Classification and Compensation

Kennesaw State University’s approach to staff compensation and classification supports the university's contemporary vision and philosophy by:

  • Recruiting, retaining, and rewarding talented staff.
  • Recognizing staff’s value and contributions to Kennesaw State University.
  • Rewarding staff for high performance.
  • Managing pay through a simpler, more flexible, and less bureaucratic system.
  • Ensuring fair and consistent administration in all departments across the university.

Roles and Responsibilities

Managers, staff, and HR all have roles to play in properly classifying positions and managing compensation.

Human Resources

HR serves as a resource to managers for compensation and classification issues by communicating policies and practices for better understanding.  HR will provide information and advice on pay levels, policies and practices, and provide expert guidance, perspective and support to managers.  HR reviews all compensation decisions to identify and address any significant variations in practices within and among departments.

HR’s role is to work with managers to help them make appropriate decisions. It is also HR’s responsibility to keep the President’s staff aware of compensation practices across the university.


Managers play a critical role in managing the compensation program by making pay recommendations and communicating with staff. Managers are responsible and accountable for establishing and maintaining equitable compensation practices within their areas of responsibility.  Additionally, managers may recommend hiring rates and pay increases.  Managers are expected to communicate pay increases, compensation guidelines and processes, and honest and timely feedback to staff on compensation issues.

Managers are responsible for working with their staff to keep job descriptions current.  Managers should also stay in communication with budget and business managers to ensure that the financial resources are in place to support their compensation decisions.

Staff Members

While staff is not responsible for making pay decisions or actively managing the compensation program, they are responsible for understanding the compensation program by utilizing the resources KSU makes available.  Staff members are also responsible for working with management to keep job descriptions up to date.  Any questions or concerns should be shared with the manager or Human Resources.

Staff Compensation Structure

KSU’s compensation structure comprises two job categories (exempt and non-exempt) that define distinct roles at the University and comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act. 

This approach has many benefits, both for KSU and staff:

Provides broad guidelines, for managing compensation so that mangers can make pay decisions that comply with KSU policy, yet can be tailored to the needs of different departments. 
Allows for broad job design and classifications, which enables salaries to be aligned with actual responsibilities. 
Supports career development by recognizing advancement within a job or classification, degree or certification achievement, as well as to a position in a higher classification. 
Simplifies the tracking and managing of pay, positions, and classifications.
The pay bands for staff were developed through an analysis of compensation levels and trends for various jobs across the university. HR established pay bands based on the broad banding philosophy, budget constraints, and factors such as turnover and retention.

HR will maintain the competitiveness of the staff compensation structure by reviewing salary trends and, when appropriate, recommend adjustments to the pay bands to reflect market levels.

Job Classification

Jobs are classified by matching the duties of the job with classification descriptions. The job is assigned to the category and job classification that best fits with the job’s actual responsibilities and is legally compliant. The job classification and descriptions allow for flexibility and growth within the classification reducing the need for reclassification requests.

Pay Bands

The pay bands that correspond to the job categories have been designed to allow flexibility in managing pay.

The bands are broad enough to support pay decisions in a wide variety of circumstances. Staff will not be paid below the minimum of the pay band.   


Employee compensation decisions and initiatives for classified personnel at Kennesaw State University are grouped into four main categories, Initial Appointments, Reclassifications, Reorganizations, and Pay Increases. All approvals for compensation decisions and initiatives are dependent on the availability of funds and increases may be denied or held if it is deemed in the best interests of the University. Justification for changing a rate of pay must be submitted to Human Resources for review and approval. No commitment may be made until the approval is received.

The following is a summary description of each of these categories with an explanation as to when each may apply to a request to change compensation.

Initial Appointments

New employees will be appointed using the minimum of the pay band assigned to that job classification.  If a Hiring Manager feels that his/her candidate brings more than the minimum qualifications to the position, consideration may be given up to the first quartile of the pay band.  The department must either have the money already in the budget or have it transferred to the budget. Offers over the minimum are subject to Human Resources review of internal equity and qualifications.  Offers should not be extended prior to review and approval by HR.


A reclassification may result when a significant portion of the job duties are changing permanently.  These changes are reflected not only in the variety of tasks, but also the level of responsibility for the position.  Pay increases associated with the reclassifications that result in a higher classification can be 0-15% or the minimum of the new pay band, whichever is greater.  All requests for increases over the minimum of a pay band will be subject to internal equity review.  The following salary changes will also be considered as determined appropriate by HR:

  1. If reclassification to a higher position results in stepping over one or more pay bands, an additional increase above the 15% may be considered
  2. Reclassifications laterally within a pay band may result in up to a 10% increase for reclassifications with an increased level of responsibility
  3. Pay increases will not be considered for reclassifications resulting in a move to a lower pay band.  Such moves may result in a pay decrease.


