Manager's Frequently Asked HR Questions

Below are answers to recently asked questions (submitted at HR Topics for Managers). Some answers are time-sensitive, so please note the date at the end of the answer. Your questions are important to us and help us frame evergreen content on the HR website, so keep asking. 

Where to Go and Who to Ask:
 

Affiliates Information Homepage  | affiliates@ohr.gatech.edu

Benefits | Information Homepage |  benefits@ohr.gatech.edu

Compensation |  Information Homepage |  ohr.compl@ohr.gatech.edu

Employee Relations |  Information Homepage | Contact your departmental HR Business Partner or Representative. Check the GTHR org. chart to get started.

General Question(s) |  Search the HR site |  hr.ask@ohr.gatech.edu

Global HR |  Information Homepage | View the Global HR team and their specialties (and emails)

HR Policies/Procedures |  Information Homepage | Contact the policy owner. Their emails are at the top of each policy.

Learning and Development |  Information Homepage |  training@ohr.gatech.edu

New Employee Processing |  Information Homepage | hr.ask@ohr.gatech.edu

Payroll |  Information Homepage | pay.ask@ohr.gatech.edu

Performance |  Information Homepage |  adrienne.richardson@ohr.gatech.edu

PSFs |  Information Homepage |  hrip.ask@ohr.gatech.edu

Recruiting/Hiring |  Information Homepage |  ats@gatech.edu

Payroll

When the payroll cycle changes from Thursday through Wednesday, will all biweekly paid staff and students need to move to reporting their time online?

Employees will not have to convert to reporting their time online during this transition. However, all hourly time reporters will report time worked and absences (if applicable) online when we join the other University System of Georgia (USG) schools on the OneUSG HCM December 2019. Until then we will continue to offer transition from manual to existing online applications for those units and organizations that are ready. (Answered August 2018) 

What is the Institute’s official policy on telework?

Georgia Tech’s policy on telework is noted in the Flexible Work Arrangements Policy #8.65.  The policy contains provisions for Compressed Work Weeks, Flextime, Job Sharing, and Telecommuting: https://policylibrary.gatech.edu/flexwork-arrangements

Please note, Georgia Tech must be registered in all states prior to employment occurring. Before extending employment in a state other than Georgia, reach out to GTHR Payroll to see if we are registered. (Answered August 2018) 

 

Benefits

What happens when an employee exhausts all of their sick and vacation time?

Any employee unable to return to work after exhausting all accumulated sick leave and accrued vacation leave may be granted sick leave without pay for a period not to exceed one year. During this sick leave, an employee may continue their health and welfare benefits, and Georgia Tech will continue to cover its share of the cost.No other benefit may continue on unpaid leave. Contact benefits@ohr.gatech.edu to learn more. (Answered August 2018) 

What is FMLA leave and time and attendance policy?

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal labor law that allows employees to balance their work and family life by taking reasonable unpaid leave for certain family and medical reasons. Medical reasons include; the birth or legal adoption of a child, the employee’s own serious health condition, the serious health condition of a member of the employee’s immediate family, leave due to a call to active duty or caregiver leave to care for a family member in the armed services who is recovering from an injury. The leave may be taken on an intermittent or continuous basis. The following is a list of your rights and benefits as an eligible FMLA employee:

  • 12 weeks of unpaid FMLA leave in a 12-month period
  • Continuation of group health benefits during FMLA leave
  • Restoration to the same or an equivalent job upon return to work
  • Retention of accrued benefits
  • Protection from discrimination as a result of taking FMLA leave

Sick time, vacation time (if no sick is available), or disability benefits (if applicable) are what is used to pay the employee during the employee’s FMLA absence. Sick and vacation cannot be used while receiving disability benefits. Learn more about FMLA and how Georgia Tech works with it here. (Answered August 2018) 

 

Compensation - Merit FY 2020

What is the evaluation period for this merit increase?

The formal performance evaluation period is Jan. 1, 2018 — Dec. 31, 2018.

Can we provide merit increases to employees currently on temporary or interim pay? 

An eligible employee on a temporary or interim pay is eligible to be considered for a merit adjustment, but any merit increase awarded must be based on the employee’s pay prior to the temporary or interim increase.

