Tentative Agreement FAQs

 

  1. What is the sequence of events as we transition to the new salary scales?

(a) Update the old salary scales.

The existing salary scales are found at:

    http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/academic/a20-02.html

The last time our current salary scales were updated was in September 2013. These will be updated for the across the board increase of 1% on 2016-07-01, the economic stability dividend increase of 0.45% on 2016-05-01, and the across the board increase of 0.5% on 2016-07-01. These are compounded, so the salary scales will be increased by just under 2% effective 2016-07-01 compared to published scales. See Appendix B of the new agreement for the updated scales.

You will receive retroactive back pay based on these new salary scales.

Your current step placement will NOT change as a result of the updating of the scales. For example, if you are currently an Associate Professor Step 10, you will continue to be an Associate Professor Step 10 after the updates.

(b) Payments for members at ceilings as of 2016-08-31.

All members who are at the HARD ceilings of their rank on 2016-08-31 (excluding those who get promoted on 2016-09-01 or resign/retire on 2016-09-01) will receive the ONE TIME payment.

(c) Promotion and step increases on 2016-09-01

Existing (updated) salary scales from (a) will be used for promotion and step increases on 2016-09-01. Of if you are at a HARD ceiling on 2016-08-31, you will not receive an increase in your salary on 2016-09-01 but may receive an award under (b) above. Members above the career progress ceilings but below the hard ceiling will only receive a salary increase if they received a 1.5 or 2.0 step award. All other members will receive their step awards as in the past. Promotion increases will take place as in the past.

(d) Move to new scales on 2016-09-02.

On 2016-09-02 the new salary scales come into effect. The new salary scale DOES NOT HAVE formal steps — all that is important is your nominal salary (used to decide if you are above/below the breakpoints) and your salary supplement (market differential, salary differentials, retention awards, CRC/Burnaby Mountain Chair stipends, etc).

Members’ salary will NOT change on 2016-09-02 except in the case where a member’s nominal salary is below the new floors. There are special cases and detailed examples are found in the detailed explanation of changes.

If the member’s nominal salary + any market differential is below the new floor, the market differential is rolled into the nominal salary and the nominal salary is increased to the floor.

If the member’s nominal salary is below the new floor, but a market differential brings them above the floor, the member’s total salary is unchanged, but the nominal salary is increased to the new floor with a corresponding reduction in the market differential.

Market differentials and retention awards are left UNCHANGED except for the case above for members whose nominal salary is below the floor, and members in the Senior Lecturer and Professor rank who still have market differentials after a previous roll-in upon promotion. In this case, an additional rolling of the remaining market differential will take place to bring the members to the breakpoint of the Senior Lecturer or Professor rank.

(e) Increases for members who NEVER had a MD or salary supplement.

On 2017-07-01, a member who NEVER had a MD and does not have a salary supplement (e.g. retention award or CRC/Burnaby Mountain Chair or similar stipend, but excluding administrative stipends such as Chair stipends) will receive a proportion share of the $1.25 million fund which will added to the members’ nominal salaries.

(f) Across the board increases on 2017-07-01.

The across the board increases scheduled for that date will increase member’s salaries and also increase our salary minimum, maximum and breakpoints. Any Economic Stability Dividend declared for 2017 will also affect your salaries and scales.

(g) Movement on the new step system on 2017-09-01.

The step size will be computed based on 2.3% of our salary mass in the previous September. Members will move on the new salary system for the first time.

(h) Continue until the end of the contract.

The across the board increases and economic stability dividends and movement on the new salary scales continues to the end of the contract. The amount available for promotions and step movements increases to 2.5% of salary mass by the end of the contract.

  1. What happens to members who have been hired effective 2016-09-01?

Welcome to SFU and the Faculty Association (SFUFA).

Your letter of appointment outlined an initial (nominal) salary placement (rank and step) and any market differential and your total starting salary. There are several cases:

  • Your nominal salary placement is below the floor of the new salary scale and you do NOT have a market differential. Your nominal salary will be moved to the new floor on 2016-09-02.
  • Your salary placement is below the floor of the new salary scale and you HAVE a market differential. Your nominal salary will be increased to the new floors with a corresponding reduction in your market differential. If your total salary is still below the new floor, your nominal salary (which now includes your market differential) will be raised to the new floor.
  • Your nominal salary placement is above the floor of the new salary scale. No change to your nominal salary or any market differential.
  • You were appointed as a Senior Lecturer or Professor with a market differential. Your market differential will be folded into your nominal salary to bring your nominal salary to the new breakpoint. Your total salary will not change.

 

  1. I’m currently a Professor Step 8. When members are brought to the floor, won’t the Professors at lower steps suddenly get a large salary increase which will lead to salary compression?

