About this directive

Reference to applicable legislation (act or regulation): Part 1, Section 13, Public Service Act

Part 7, Sections 42 to 45, 47, 48, Public Service Employment Regulation (PDF, 1.1 MB)

Application: All employees appointed or employed pursuant to the Public Service Act.

Note: employees who are members of the bargaining unit are subject to the terms of the Collective Agreement. Any terms, conditions, or entitlements related to salary adjustments addressed in the Collective Agreement supersede this directive.

Last updated: February 2022
Last reviewed: February 2022
Amended by: Alberta Public Service Commission:
Strategic Services and Public Agency Secretariat, Workforce Policy, Total Compensation and Job Evaluation Policy

Purpose

To provide clarity and transparency to support the consistent and accurate application of salary adjustments for employees across the Alberta Public Service.

Overview

This directive describes how salary anomalies, in-range/merit increases, quick increments and general increases should be applied.

Definition of terms

Disclaimer: If there are any discrepancies in how the terms are defined below and the Public Service Act and Public Service Employment Regulation (PDF, 1.1 MB), the act and regulation supersede.

Bargaining unit: employees under the Public Service Act designated to be represented by a trade union as the certified bargaining agent, as defined by the Public Service Employee Relations Act.

Classification: distinct kind (stream of work) and level of work (level 1, 2, 3…) allocated to a position based on the nature of work, responsibilities, scope and complexity.

Deputy head: chief officer of a department, as well as various positions including clerks, officers, and commissioners as prescribed in section 1(d) and section 1(d)(viii)(B) of the Public Service Act.

Increment: the movement between one step and the following step within the same pay grade.

Management: employees appointed to a position in the Management Job Evaluation Plan, and paid in accordance with Schedule 2, Management Official Pay Plan within the Public Service Employment Regulation.

Maximum salary: the highest rate of a salary range, pay band, pay zone or pay grade.

Minimum salary: the lowest rate of a salary range, pay band, pay zone or pay grade.

Non-management: includes employees in bargaining unit, position exempt, and opted out and excluded employment groups.

Non-union: includes employees in management, position exempt and opted out and excluded employment groups.

Opted out and excluded: employees in a classification not included in the bargaining unit, who are appointed to a position in the Point Rating Evaluation Plan, and paid in accordance with Schedule 1, Part 1-A, Part 2-A and Part 2-B of the Opted Out and Excluded Official Pay Plan in the Public Service Employment Regulation.

Pay band: a salary range assigned to a management classification [Manager (Band 1), Senior Manager (Band 2), Executive Manager I (Band 3), and Executive Manager II (Band 4)] in Schedule 2 of the Management Official Pay Plan within the Public Service Employment Regulation.

Pay grade: a salary range that includes a minimum and maximum step, as well as steps between these endpoints, for bargaining unit classifications identified within the Collective Agreement.

Pay zone: an established boundary, within a pay band, for the Manager (Manager Zone 1, Manager Zone 2) and Senior Manager (Senior Manager Zone 1, Senior Manager Zone 2) classifications.

Position exempt: employees in a bargaining unit classification who are excluded from the union in accordance with Part 3, Division 3, Section 12 of the Public Service Employee Relations Act.

Salary compression: a situation in which a subordinate’s salary is within 3% of their direct supervisor’s salary.

Salary inversion: a situation in which a supervisor’s salary is lower than their direct subordinate’s salary.

Salary range: a range that includes set minimum and maximum salaries, which are assigned to opted out and excluded, and management classifications that are identified in the Official Pay Plans.

Step: a single salary rate assigned within a pay grade of bargaining unit or position exempt salary grids (Note: step is referred to as a period within Collective Agreement, or referred to as pay period within the Public Service Employment Regulation).

Salary anomalies for non-union employees

An employee’s supervisor, in alignment with the HR Decision Matrix, may initiate the request that Compensation Delivery Services complete a salary anomaly review on an employee to assess rationale and eligibility for an adjustment. Following completion of the salary anomaly review, and depending on the outcome, a deputy head may, with Public Service Commissioner approval, authorize an in-range salary adjustment for a non-union employee to address a salary anomaly. When an adjustment is authorized to address a salary anomaly, an employee's anniversary date will be reviewed by Compensation Delivery Services to determine if it should change (for example, based on consideration of the anomaly adjustment amount and proximity to the employee’s next merit/in-range increase). Anniversary dates for employees with uniform anniversary dates, such as management (for example, April), will not change.