Can we provide merit increases to those who received mid-year or equity increases? 

Employees who have received mid-year increases related to equity or retention pay will be eligible for merit consideration.

Can we provide merit increases to an employee who changes positions laterally at Georgia Tech (from an A7 in one unit to an A7 in another unit)?

Employees who have moved laterally without an increase in pay or voluntarily downgraded to another position without an increase in pay will be eligible for merit consideration. 

Can part-time staff receive merit?

Yes. However, the part-time salary will be annualized to determine the equivalent annual salary.

Can employees whose salaries are currently at or exceeding the maximum range of their salary grade structure be eligible to receive merit?

Employees at or above the pay range maximum of their associated grade will be ineligible to receive merit.

Are new hires or rehired employees by way of open job bid eligible to receive merit?

Individuals hired between Jan. 1 and June 30, 2019, are not eligible for merit until July 1, 2020.

Are employees who have received a pay increase for a promotion or position reclassification, eligible to receive merit?

Individuals promoted or reclassified to a new position between Jan. 1 and June 30, 2019, are not eligible for merit until July 1, 2020.

Are employees who have not completed the 2019 training and certifications for the following: Ethical Standards, Conflict of Interest, and Cyber Security Standards eligible to receive merit?

Employees who have not completed the 2019 training and certifications for the following: Ethical Standards, Conflict of Interest, and Cyber Security Standards will not be eligible to receive merit.

How should managers consider internal equity and the employee’s placement in the salary range while determining merit?

The University System of Georgia (USG) requires Institutions to develop a merit increase matrix demonstrating reasonable distribution. A guide has been developed for reference. Click here to view.

If a faculty member takes summer salary from grants or state funds that are available to them, how will they be considered?

Merit increases will be based on all eligible faculty member’s current contract rate. “Summer pay” is not included for consideration.

How is equity or compression determined?

Internal/External equity and compression is determined by the Human Resources Compensation office by salary and market data analysis under adherence to Institute and University System of Georgia policies.

Can the faculty raise pool be used to address staff compression issues in the College and/or vice versa?

The raise pool for this merit increase will be used for all eligible employees regardless or faculty or staff. Annual salary increases are primarily merit-based, reflecting each employee’s performance, however, equity and compression should be considered during the cycle. A merit guide has been developed to provide guidance on merit in relation to ratings and salary range within the Salary Grade Structure. Click here to view.

How do multiple factors such as promotions, position reclassification, counter-offers, in-range adjustment affect annual merit increases?

Employee compensation adjustments should be consistent with the approved institutional compensation plan. However, cumulative fiscal year adjustments greater than or equal to ten percent above the USG’s annual salary and wage guidance are subject to justification, review, and approval by the Georgia Tech Human Resources (GTHR) and the offices of the President and Chancellor.

Would faculty who received a promotion or tenure raise, which was included in the Original Budget, be eligible for a merit increase consistent with the guidelines? What would be the salary basis for merit increases?

Yes. Faculty promotion (academic and research) raises will be 6% of the FY 2019 base salary and will be effective on the same date as merit increases. These will be computed prior to the FY 20 merit increases. All eligible 9-month and 12-month contract faculty, who receive Fiscal 2020 promotion/tenure raises (Academic, Research, Librarian), are eligible for Fiscal 2020 merit increases if they meet other requirements stated in these guidelines.

Compensation - Job Eval/Review

When is a Job Evaluation necessary?

A Job Evaluation is needed whenever a department wants to create a new job or an employee has assumed significant additional job responsibilities. A good measure for significant is approximately 20-25% additional primary responsibilities unrelated to volume. The person in the position may be reclassified as a result. Read more here. (Answered August 2018) 

When is a Position Review necessary?

A Position Review is used to determine if the current responsibilities in a position meet the Fair Labor Standards Act. The position (and the person in the position) may be reclassified as a result. Read more here. (Answered August 2018) 

 

Compensation - Job Status

Should the campus expect to hear any more about positions impact by FLSA? What is the minimum pay?

