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3.02.16 - Compensation Structure

Policy Title: Compensation Structure

Impact: Benefits Eligible Employees

Responsibility: Human Resources

Effective Date: 10/31/18

Last Update:

Relates to Procedure: 3.02.16

Legal Citation(s):

I. Policy Narrative

North Idaho College (NIC) recognizes that an established compensation structure system is one of the most effective ways to attract, retain, motivate, and reward employees, who are critical to the success of the college’s mission. When the organization consists of skilled and motivated employees, the college thrives. Furthermore, step-based compensation structures provide a framework for fair and consistent pay policies and help monitor and control the implemented pay practices. Finally, they serve to demonstrate possible pay opportunities to prospective and current employees. Effective and transparent compensation structures are critical for the college to maintain a shared sense of internal equity and fairness. Therefore, the support of the college’s annual step-based compensation structure will be a high priority for annual budgetary planning.

II. Compensation Structure

To ensure that all employee compensation structures are fair and competitive, NIC will review salaries internally and externally at least every five (5) years. These reviews will be used to ensure the base structures are comparable with other institutions and to identify potential market driven anomalies in the structure.

III. Compensation Structure Placement and Advancement

  1. Initial placement on the compensation structure is determined by the Human Resources Office according to the employee’s documented and position-related education and experience.
  2. After initial placement, employees will advance one step for each year of benefitted employment as described in procedure 3.02.16. Staff will receive step advancement according to the staff compensation structure procedure. Faculty will receive step advancement as well as education and professional development advancement according to the faculty compensation structure procedure.
  3. NIC’s administration prepares an annual budget for board of trustees approval through a collaborative budgeting process. The administration may withhold step advancements only in the event of significant or unexpected financial needs that result in funding not being available. The administration will make public, the data used in making this decision and will invite broad input from the campus community prior to presenting the budget to the board of trustees. The board of trustees will have final approval of the budget proposed by NIC’s administration. Should the board of trustees decide to override the administration’s decision for honoring or withholding step advancements, it will make public, its rationale for making this decision.
  4. Placement and advancement for positions not funded by the college may adhere to a separate compensation structure and procedure.


Procedure Title: Faculty Compensation Structure

Impact: Faculty

Responsibility: Human Resources

Effective Date: 07/01/17

Last Update:

Relates to Policy: 3.02.16

Legal Citation(s):


Full-time benefit-eligible faculty members (faculty) and administrators are expected to give full professional attention to their duties and responsibilities as outlined in the Teaching Focus policy. Faculty at North Idaho College are paid according to a schedule approved by the Board of Trustees.

I. Salary Schedule

  1. Initial placement on the salary schedule is determined by the employee’s documented education and experience and in accordance with the Administrative Guidelines for Placement on the Faculty Compensation Schedule published by the Human Resources Office. Placements are reviewed by the division chair and dean, and approved by the vice president for instruction (VPI).
  2. The faculty salary schedule includes vertical step advancement in rows based on years of experience and horizontal column advancement based on degrees occupational certifications, and professional development. The base salary and multipliers for each row and column are determined by discussions with faculty and college administration through the Meet and Confer process.

II. Step Placement and Advancement

After initial appointment, step advancement will be made each year on the basis of one step for each full year of full-time employment at North Idaho College.  Absences exceeding 12 consecutive weeks may disqualify the employee from progressing a step for that contract year.  Faculty granted a sabbatical for all or part of a contract year will be eligible for step advancement for that year.

III.  Column Placement and Advancement

The level of educational attainment, professional development, and/or training shall determine columnar placement for that entire academic year. Faculty column movement as a result of professional development will adhere to the Faculty Professional Development policy and procedure.

