For USF UFF faculty who were evaluated last Spring, merit raises mandated by the 2016 - 2019 Collective Bargaining Agreement come into effect tomorrow, which means that the raise starts appearing in our paychecks in three weeks. In this issue, we recall how salary raises are determined by the contract, and how to get information about them from GEMS.
About the Raises
UFF USF employees evaluated last spring should have received - or will shortly receive - a letter with their merit raise effective tomorrow. These evaluations are used for a number of purposes, and one purpose is the merit raise this year.
Last summer, the United Faculty of Florida (representing employees in the UFF USF Bargaining Unit) and the USF Administration (representing the USF Board of Trustees) bargained a Collective Bargaining Agreement for 2016 - 2019, including salary. For this year, UFF won raises; the average raise will be 2 % (and since the payroll for the Bargaining Unit is nearly $ 150 million, that means nearly $ 3 million in raises). UFF had argued for giving every (satisfactory or better) employee a 2 % raise, but the Administration insisted on a merit formula, so we compromised on the following formula.
In each department, each employee's share of the raise money is proportional to their evaluation. For example, suppose Jack got a 4 in his annual evaluation and a $ 2,000 raise while Jill got a 4.5 on her evaluation: then Jill's raise will be $ 2,250 as the ratio 4:2,000 is the same as the ratio 4.5:2,250. Notice that Jack and Jill's rank or current salary doesn't come into it: it depends solely on the evaluation. Similarly, if Bob got a 5 and Betty got a 3, Bob will get a $ 2,500 raise (even though he's an instructor) while Betty will get a $ 1,500 raise (even though she's a full professor) as 4:2,000, 4.5:2,250, 5:2,500, and 3:1,500 are all the same ratio. Meanwhile, if Phil got a 2.5 in his evaluation he gets no merit raise as the evaluation has to be satisfactory or better for a merit raise.
However, the ratio varies from department to department: in each department, the mean raise is 2 %. Next year, we will use the same system, with the same formula.
Incidentally, there are other ways that UFF USF employees can get raises (besides moving from one line to another, higher-paying line). There are promotional raises. And there are discretionary (ADI) raises. The latter are entirely at the discretion of the Administration, which means that a employee's supervisor (chair or director) has to lobby or apply for it.
Each employee's salary information is on the online GEMS Business System. This includes the Compensation History, which lists the employee's annual salary and effective dates, going back a decade or so, and View Paycheck, which lists salary, withholding, deductions, and other data. (We understand that the new salaries are in the process of being posted in GEMS.) UFF recommends checking paychecks regularly to make sure that all is current and in order.
This means accessing GEMS; more on that below.
Getting into GEMS
The internet is one of the great conveniences. Instead of going to the library to hunt down an article, one can hunt for it with a few keywords and then download it from the library website. Instead of sending mail and waiting a week (or more) for a response, one can send it via email and often get a response within 24 hours. And instead of picking up and depositing paychecks, one can keep have them deposited electronically and the computer that does that can keep records of them, too.
The software program that does that at USF is GEMS.
The Global Employment Management System handles USF personnel and payroll. But there is a problem: GEMS has information that would be useful for hackers interested in identity theft (with USF employees as the target), so GEMS has several layers of security that must be navigated by USF employees seeking access.
Assuming that readers have USF IDs and passwords, here is how to get VPN and 2-Factor Authentication.
- GEMS requires being logged on via MyUSF using the USF identification and password.
- From an off-campus computer, GEMS requires that the off-campus computer use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) which allows the off-campus computer and the GEMS computer to pretend that they are within a secure network. (Since on-campus computers are already within a - relatively - secure network, VPN is not necessary for on-campus computers.)
- GEMS requires 2-Factor Authentication, in which the GEMS computer contacts the user to make sure that that user is who the user claims to be.
It will take a few moments (you may have to enable pop-ups) before a white page with a green banner (with the USF logo) appears; this is GEMS. Notice the blue bar above the green banner. Click Main Menu in the blue banner (at left), then Self Service, and then click Payroll and Compensation, and then Compensation History or View Paycheck, depending on what you want to look at..
- USF has its preferred VPN, which is available for Windows, Mac and Linux machines. The instructions for getting this VPN are posted on Information Technology's VPN page: it's a matter of downloading and installing VPN.
- USF uses a 2-Factor Authentication program called Duo - which is required for accessing GEMS, even from an on-campus computer. The idea is that when you log into GEMS, Duo will call you up and ask you to confirm that it's you who is trying to access GEMS (the recommendation is that this be done by phone, but there are other options; see the Duo instructions for possibilities). The first step is to log into Duo itself and give it your phone number. Then, whenever you log into GEMS, it will ask you how to contact you, and you can click the Call Me or Text Me button; then it will call or text with instructions to push a button or enter something, and it will log you in.
Incidentally, in April, Explorer and Chrome could access GEMS without problems, but Firefox had issues. In May, Explorer and Firefox could access GEMS, but Chrome had issues. Last time we checked, Chrome had gotten over its issues, but we haven't checked Explorer or Firefox, so be warned. For more on authentication, copyrights, scams, and similar issues, see the USF Information Technology Data Security Page.