FLSA position review is an ongoing responsibility within the Compensation department of GTHR. The department regularly audits positions in conjunction with USC and Federal regulations. Information regarding the FLSA classification of job status can be found here(Answered August 2018) 

 

Compensation - Salary

How are salary increases calculated?

Each employee situation is unique, so it is important to consider multiple factors when making pay decisions related to promotions. The Human Resources representative and department manager will collaborate to develop an appropriate salary recommendation within the new grade, based on factors such as an employee's skill, knowledge, experience, performance, criticality of the role, budget, and market data. (Answered August 2018) 

Under what circumstances may a salary be increased?

Salary programs include promotions, reclassifications, temporary pay, merit, equity pay, and retention considerations. Justification must accompany a department’s requests for such adjustments. (Answered August 2018)

Does Georgia Tech or USG provide any cost of living adjustments?

No. (Answered August 2018) 

Will Georgia Tech or USG consider offering bonuses?

The University System of Georgia recently provided guidance to the universities related to adopting Incentive plans. The Board of Regents authorized Incentive Compensation and Rewards Programs:

  • To promote efficiency and effectiveness in achieving strategic organizational goals and
  • To enhance the recruitment, engagement, and retention of critical skills and talent necessary to achieve institutional goals
  • For critical projects or needs substantially above the normal work requirements

Prior to implementation, each institution intending to establish an Incentive Compensation program must submit a plan, which is consistent with state law, board policy, and guidelines, to the USG Office of Fiscal Affairs and GTHR for approval. (Answered August 2018) 

Can units provide raises or bonuses even if the Institute as a whole does not?

We request that individual units not submit unique plans. GTHR and its Institute partners are currently developing a well-defined framework (policies and procedures) for an Incentive Compensation and Reward program that can be administered in a fair and equitable manner.  (Answered August 2018) 

What is an equity adjustment?

An equity adjustment is compensation provided to remedy salary issues such as external market salary pressure in high demand skills, internal equity or salary compression. Equity adjustments should be considered as part of the annual merit cycle, or can be reviewed as an off-cycle increase, and are subject to budget. (Answered August 2018)

Can an equity adjustment include an employee who is paid above the minimum in their range, but is below their peers on-campus? What about an employee who is paid market rate, but is still below their peers?

Yes, GTHR’s Compensation team provides consultation services regarding interpretation and use of market data, compensation program design, and salary/equity studies. To ensure consistency of application, only market data reviewed and incorporated into GTHR databases will be used in making market determinations. GTHR will conduct an independent analysis of salary survey data and internal equity considerations, and compile and analyze any additional information considered beneficial in determining whether there is sufficient justification for approval of the request. Payment of salaries is contingent upon funds being available. (Answered August 2018)

How does the annual merit process work?

The entire merit process is outlined in this guide.

Compensation - Job Growth

How can we as managers allow for growth of our employees as it relates to job descriptions, titles and career paths?

Georgia Tech strives to provide an environment where all employees understand the impact their contributions have on the achievement of Institute goals and are provided the opportunity for ongoing professional growth. We reinforce this belief through strong performance management that culminates in a review of annual performance(Answered August 2018)

Why can’t employees making a lateral move receive a salary increase?

In a lateral move, the employee's new job is equal to or on the same level as the employee's former job. The lateral move is viewed as a continuing commitment from the employer to enable the employee to continue to develop and grow in their employment and pursue a desirable career path. It is valued as an opportunity booster. It is cherished by employees who are not quite ready for a promotion or the opportunity doesn't exist. The employee's career continues to grow. We can review a candidate for a lateral transfer for internal and external equity. (Answered August 2018)

How should managers communicate the pros and cons to employees considering a lateral move?

Pros:

  • Promotion Potential. Making a lateral move and gaining more experience and more contacts should make you a much more attractive candidate for a promotion when a position opens in the future.
  • Increased Marketability. Gaining new visibility, skills, knowledge and broadening your abilities can also make you a more attractive candidate.
  • Professional Development. If you have been in your current position for a number of years, you may have become so good at it that you know all there is to know — perhaps even become a bit bored with it. By taking a lateral move and learning new skills, you may again become excited with the challenges you'll face.
  • Fresh Faces. Taking a lateral move means working with a new supervisor, new people and new teams, giving you the chance to make new friends and contacts — especially important if you are tired of the people you currently work with, or simply like meeting new people.
  • The employee is given a new challenge, a chance for the employee to expand his or her accomplishments, reach, impact, and potentially, influence different aspects of the work.
  • The employee may learn about different facets of the organization and how work is accomplished in different departments or job functions.
  • A lateral move helps you ”build your own brand” by diversifying your experience and make it stronger.
  • A lateral move can help reduce the stress of the current job while allowing you to expand your skills set.

