Pay Guidelines

MIT strives to attract and retain a highly qualified and diverse workforce by offering competitive pay and exceptional benefits.

The Institute's pay decision guidelines emphasize continued development and expansion of skills, knowledge, performance, and the ability to be flexible. Our goals are three-fold:

  1. to compete for qualified staff in an evolving environment
  2. to pay employees equitably and fairly
  3. to be fiscally responsible

MIT expects that employees will strive for excellence in their job performance and take accountability and ownership for their careers. It is essential that employees, either in doing their current jobs or in preparing to take on new and different responsibilities, continue to develop and expand their skills to keep pace with change and ready themselves for opportunities as they become available. It is also essential that managers and administrators provide employees with opportunities to grow and learn.

Learn about the Institute's pay guidelines below, or see MIT's pay structure for details on ranges.

Type of Guidelines

Promotions

Promotions occur because of upward movement with greater responsibility at a higher job level. Significant changes in responsibilities must have occurred for a promotion to be considered.

 Guidelines
  • Promotional increases are typically between 5%-15%, depending on the increased level of responsibility and other Key Considerations.
  • A promotional increase must bring the employee to at least the minimum of his/her new salary range.
  • The effective date of a promotion should coincide with the employee taking on increased responsibilities.
  • Employees with a performance issue are ineligible for promotion until the problem is resolved.

SRS Technical Promotions:

With no grade levels or salary structures within the Sponsored Research Staff payroll category, an SRS employee who moves to a new position, with greater responsibility in the same department within that payroll category, is considered an “In Level Promotion.”

The position title may change, but the job title remains the same.

Key considerations
  • How skilled is the employee in meeting the requirements of the new job?
  • Where is the employee’s current pay in relation to the targeted salary range?
  • How does the employee’s recommended salary compare with that of others in the same or similar job?
  • How does the employee’s recommended salary compare with that of his or her manager and/or direct reports?
  • In the context of internal equity, compare the employee’s current salary to salaries of those in his/her new peer group.

If an employee has increased their responsibilities within their current job but not enough to warrant a promotion, consider another option. Refer to the Increased Responsibility guidelines below.

When an employee is changing jobs within the same grade, refer to the Lateral Transfer guideline below.

The process
  • Provide an accurate and up-to-date position description.
  • When appropriate, obtain approval from the designated senior administrator within a School/Area or DLC.
  • Consult with Compensation and/or your HRO before discussing any salary change with an employee.
  • Review the Guidelines and Key Considerations above to determine if an increase is appropriate.

Temporary increases

A temporary increase is additional compensation for an employee who has temporarily assumed a significant increase in responsibilities for, and performance of, a higher level job.

A temporary increase typically occurs due to a vacancy or an extended leave of absence. This assumed responsibility is usually in addition to the employee’s primary job responsibilities and reflects additional responsibilities and/or critical functions.

Guidelines
  • The amount of the increase should be between 5% and 15%, depending on the degree of complexity of the additional responsibilities and the length of time the employee is expected to assume the additional responsibilities.
  • Generally, a temporary increase will be added to the employee’s salary base for the length of time that the employee is assuming additional responsibilities.
  • Temporary increases must have a specified beginning and end date and are not intended to cover periods of less than four weeks.
Key considerations
  • When considering a temporary increase for an employee, begin the process before the employee actually takes on the additional temporary responsibilities to avoid a retroactive increase.
  • ASR implications: If a merit increase is due while an employee is receiving a temporary increase, the merit should be based on the original base salary (exclusive of the temporary increase).
The process
  • Where required, obtain approval from the designated senior administrator within a School/Area or DLC.
  • Consult with Compensation and/or your HRO to make an informed decision before discussing any salary change with an employee.
  • Review the Guidelines and Key Considerations above in determining whether a temporary increase is appropriate.

Lateral transfers

A lateral transfer is movement from one job to another job within the same range. This can occur within or across a job or subfamily.