Reorganization involves a change in the operational structure of a department and the associated changes in the reporting lines of the positions within the department. Reorganization may also involve changes in the job duties of two or more departmental positions. The Department Head may submit reorganization requests accompanied by the appropriate documentation and organizational charts, at any time throughout the year.   A change in the classification of one position is not considered reorganization; such a request should be made by the budgetary unit following the current guidelines and procedures for reclassification.

Pay Increases

There are three categories of additional pay.  All pay changes must be initiated by either the hiring manager or HR and will require supporting documentation.

  1. Additional Pay - increases base salary

    1. Additional Duties - Additional responsibilities have been assigned to the position but the change in scale and scope are not enough to warrant a reclassification.  Increased volume alone is not typically justification for additional pay but an increase of new duties at the same level for the current classification.  Pay increases for additional duties can be up to 10% and must consider internal equity for comparable positions.  Supervisors should use discretion and not assign additional duties to those employees who are not performing current job duties satisfactorily.

    2. Equity Pay - Market conditions indicate a need to increase salary to retain talent. These external factors must be verified by salary market survey from by HR.  Those employees not performing job duties satisfactorily will not be eligible for equity pay increases.

    3. Compression Pay - Address pay inequities that arise from the need to offer higher wages to new employees, which subsequently affects the pay of existing employees who are equally qualified and have good performance records.

    4. Performance Pay - Pay for rewarding superior performance by an employee.  This must include both quality and quantity of work performed and must be based on a proven record of sustained excellent performance.  Increases based on performance will be limited to employees who have been in their current position for at least one year.

  2. Temporary additional pay - increases base salary for the duration of the assignment as described below.  Temporary additional pay assignments require HR approval prior to beginning the new work.

    1. Interim Pay - Payments for additional duties assumed for a vacant position at a higher classification.  Interim assignment pay can be added to the base pay of an employee when they are taking on an interim role for a period of more than one month but no more than 12 months.  Interim pay indicates that the employee will assume the majority of the responsibilities of the higher role for that period of time.  The associated pay increase should meet the minimum of the new pay band.  Pay will return to the previous level when the interim duties end.  If the interim employee is selected for the position on a permanent basis, compensation policy guidelines will apply as comparative to the base salary prior to receiving interim pay.

    2. Casual Labor - Payments for side jobs which are assumed outside of an employee's normal job description work hours and work department for tasks such as working Athletics concessions.  All FLSA requirements regarding overtime pay must be followed. 

    3. Acting Duties - Payments for additional duties assumed for a vacant position that is at a higher classification but for a short period of time (one to two months).  These interim duties should include more than 50% of the higher level duties.   Pay for acting duties can be up to the difference between the current pay rate and the minimum of the higher pay band, pro-rated based on the time the acting duties were performed.

    4. Assistance Pay - Payments for additional duties assumed for a vacant position that is at an equivalent or lower classification.  These duties should include more than 50% of the vacant position duties and should be for a period of at least one month.   Payment amount is up to 10% of the assisting employee's pay rate, pro-rated for the time frame of the assistance.

  3. Lump Sum Compensation options are quarterly payment requests for temporary duties which fall outside of the normal job description.  Payment requests must have the support of both the supervisor and HR.  The funding source must be designated by the supervisor. The following pay changes must be initiated by the hiring manager and will require supporting documentation.  Only employees with satisfactory performance records will be considered for additional assignments.

    1. Project Pay - Payments for a defined part of a project that is outside of the scope of an employee's job description.  Project work must be completed outside of an employee's normal work hours or the employee must have taken vacation time to complete the assignment.  Pay amounts should be consistent with the type of work being performed.

    2. Staff Overload - Payments for additional duties temporarily assigned which are outside of the normal job description but are the result of an employee's inherent job knowledge.

    3. Incentive Compensation - Payments for obtaining a degree.  Each degree or certification may only be recognized one time.  Incentive compensation only applies to staff and administrators, not faculty as faculty degree incentives are considered in the promotion and tenure process.  Certifications or completion of significant professional development programs may also be recognized as deemed appropriate by both the supervisor and HR.  Incentive compensation is not applicable for obtaining additional degrees or certifications that become required as a part of an employee’s current position.  Those employees not performing job duties satisfactorily will not be eligible for incentive compensation.