The Chapel Hill Town Council unanimously voted to pass the implementation of the Class & Compensation Study and the refined version of the OneOrange Countywide Racial Equity Framework, at its meeting last Wednesday.
The Town Council approved moving an additional $500,000 from fiscal year 2021's excess fund balance to bring all Town employees to new minimum salaries in order to address the Town of Chapel Hill’s longtime compression issues.
Wage compression is when employees who have held a job longer are paid less than new hires.
The Town initiated the Classification & Compensation Study two years ago and presented the results to the council on Jan. 12, 2022. The Town of Chapel Hill's staff salary ranges were 8 to 9.9 percent below benchmark agencies.
Following the results of the study, the Town will establish new pay grades, placing employees in those grades based on the results of the study.
Town Manager Maurice Jones said that the staff recommends a two-part implementation process. During phase one, the Town will move 277 employees to the new minimum, and during the second phase, they will reduce compression issues by raising the salaries of long-time employees.
“I fully and wholeheartedly support raising the salaries of staff, not only to keep us competitive but also to recognize all their hard work and their professionalism,” Council Member Amy Ryan said.
Council Member Camille Berry said that this is an opportunity for the council to use the funding that they do have, particularly because staff have been working with limited resources due to a hiring freeze that was implemented after the pandemic began.
“We do need to act with what we have, and there is no reason we should not prioritize our staff,” Berry said.