In theory this could occur, but in practice it generally will not. There are currently no members in these lower ranks. If you look at the old salary scales, the ceiling for Associate Professor is already at step 4.5 of the Professor scale. Once you add the increment upon promotion or step movement on 2016-09-01 and the retroactive adjustments to the salary scales, most new Professors will be within $1000 of the new floors and there will be very little change to their total salary.

This also occurs for the other ranks. Many of the lower steps in many ranks are “phantom” steps that are only used if the University hired directly to these ranks. This seldom happens.

A similar analysis shows that the bottom steps of LIB III are also not used.

 

  1. How does this new agreement affect our pension plan?

When we started negotiations two years ago, we held extensive consultations with members about moving to a defined benefit plan (the College Pension Fund). Members told SFUFA that they were in favor of such a movement provided that it would be compulsory for NEW members to join and existing members would have the option of joining the new plan or remaining on the existing defined contribution plan. At that time, the trustees of the College Pension plan indicated that they were comfortable with such a transition.

Very late in the game (in the last two months) we received word that the trustees of the College Pension plan revoked their earlier agreement, i.e. ALL members would have to join the new plan. This change implied that the bargaining team no longer had a mandate to continue without going back to the membership. Rather than delaying the process, we have signed a memorandum of understanding with the University that over the next six months, a study will be commissioned and completed on alternatives to our current plan. Refer to Letter of Agreement 4 in the new agreement for details.

In the meantime, pension contributions will continue as 10% of your salary (less the CPP offset) paid into your defined contribution account. The retroactive pay will also trigger additional pension contributions based on the retroactive payment.

 

  1. What is happening with Teaching Professors?

No new applications for promotion to Teaching Professor will be accepted. Those applications already in progress will continue. Existing Teaching Professors will be “grandfathered”. Promotion to Professor by teaching appointments is still possible, but new promotions will be evaluated using the criteria in the agreement, i.e. there must be scholarly impact to have established a national or international reputation, though this may be based on contributions in teaching and learning. Refer to Letter of Agreement 3 in the new agreement for details.

  1. What is the impact of the new scale on promotions to Professor? Is it better to wait until I reach the ceiling of the Associate Professor Scale?

Summary: The new scales have substantially increased the ceiling for the Associate Professor. If you have a large market differential, it may be more beneficial (in the very long run) to wait until you reach the ceiling of the Associate Professor before getting promoted. If you don’t have a market differential, it is beneficial to seek promotion as soon as you hit the breakpoint of the Associate Professor scale. If you have a small market differential, it can be difficult to decide what to do.

Here is an analysis for several cases:

Large Market Differential. You are currently Associate Professor (AP) step 12 $106,581 with a $40K Market differential.

(a) The current scales must be adjusted for the retroactive increases, 1% in 1 July 2015, .45% on 1 May 2016, and .5% on 1 July 2016. Just under 2% (1.96% when compounded).

So your new salary will be  $106,581 x 1.0196 = $108,272 + MD 40,000 x 1.0196 = $40,784. You will receive retroactive back pay for these scale adjustments.

(b) On 31 August 2016, you will still be at the hard ceiling of AP and so will receive a ONE TIME (i.e. not added to your salary) award of $2500.

(c) On 1 Sept 2016 you will still be at the AP 12 ceiling and so will not move regardless of your step award.

(d) On 2 Sept 2016, the new scales come into effect. You salary/MD will be unchanged at $108,272 + $40,784 because your nominal salary is above the new floor of the AP.

The new scale system does NOT have fixed steps. Rather the total amount of money is now fixed gradually increasing to 2.5% of the total salary mass which is divided among the promotions and step awards in future years to determine the step size. Your nominal salary (the $108,272) is then increased by the size of the step award  x salary step awards (e.g. 1.5 steps) if your nominal salary (i.e. before MD) is below the breakpoint of the rank (the new breakpoint for AP is $120,000) and step award x salary step increase x .6 if your nominal salary is above the breakpoint.

So in Sept 2017, you will now have room to move because you  will no longer be at the top of the AP scale.

Under the new system, any time you get promoted to P, any MD is rolled into to salary unto the breakpoint of the (new) P scale.

If you got promoted on 1 Sept 2017 with a $5000 promotion increase, you would move across to the P scale to $108,272 + $5000 = $113,272 + $40,784 MD. Next, part of the MD would be rolled into base salary to bring you to the P breakpoint of $140,000 with your MD reduced to $14,056 for a total salary of $154,056.  You would still have $12,000 of room to move up the P scale, so the maximum possible salary would be $152,000 + $14,056 MD = $166,056.

