partial pay types of leaves are maintained in the department desk files and are not communicated to Human Resources or Payroll.

A pay error occurs when a faculty or staff member does not receive the correct dollar amount in a paycheck. The amount could be either less or more than what should have been received and is the result of an underpayment, overpayment or missed payment.

If there is an error in the amount of pay, the employee should promptly bring the discrepancy to the attention of his / her Department Administrator so that corrections can be made as quickly as possible.

Once a pay error is discovered, the department must assess the reason why the error occurred and take the appropriate action as outlined below. The first step is to confirm that the information entered onto the paperwork or in an electronic submission was correct. If it was correct, the pay error correction process is used to report pay errors to the HRPC / Payroll.

There are several types of pay errors and each has its own requirements for address.
 

Incorrect Paperwork / Electronic Submission

If the original paperwork or electronic submission was incorrect or received after the respective Closing Date / Deadline, a Pay Error Correction Form cannot be used.

  • Incorrect hire / rehire forms either submitted on paper or electronically through TBH must be corrected by completing a PAF

  • Incorrect electronic submissions into time entry systems that resulted in an underpayment must be corrected by entering the additional hours into the system

If the original paperwork or electronic submission resulted in an overpayment, see the Overpayment Recovery process in the Finance Gateway for information. Late Paperwork or Electronic Submission: Paperwork or electronic submissions received after the closing dates listed in the Payroll Calendar will be processed on the next available Payroll cycle.
 

Late Paperwork or Electronic Submission

Paperwork or electronic submissions received after the closing dates listed in the Payroll Calendar will be processed on the next available payroll cycle.
 

Types of Pay Errors: Underpayments

An underpayment occurs when an employee does not receive the full pay amount in a paycheck either due to underreported hours, an incorrect salary amount or hire date or a missed payment. The correction steps differ depending upon the reason for the error.

Underpayments Due to Incorrect Entries:

If the underpayment is due to an to an incorrect entry (FFE or other time entry system, TBH, Additional Compensation), follow the steps below:

Incorrect entry for Support Staff and Hourly Officers:

  • If the hours/overtime amounts were incorrectly submitted by paper (very rare) or incorrectly entered in FFE or another time entry system, either due to data entry or the employee failing to report the correct hours, enter the hours into the system and the payment will be processed in the next regular paycheck provided it is entered by the Closing Date. Reference the Pay Calendar (Morningside, CUIMC) to determine the final entry date for each pay period and to determine when the employee will receive the pay.
    • Incorrect entry for faculty and staff
       
  • If the amount received was less either due to entering an incorrect Hire Date or Compensation Rate in Template-Based Hire, or via new hire paperwork, submit a PAF to make the corrections and the payment will be processed in the next regular paycheck provided it is received by the submission deadline.
    • Incorrect additional compensation entry for faculty and staff
       
  • If the add comp amount received is incorrect, there are several ways to correct this depending upon the type of error. Reference the Additional Compensation Payment training course in the Course Catalog for detailed information on how to correct additional compensation errors.
    • If the original paperwork or electronic submission resulted in an overpayment, see the Overpayment Recovery process in the Finance Gateway for information. Late Paperwork or Electronic Submission: Paperwork or electronic submissions received after the closing dates listed in the Payroll Calendar will be processed on the next available Payroll cycle.

Underpayments with Correct Entries:

  • The Pay Error / Correction Form is used to report paycheck errors to the HRPC when the original paperwork or electronic transaction submitted was correct and received by the respective closing dates per the payroll calendar and the employee did not receive the full amount of pay, submit the Pay Error/Correction Form located in Service Now.
     
  • The correct pay will be processed in the next available payroll cycle.
     
  • If the pay error is for a laid-off or terminated employee, it will be paid by the next weekly off-cycle.
     

Types of Pay Errors: Overpayments

An overpayment occurs when an employee receives more than he/she should have received for that pay period either due to incorrect earnings entries for regular pay, overtime pay or additional compensation.

Preventing Overpayments

The primary cause of overpayments is late paperwork arising from employees commencing an unpaid leave of absence or no longer being employed (referred to as "termination"). To help prevent overpayments, departments should use the Suspension Hotline. The Suspension Hotline will stop the employee’s paycheck from being generated and therefore prevent the employee from being paid while out on an unpaid leave of absence or past their termination date.

To use the Suspension Hotline, contact the HR Service Center to suspend future payroll payments to the employee. When calling the HR Service Center, departments should know the effective date of the unpaid leave of absence or termination date. Once the department receives the required paperwork and approvals, a PAF should be submitted with the correct leave of absence or termination action/reason code

The Suspension Hotline should only be used in instances when departments are not able to submit the required paperwork in a timely manner due to unforeseeable circumstances and need to prevent the employee from receiving a paycheck and thus being overpaid. When advanced notice is provided, complete paperwork should be submitted in advance of the termination or leave.

Visit the Overpayment Recovery section of the Finance Gateway for information on how to process an overpayment.
 

Types of Pay Errors: Stop Payments

If it is realized that a paper check or electronic ACH direct deposit payment must be stopped, a stop payment can be issued. The form is located in Service Now.

For additional payroll information please visit the Finance Gateway.

Overview

Morningside Campus (includes Manhattanville/Lamont/Nevis Labs)

eCompensation (or eComp) is a function within PAC where annual merit increases are electronically submitted and approved in the departments and schools. It is also used to reappoint faculty for the 7/1 - 6/30 academic year. An electronic workflow allows for a paperless approval process. The eComp system opens each year for several weeks in May and June for changes effective July 1, the beginning of the new fiscal year.

CUMC Campus 

The compensation process is completed using Excel template uploads known as a "salary roster".  Templates are provided to departments by the Payroll Office and Office of Faculty Affairs.

Access

Morningside Campus (includes Manhattanville/Lamont/Nevis Labs)

Access to eComp is targeted to employees at Columbia University who submit and review eComp transactions for their assigned department(s). They also work closely with the Human Resources Client Managers and Compensation team for officers of administration and with the Associate Provost for Academic Appointments for academic personnel to ensure all required steps and documentation are completed to support the process.

CUMC Campus

Each department has designated administrators of this process who work with the Payroll Office and the Office of Faculty Affairs.

Training

Morningside Campus (includes Manhattanville/Lamont/Nevis Labs)

Refer to the eCompensation Training Guide and the eCompensation Salary Planning Report guides for more information.

CUMC Campus

Contact the Payroll Office or Office of Faculty Affairs.