IV. General Studies Faculty Definition of Columns

  1. The following column designations based on academic qualifications, education credits, or professional development units (PDU) are used for salary placement for general studies faculty:
    1. Bachelor’s Degree and 0-15 upper-division college credits and professional development units (PDUs).
    2. Bachelor’s Degree and >15-30 credits and PDUs.
    3. Master’s Degree and 0-15 credits and PDUs.
    4. Master’s Degree and >15-30 credits and PDUs.
    5. Master’s Degree and >30-45 credits and PDUs
    6. Master’s Degree and >45-60 credits and PDUs.
    7. Master’s Degree and >60 credits and PDUs or Doctorate degree.
  2. If a candidate has completed an accredited master’s degree program that requires more than 30 semester hours based on accepted professional standards, such as but not limited to a Master of Fine Arts or a Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology, the candidate may be placed beyond a master’s plus zero.

V. Career and Technical Faculty Definition of Columns

The following column designations based on State of Idaho occupational certification levels, academic qualifications, education credits, or professional development units (PDUs) are used for salary placement for career and technical education faculty:

  1. Occupational Certificates/Non-Degreed:
    1. Limited Certificate (L.C)/Non-Degree
    2. Standard Certificate (S.C.)/Non-Degree
    3. Advanced Certificate (A.C)/Non-Degree
  2. Academic Credits (B.S. Degree), Occupational Certificate, credits and PDUs:
    1. B.S. Degree + L.C. + 0-15 credits
    2. B.S. Degree + L.C. + >15-30 credits
    3. B.S. Degree + L.C. + > 30 credits
  3. Academic Credits (B.S. degree), Occupational Certificate(s):
    1. B.S. Degree + S.C.
    2. B.S. Degree + A.C.
  4. Academic Credits (Master’s), Occupational Certificate, credits and PDUs:
    1. Masters + 0-15 credits
    2. Masters + >15 -30 credits
    3. Masters + >30 or Doctorate degree

VI. Payments to Faculty Employees at a Column Maximum

  1. Once faculty employees reach the maximum step of their column, the employees’ base pay will not advance beyond the maximum step of the column.
  2. To recognize faculty for their year of service, employees who have reached the maximum step of their column will receive a stipend equivalent to 2.5% of their annual salary.
  3. Human Resources will communicate to each employee the amount of this stipend payment and the date on which the payment will be made.

VII. Full-time Load for Faculty

  1. Full-time load is defined as an average workload of fifteen (15) credit hours equivalency per semester, or thirty (30) credit hours equivalency per twelve months. The instructional load may differ among faculty due to varying teaching responsibilities. An assignment that includes fourteen (14) credit hours in the fall semester and sixteen (16) credit hours in the spring semester, for example, would not be regarded as involving an overload during the second semester.  All workloads must be approved by a dean and the VPI.  A full-time annual teaching contract will not exceed 30 semester credits.
  2. Credit-hour equivalency is calculated on contact time with students according to the credit hour policy.
  3. A full-time faculty member is normally expected to spend thirty (30) hours per week on campus unless special considerations are agreed upon between the faculty member and the responsible administrator.

Contact hour


Lecture/lab or other designated instructional mode



Office hours for advising, student conferencing, grading, class preparation, etc. 

Campus Time


Flexible campus hours for committee assignments, office work, class preparation, grading, division responsibilities, professional development



Hours on campus per work week 

Administration recognizes and appreciates that the demands of full-time teaching significantly exceeds thirty (30) hours, encompassing grading, class preparation, curriculum and professional development, scholarly reading, and professional writing.

VIII. Overload Assignment

Overload assignments, when requested by faculty, will be limited to 160% (9 credits) of full-time load assignment per semester.  In extenuating circumstances, exceptions to this procedure may be made at the  request of the dean on the recommendation of the division chair.  The request must include a rationale for the additional overload assignment and be approved by the VPI.  Overload assignments that exceed 160% must be requested each semester. The office of instruction will provide detailed guidelines on full-time faculty overload. 

IX. Division Chairs

The instructional load may vary among chairs because of variances in contract types, administrative responsibilities, as well as the different foci of each division; however, generally, division chairs have 12 credits of re-assigned time to perform the division chair duties. Exceptions to this procedure will be made at the discretion of the dean and approved by the vice president of instruction.