Cons:

  • Changing your workload for an equal pay rate lacks the financial rewards of a promotion so be sure you vet thoroughly before accepting.
  • A lateral move may be considered a temporary professional “sidestep” as it doesn't offer the typical upward trajectory that a promotion would.
  • Starting over may require the employee to master new skills and responsibilities with a new supervisor and co-workers to adjust to.

(Answered August 2018)

 

Compensation - Job Structures

When will job titles and description be updated to be reflective of actual work? Why do job titles vary among departments?

 

We recommend employees and managers review the job description for their position at least annually, typically as part of the performance management and goal setting process.

Due to the broad range of jobs contained within Georgia Tech’s Job Classification and Compensation System (JCCS) and the standardized nature of staff titles, the standard job description should reflect the purpose, and most of the significant responsibilities, of your position. If there are major changes, a job evaluation may be in order which may also change the standard job description.

A department may also wish to designate a working title for a position. A working title (also called a business title) is a descriptive designation reflecting the nature of the work being performed in a specific or similar position. Working titles should differentiate the work being performed in a position and, simultaneously, be consistent with similar positions performing the same work in other areas on campus.  Click here for the Guidelines for Working Titles. (Answered August 2018) 

 

Performance

What incentives can be provided to employees who excel?

Beyond merit and money, other factors can help an employee enjoy their role and feel appreciated. First, talk to your employee about where they find value in their role with Georgia Tech and help support that. For example, if they find value in interacting with students, support the employee in finding opportunities either as a part of their role or on a volunteer basis Then consider providing:

  • Positive feedback, which can be provided anytime (not just during our annual performance process), and is especially valuable in front of colleagues (such as a team meeting) or after an emergency assignment.
  • Career development discussions, stretch assignments, or the opportunity to attend a training or conference allowing them to continue to build skills and add value
  • Work-life balance. Employees who have proven to be self-motivated performers should be considered for work-life balance opportunities (e.g., a reasonable telework schedule as discussed in our Flexwork Arrangements policy).

For additional strategies for rewarding employees outside of the merit process, consider contacting your HR Representative to discuss specific strategies and next steps. (Answered August 2018) 

What checks and balances are there on an employee to ensure they perform the job they were hired for satisfactorily?

Georgia Tech employees are required to receive an annual review via the Performance Management process. This review is meant to ensure each employee receives regular feedback on their performance, and in 2017 GTHR launched Performance 365 to help encourage this process. We will continue to advocate for regular and consistent performance feedback to employees by their direct manager, which is the best way for delivering timely and job-focused feedback. GTHR Workplace Learning and Professional Development also has training on delivering feedback and having constructive, meaningful conversations with employees (among other relevant trainings for managers) and also has a training focused on how all employees can get the most out of performance conversations and own their own careers.

Further, if performance is not meeting expectations, managers have the option to use coaching and progressive discipline to provide employees with specific guidance to help employees get back on track and meet expectations, including a formal Performance Improvement Plan process. Employee Relations Consultants at GTHR own this process and can advise on how it can be used most effectively. (Answered August 2018) 

 

Data & Operations

What are the plans to implement the EU's GDPR requirements at the Institute/College/School level's HR processes? Is HR working with Faculty Affairs together in this manner?

At the institute level, Legal Affairs (LA) is leading the effort. LA has provided templates that are available for all departments/units on campus. If you have questions, you can go to the Legal Affairs website, click on the EU GDPR Learn More link and information is provided about how to comply.

GTHR has informed Faculty Affairs of what we put in place. We also provided multiple sessions to the HR Community about the steps we have taken. We still have work to do with regards to collecting documentation from our third party vendors. (Answered August 2018)