Merit Pay FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q:  I’m good at my job, do it well and follow UC’s rules, will I get a  merit pay?
A:  Maybe you will, but doing a good job does not guarantee it. Which employees get a merit increase in the UC system is not a transparent process. The subjective nature of this process means some who do good work may an increase and some may not.

Q:  Why wouldn’t I get a merit increase if it’s supposed to recognize good work and I’m a good worker?
A:  It’s hard to argue with “good work should be rewarded.” But non-represented employees cannot always count on it. Merit pay is not guaranteed. Under UC’s system, deciding who gets a salary increase and how much is dependent on many shifting variables and opaque standards, often randomly applied.

Q: I’m better at my job than some others in my department doing the same work. My supervisor never has a problem with my work, so why wouldn’t I get a merit increase?
A: If merit pay always went to those who deserve it there’d be no problem. Merit pay is designed in theory to reward, but in actuality, it can pit worker against worker and sometimes, at UC, a worker against their supervisor. There’s only so much merit pay to go around and your supervisor’s merit pay may come from the same allocation as yours.

Q: I consistently do a good job but am evaluated only as “satisfactory.” This has meant a minimal increase or no salary increase at all for me. What gives?
A: This is another way in which merit pay is unfair. When employees who do a satisfactory job don’t get a salary increase, it is punitive because the result is a loss of buying power. There are also certain jobs that contain more “everyday” tasks, making it hard to stand out no matter how exemplary your work is.

Q: I love my job and I believe in the mission of the university. I don’t want to leave my department or the UC just because I need a raise
Many UC employees love their jobs and they prefer to advocate for better pay and working conditions instead of going somewhere else.

Q: How can I get consistent raises and better working conditions?
The one way employees can count on being rewarded with salary increases regularly on transparent, objective standards is through union representation. Employees who are represented by UPTE enjoy those benefits through their collective agreement.

Here are a few examples of what UPTE’s represented members have achieved at the bargaining table:

  • Regular salary increases throughout the life of the contract (which increases your pension in retirement)
  • A transparent process for performance evaluations and awarding salary increases
  • Recourse through the grievance process if the employer does not abide by the contract
  • Negotiating cost of benefits and pension

Become active in UPTE’s effort to unionize unrepresented UC workers such as yourself. To learn more contact us.