The UNC Board of Governors approved two new policies Friday aimed at recruiting and retaining employees — and incentivizing their success.
The board approved a paid parental leave policy matching the one Gov. Roy Cooper gave employees of agencies under his oversight this month through executive order. Employees giving birth will be eligible for 8 weeks of fully paid parental leave. Those who adopt, foster or have a legal placement of a child will be eligible for four weeks. The university system has about 30,000 employees who could potentially take advantage of the new policy.
The board also approved in principle a plan to create an incentive pay plan for UNC system chancellors. The plan, whose final details will still have to be worked out and approved by the board, would give the opportunity to earn between up 20 percent of their base salary as an incentive. The pay would mean lower base salaries for future chancellors and the incentive pay as part of their overall salary — not as a bonus on top of salaries that as of 2018 ranged from $291,305 per year to $664,387 at N.C. State University.
“This is a matter the board of governors has been considering since 2015,” said Interim UNC System President Bill Roper Friday.
Roper said a full plan may be done by the November meeting of the board but may take as long as January to finalize.
The system needs to begin doing what many other sectors of the economy now do, Roper said — reward people for performance with incentive pay.
“The notion is to have base pay be good but not at the top of the range, so-to-speak,” Roper said. “And then have the opportunity to earn additional pay for performance that is in the direction of things that the university and the university system want to accomplish.”
The message, Roper said, is that chancellors will not be guaranteed their pay “just for breathing.”
“You’ve got to perform,” Roper said.
Metrics would be different at the state’s 16 public universities, according to Roper and UNC Board of Governors Chairman Harry Smith. But among the overall metrics would be whether schools are attracting and retaining students and graduating them on time and with less debt as well as taking more students from rural and low income backgrounds.
Smith said he believes both new policies would allow the system should help the university recruit the “high value athlete” brand of employees for which they’re searching.
“It’s hard to find them and it’s getting harder,” Smith said.