If  you postponed your promotion until your salary was, for example, $120,000 + $40,784 MD and then got promoted with a promotion increase of $5,000, you would first move to the P scale at $120,000; next receive the $5000 promotion increase to bring your nominal salary to $125,000 and then have $15,000 of your MD rolled in to base salary to finally bring you to $140,000 (the breakpoint of the P scale), with a $25,784 remaining MD (that does not receive across the board increases). You would still have $12,000 of room to move up the P scale, so the maximum possible salary would be $152,000 + $25,784 MD = $177,784.

If you wait until you reach the top of the new AP scale before getting promoted, your salary at the new ceiling would be $130,000 + $40.800 MD. You get promoted to P with a $5000 award again, bring your new salary to $130,000 +$5,000=$135,000. Part of your MD is rolled into new breakpoint. So now you would be $140,000 + $35,800 MD. You can now move up the scale so your maximum salary will be $152,000 + $35,800 = $187,800

So on the surface, your eventual maximum salary is higher if you wait until you reach the top of the (new) AP scale to get promoted if you have a substantial MD.

No Market Differential. You are currently Associate Professor (AP) step 12 $106,581 without a market differential

(a) The current scales must be adjusted for the retroactive increases, 1% in 1 July 2015, .45% on 1 May 2016, and .5% on 1 July 2016, or just under 2% (1.96% when compounded).

So your new salary will be   106,581 x 1.0196 = $108,272. You will receive retroactive back pay for these scale adjustments.

(b) On 31 August 2016, you will still be at the hard ceiling of AP and so will receive a ONE TIME (i.e. not added to your salary) award of $2500.

(c) On 1 Sept 2016 you will still be at the AP 12 ceiling and so will not move regardless of your step award.

(d) On 2 Sept 2016, the new scales come into effect. You salary will be unchanged at $108,272 because your nominal salary is above the new floor of the AP.

The new scale system does NOT have fixed steps. Rather the total amount of money is now fixed gradually increasing to 2.5% of the total salary mass which is divided among the promotions and step awards to determine the step size. Your nominal salary (the $108,272) is then increased by the size of the step award  x salary step awards (e.g. 1.5 steps) if your nominal salary (i.e. before MD) is below the breakpoint of the rank (the new breakpoint for AP is $120,000) and step award x salary step increase x .6 if your nominal salary is above the breakpoint.

So in Sept 2017, you will now have room to move because you will no longer be at the top of the AP scale.

Under the new system, any time you get promoted to P, any MD is rolled into to salary unto the breakpoint of the (new) P scale.

If you got promoted on 1 Sept 2017 with a $5000 promotion increase, you would move across to the P scale to $108,272 + $5000 = $113,272. But this is below the floor of the P scale, so you would move up to $115,000.  You would now move up the P scale, so the maximum possible salary would be $152,000.

If you postponed your promotion until your salary was, for example, $120,000 and then got promoted with a promotion increase of $5,000, you would first move to the P scale at $120,000; next receive the $5000 promotion increase to bring your nominal salary to $125,000. You would still move up the P scale, so the maximum possible salary would be $152,000 .

If you wait until you reach the top of the new AP scale before getting promoted, your salary at the new ceiling would be $130,000. You get promoted to P with a $5000 award, to bring your new salary to $130,000 +$5,000=$135,000. You can now move up the scale so your maximum salary will be $152,000.

So on the surface, the timing of your promotion doesn’t affect your theoretical maximum salary. However, once you are above the breakpoint of the AP scale ($120,000) any step increase is smaller (60% of the normal step increase) so it is better to be on the P scale where you are still below the breakpoint on the P scale in order to get the larger step sizes.

Small Market Differential. A similar analysis can be done for smaller market differentials but it is more complicated because depending on the size of the MD and when you get promoted, there is an interaction between the breakpoints and the step sizes that affect the computations.

Caveats: Retention awards and CRC (and the like) stipends do not affect the above analysis because they are always paid over and above any nominal salary regardless of rank.

Note that the breakpoints of the scale and your salary will also increase over time due to across the board increases received in 2017 and later years so the above analysis is only approximate.

The issue also more complex because this eventual maximum salary is many years in the future and our scales may have changed by then; you may be decided to leave SFU; any retention awards are over and above these and the Dean may be more reluctant to award retention awards for members who wait before getting promoted; the actual ceiling of the P scale can be pierced if you get a 1.5 or 2.0 step increase; etc.

Your mileage may vary. Contact SFUFA for a more refined analysis for your individual case.

 

The SFU Faculty Association is a member-driven professional association and collective bargaining agent for faculty, librarians and other academic staff at the three campuses of Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, Surrey and Vancouver B.C.

Find us at:
AQ 2035 at the Burnaby Campus
Phone: 778-782-4676
Email: [email protected]

Mailing address:
8888 University Drive
Burnaby, BC V5A 1S6