X.  Library Faculty

The job duties and specific functions that constitute the full-time load for librarians shall be considered equivalent to the full-time load of other academic faculty as described in this policy for the purposes of compensation.  These duties and functions are defined in the job description of each faculty librarian.

XI. Part-time/Adjunct Instructors

Part-time instructors who teach up to nine (9) credit hours or less per semester will be compensated at a pre-established rate of pay.  These rates will be published annually by the college and applied consistently.

Part-time instructors are expected to schedule and post office hours on the basis of their teaching assignment, with the expectation that for every three credits taught, instructors provide one office hour per week. 

XII. Substitute Instructors

Instructors are compensated at a pre-determined hourly rate of pay.

XIII. Summer School Instructors

Summer school instructors are compensated at a part-time/adjunct rate of pay, unless otherwise indicated in their contract.

Procedure Title: Staff Compensation Structure

Impact: Staff

Responsibility: Human Resources

Effective Date: 07/01/17

Last Update:

Relates to Policy: 3.02.16

Legal Citation(s):


All benefit-eligible staff employees are compensated per a structure approved by the Board of Trustees.  This procedure does not apply to positions designated as faculty or non-benefit eligible.

I.  Position Placement and Evaluation

  1. Benefit eligible staff positions must have a job description on file with Human Resources. The Human Resources department works with the hiring supervisor to establish an accurate position description.
  2. Human Resources utilizes job descriptions to place the position into a staff compensation structure and grade in consideration of the position’s responsibilities, scope, decision-making authority, organizational impact, required experience, oversight of others (as applicable), and educational requirements.
  3. Benefit eligible staff positions are categorized as exempt (overtime ineligible) or non-exempt (overtime eligible) according to guidance under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Exempt staff positions are paid on a salary basis while non-exempt staff positions are paid on an hourly basis.
  4. The staff compensation structures provide for step placement and movement as noted in Items II and III as follows.

II. Initial Placement on Compensation Structure

  1. Initial placement on the approved compensation structure occurs at the point of hire into a benefit eligible position.
  2. Before an employee is offered benefit eligible employment, Human Resources will evaluate the employee’s education and experience to determine which step the employee should initially be placed. Additional consideration is given to internal equity for existing employees in the same or similar positions.
  3. The step identified by Human Resources is the step that will be offered to the employee.
  4. Initial placement will not exceed the midpoint level of the position’s identified grade on the compensation structure. This maximum placement level ensures pay compression issues are minimized as new hires begin working along staff already placed and advancing through the steps. Any exceptions to initial placement will require approval by the President and Human Resources.

III. Advancement on the Staff Compensation Structure

  1. Employees will advance one step along their designated grade for each year of benefit eligible service.
  2. Employees will first become eligible for step advancement after working for at least 90 days of the previous fiscal year.
  3. Step advancement will occur at the beginning of each fiscal year or at the beginning of the year designated by the employee’s employment agreement, where that date is later. Human Resources will communicate to each employee the amount of their new pay rate and the date on which the rate will begin prior to the start date of the new rate. 
  4. Movement of a position from one structure and/or grade to another structure and/or grade is not allowed unless a position reclassification is requested and approved. Benefit eligible staff can only change compensation structure grades when the position has permanently and significantly changed.  When this occurs, the position must follow the Human Resources reclassification process.
  5. Benefit eligible employees may move from one structure and/or grade to another if the employee applies and is hired for another advertised and open staff position, according to the appropriate Human Resources department hiring procedures.

IV. Payments to Employees at the Grade Maximum

  1. Once an employee reaches the maximum step of their grade, the employee’s base pay will not advance beyond the maximum rate of the grade assigned to the position.
  2. To recognize employees for their year of service, employees who have reached the maximum step of their grade on the appropriate compensation structure will receive a stipend equivalent to 2.5% of their annual salary.
  3. Human Resources will communicate to each employee the amount of this stipend payment and the date on which the payment will be made.