Three-year Equity Compensation Program for non-represented staff

To: UCSC Community

From: Cynthia Larive, Chancellor; Lori Kletzer, Campus Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor

As we welcome students back to campus in the coming week, we know the tremendous amount of work that has gone into making this moment possible — plus the efforts undertaken over the past year in advancing our education, research and service mission. UC Santa Cruz continues to lead at the intersection of creativity, innovation and social impact because of the collective efforts of the entire campus community.

As we work to advance our mission and increase our impact, we know that staff compensation is a crucial area in need of improvement. Today we are sharing our decision to implement specific changes to staff compensation practices for non-represented staff, building on the work of our staff compensation task force and acknowledging the voices of other campus advocates.

First, we are making explicit a compensation philosophy that describes our intentions and a framework for how we will manage this important human resource practice. Our philosophy going forward will include these principles:

  • UC Santa Cruz recruits, develops, and retains a well-qualified and engaged workforce that reflects our commitment to diversity, inclusion, innovation, and accountability while fostering the university’s research, teaching, and service mission. UC Santa Cruz makes staff employee compensation practices transparent and motivating.
  • We will be as competitive as possible relative to the market given our resources, and we will continually monitor our pay practices to ensure they align with our mission.

Next, to begin increasing our actual pay levels in accordance with our philosophy, we are investing $5.5 million over three years in an equity program covering our approximately 1,700 non-represented staff. The key aspects of this plan include:

  • The program will target employees whose salaries are furthest below market, and will predominantly impact employees in lower salary grades. Not everyone will receive an adjustment and increases will vary according to each participant’s individual pay circumstances.
  • The purpose of the program is to make our pay practices more competitive compared to the market and provide an incentive for staff to continue their careers at UC Santa Cruz.
  • The equity adjustments will be effective Dec. 26, 2021, for bi-weekly paid staff, which will be reflected in their Jan. 19, 2022 paychecks. The effective date for monthly paid staff is Jan. 1, 2022, which will be reflected in their Feb. 1, 2022 paychecks.
  • The $5.5 million will be invested as follows: $2.5 million in 2022 and $1.5 million in each of the following two years.
  • Our staff HR compensation team will provide the divisions with a roster of eligible employees. The divisions will review and collaborate with the compensation team to identify any outstanding issues for the employees listed on the roster (i.e.pending disciplinary actions or an expected evaluation rating of less than “met expectations”).

A third category of compensation changes include these additional new practices:

  • All new hires in non-represented roles will have their starting salaries set at no lower than the 25th percentile of their salary grades. Exceptions can be considered in consultation with your compensation analyst and based on unique circumstances. We have many existing staff in the lowest quartile simply as a consequence of units offering low starting salaries. This new practice will help us maintain our progress and continue to advance equitable compensation practices for our non-represented staff.
  • Beginning in 2022, we request that units engage in an annual “focal review” with their compensation analyst to address equity considerations at one point in the year. Conducting equity reviews on an annual basis helps to streamline the process, allows managers to review their unit/s holistically, applies reasoning that is fair and consistent, aligns increases with the merit cycle and sets clear expectations for staff. We recommend that any equity actions resulting from the focal review have an effective date of July 1. This date aligns with what has been the typical merit effective date.

If you have any questions about this project please contact Steve Stein at or Shelby Young at