Guidelines
  • Not all lateral movements warrant a salary adjustment.
  • When the new position is clearly at the same level of responsibility as the position the employee is leaving, no increase would be warranted.
  • When the volume of the work in the new position increases, but responsibilities of the position essentially remain the same, no increase would be warranted.
  • When it is determined that the position the employee is transferring to requires new and/or additional skills and is more complex than the position the employee is transferring from, an increase may be appropriate. The hiring manager/department administrative officer should be able to describe those new skills and/or how the job differs in complexity.
  • In this case, a pay increase, typically up to 5%, may be considered.
Key considerations
  • Describe how the complexity of the new job is more significant than the employee’s previous job.
  • How will the employee be expected to negotiate, set his/her own standards and goals, and/or manage or coach (either formally or informally) at a higher level than in his/her previous job?
  • Explain what type of decision making will be required in the new job and whether the consequences will be greater.
  • How will the job require higher levels of independent action and autonomy?
  • If an increase is appropriate, consider internal equity when factoring the amount of the increase.
The process
  • When appropriate, obtain approval from the designated senior administrator within a School/Area or DLC.
  • Consult with Compensation and/or your HRO before discussing any salary change with an employee.
  • Lateral transfers typically do not warrant a salary increase; however, review the Guidelines and Key Considerations above to determine whether a salary increase is appropriate.

For various reasons, an employee’s scope of work may change to include a significant increase in responsibility. The amount of the increase, if warranted, would depend on the degree of change in the job.

Guidelines
  • Increases with increase in job responsibility are typically up to 5%.
  • An increase would occur with major changes in responsibilities or a measurably higher degree of complexity within the current role.
  • An increase in the volume of activity or transactions will not typically warrant additional pay.
  • Similarly, an increase in the number of staff will not always lead to a pay increase for supervisory employees (if responsibilities remain similar).
Key considerations
  • How has the ultimate accountability for the job increased? For example, does the role directly supervise significantly more staff; have significantly higher budgetary responsibilities; and/or have increased input in determining strategic direction?
  • Provide an example of how the level of decision making has broader impact to the unit, department, and/or Institute.
  • Does the position now require more complex and independent problem-solving skills? If so, provide an example.
  • What types of communications does the job require, and have they become more complex over time?
  • To what extent are higher-level communication skills required, e.g., to influence, facilitate, and/or negotiate?
  • Compare the employee’s current salary to salaries of those in his/her new peer group to determine if an increase would create an equity issue.
The process
  • Provide the new and previous position description for comparison -- HR will determine the level of change and ensure that the position’s description accurately reflects the increased responsibilities.
  • Where required, obtain approval from the designated senior administrator to ensure that established procedures within a School/Area or DLC are followed.
  • Consult with Compensation and/or your HRO to make an informed decision before discussing any salary change with an employee.
  • Review the Guidelines and Key Considerations above to determine if a salary increase is appropriate.

Off-cycle merit increases

Merit increases typically occur during ASR but for various reasons may occur outside of the typical merit cycle. It is recommended that no employee wait more than 12 months for a merit increase and performance review.

When to consider an off-cycle merit request

An off-cycle merit increase can only be used for the following two reasons:

  • For new employees hired after review eligibility date
  • For employees who transfer payroll categories after review date

When a new employee is hired after the review eligibility date for his/her payroll category, s/he may be considered for an off-cycle merit increase approximately six months from date of hire (typically after the new employee review period).

Similarly, if an employee transfers payroll categories and misses the review date, then s/he may be considered for an off-cycle merit increase approximately six months from date of transfer.

Guidelines

To determine the off-cycle merit increase amount, a manager should consider the following criteria:

  • Performance
  • Length of service in the job
  • Employee’s salary*
  • Internal equity
  • Budget (departments are responsible for funding off-cycle merit increases for employees hired after their review eligibility date)
  • ASR Pay Program parameters for that fiscal year

The off-cycle merit increase amount should be some portion of the annual merit allocation, not to exceed the department’s pay program parameters set for that fiscal year. (e.g., pro-rate the amount for the number of months the employee has been in the job)

* In certain cases, a manager will make a salary offer somewhat higher than typically would be offered, knowing that the newly hired/transferred employee will have to wait more than 12 months before s/he receives a merit increase. In this case, the manager should inform the newly hired/transferred employee that s/he may not receive another increase until the next review cycle, that an off-cycle increase will not occur, but his/her performance will be assessed approximately six months from date of hire.

The process
  • Where required, obtain approval from the designated senior administrator within a department or school.
  • Consult with Compensation and/or your HRO before discussing any salary change with an employee.
  • Review the guidelines above in determining whether a salary increase is appropriate.

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