A salary anomaly is defined as one of the following situations:

  • a salary compression or inversion between a supervisor and their subordinate
  • an inequitable salary relationship between peer employees
  • a situation in which the existing salary level of an employee is not commensurate with their position responsibilities or qualifications, and there are retention concerns (all conditions must be met)

In assessing the need for a salary anomaly adjustment review, consideration must be given to balancing fiscal prudence with the ability to retain highly qualified employees. The following factors must be considered in determining whether to proceed with a salary anomaly adjustment that is equitable and reasonable:

  • qualifications of the employee as related to the position (for example, education and years of experience)
  • internal equity (for example, salary relationship to subordinates, peers, and supervisor)
  • external market (for example, employee possesses credentials and/or "in-demand" skills that are difficult to recruit)
  • circumstance that led or contributed to the anomaly (for example, salary not set appropriately on appointment, salary inversion)
  • the performance of the employee (for example, exemplary performance vs meeting expectations)
  • previous and upcoming salary increases (for example, merit/in-range, general increase, salary modifiers and salary adjustments).

When the salaries of a supervisor and their subordinate are compressed or inverted, the salary differential, after the adjustment, should not normally be more than 3%.

A record of authorization and rationale for all salary anomaly adjustments shall be maintained by the department and made available to the Public Service Commissioner upon request.

In-range/merit increase for non-union employees

Effective April 1, 2022, a deputy head may adjust the salary of a non-union employee, on their anniversary date based on an assessment of satisfactory performance. These in-range (management) and merit (opted out and excluded/position exempt) increases must be approved in accordance with the HR Decision Matrix, as follows:

Management employees Opted out and excluded employees Position exempt employees
In-range increase of up to 3%, annually, until the maximum salary for the assigned classification is reached.

To be eligible, employees will (normally) have been in their position for at least 6 months, to allow for an adequate period to assess performance.

All management employees have an anniversary date of April 1.

Merit increase of 4%, annually, until the maximum salary for the assigned classification is reached.

For employees with a uniform anniversary date (for example, April) to be eligible, they will normally have been in their position for at least 6 months, allowing for an adequate period to assess performance.

One increment increase, annually, until the maximum salary for the assigned classification is reached.

Note: if the employee’s current salary falls between steps, the employee’s salary will be adjusted to a step that provides at least one increment, provided the maximum salary of the assigned classification is not exceeded.

A deputy head may, with Public Service Commissioner approval, provide beyond the standard annual in-range/merit increase (outlined in the chart above) when they are satisfied that the employee’s performance justifies an additional salary increase. In consultation with Compensation Delivery Services, the employee’s supervisor must provide justification of exemplary performance for the additional salary increase.

When a deputy head has withheld an in-range or merit increase, based on less than satisfactory performance, the adjustment may be granted when the deputy head determines the employee’s performance is satisfactory.

If an employee is on an authorized leave of absence without pay, they must have worked an adequate period of time before the leave commenced to be eligible for an in-range or merit increase when they return to work.

Merit increase for bargaining unit employees

As per Article 45.03 (PDF, 6.9 MB) of the Collective Agreement, a bargaining unit employee’s rate of pay will be adjusted by one increment, on their anniversary date, unless there is a justifiable reason identified for withholding the increment (for example, less than satisfactory performance). The one increment increase is calculated by moving from one step (“period” as defined in the Collective Agreement) to the next step within the same pay grade, until the maximum salary for the assigned classification is reached.

Calculating salary adjustments

To calculate salary adjustments for employees in classifications assigned a salary range, the percentage adjustment is added to the current bi-weekly salary and rounded to two decimal places to determine the new bi-weekly salary.

Example:

Employee receives a 4% merit increase

Current bi-weekly salary: $2,568.30 X 1.04 = $2,671.032 – round to 2 decimal places

New bi-weekly salary: $2,671.03

Quick increment

In accordance with Subsidiary #001, Schedule C (PDF, 6.9 MB) of the Collective Agreement, quick increments are accelerated salary adjustments (at 6, 12 and 18 month intervals) for eligible bargaining unit classifications.

Employees in the following classifications, identified in the table below, will be eligible to receive a salary adjustment of one increment upon deputy head approval.

Classification Step placement on appointment 6 month increment Anniversary date increment 18 month increment Anniversary date increment thereafter
Operational Services 1
Grade 17 (36.25 hours)
Grade 23 (40.00 hours)
Step 1 or 2

Step 3

1

1

1

1

1

N/A

1

1

Administrative Support 1
Grade 12 (36.25 hours)
Grade 18 (40.00 hours)
Step 1 1 1 N/A 1

The Public Service Commissioner will issue instructions on salary implementation when a classification, or additional accelerated increments, are added to the quick increment table.

General increase for non-union employees

Effective April 1, 2022, the deputy head may, in accordance with the general increase guidelines issued by the Public Service Commissioner and the HR Decision Matrix, adjust the salary of an employee whose position:

  • is assigned to a management classification
  • is assigned to an opted out and excluded classification
  • is assigned to a bargaining unit classification, but the position is excluded from the bargaining unit (position exempt) under Section 12(1) (b) to (k) of the Public Service Employee Relations Act

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