From WILL - News Local/State -

U Of I To Provide Merit-Based Raises In 2014

The University of Illinois has committed to merit-based raises to its employees for a third straight year. 

President Robert Easter announced the 2.5 percent raises in a mass e-mail Monday, effective with the new appointment year in August.

"Because the salary program will determine raises based on merit based on merit and performance, a significant range of increases is expected within units," said Easter.

U of I spokesman Tom Hardy said the salary program was developed with the knowledge that Illinois’ income tax hike might not be extended by legislators.

“If there are any kinds of rescissions because of a failure to extend the income tax, then we’re going to have to deal with that in the middle of the year.," he said.  "All units and colleges and departments and campuses have been directed to include some flexibility in contingencies in their budgets.”

Hardy said the raises will cost the U of I roughly $27.6 million   The appropriation the U of I received from the state for the next fiscal year is the same as the current one, $663-million.

The three years of merit-based raises at the university follow two years of salary freezes.

Hardy said he's not aware what other Big Ten schools are offering in terms of raises, but said the U of I is 'well below' its Big Ten and national peer institutions in terms of salary.

"The expectation is that a modest program like this will hopefully allow us to stay relatively even, or level, from where we're at now.," Hardy said.