Cost of Living Adjustment

Tech Tower Cost of Living adjustments image

In April 2022, eligible Georgia Tech employees will begin receiving a $5,000 Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) recently approved by Governor Brian Kemp and state legislators.  

The majority of pay adjustments will be completed in April, but there are many unique situations, such as mid-year hires, job changes, and leave statuses, that will require manual pay adjustments into May.   

Who is eligible?

The $5,000 salary increase is for all active, regular, benefits-eligible faculty and non-academic staff at Georgia Tech. The increase will be prorated based on full-time equivalency (FTE). Employees not receiving benefits, including temporary workers and those working less than 30 hours per week, are not eligible for the increase. There may be exceptions to the eligibility population based on unit structure and funding. 

When will payments be issued?

  • Eligible employees paid biweekly will see the increase and one-time supplemental payment in their April 22 paychecks. 
  • Eligible employees paid monthly will see the increase and one-time supplemental payment in their April 29 paychecks. 

Note: If you believe you are eligible and have not received the payment, please submit a ticket via ServiceNow. Your HR Business Partner is also a great resource. 

How will the increase be distributed?

For eligible employees to receive up to a $5,000 increase — prorated based on FTE — for FY22, a salary adjustment will be awarded prior to June 30, the end of this fiscal year, in the following manner:  

  1. In April, eligible employees will receive a one-time pay supplement of up to $3,750 based on the number of pay periods an individual was employed by the state between July 1, 2021, and April 1, 2022, and FTE.  
  2. The remaining balance, up to $1,250, will be included on the normal payment schedule to finish out the fiscal year. 
  3. The ongoing increase for FY23 will be applied and appropriately distributed across the pay calendar.  

The one-time payment is subject to all applicable FICA taxes, federal income tax, and state income tax.  

Eligibility FAQs

1. Who is eligible for the salary increase?

The $5,000 salary increase is for all active, regular, benefits-eligible faculty and non-academic staff at Georgia Tech, Enterprise Innovation Institute (EII), and Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI). The increase will be prorated based on full-time equivalency (FTE). Employees not receiving benefits, including temporary and those working less than 30 hours, are not eligible for the increase. There may be exceptions to the eligibility population based on unit structure and funding

2. Are students eligible for the increase?   

Temporary workers such as students, rehired retirees, and Tech Temps are not eligible.

3. Are part-time employees eligible? 

Employees working less than 30 hours (less than .75 FTE) are not eligible. If the person is a regular, benefits-eligible employee working 30 or more hours per week, they will receive the increase. Temporary staff and part-time staff working fewer than 30 hours per week are not eligible.

4. Are employees currently on paid leave of absence and short work break eligible? 

Yes, salary rate increases will be processed upon their return to active status.

5. Are employees on limited term hire agreements eligible?  

Yes, provided they are fully benefits-eligible, working 30 hours (.75 FTE) or greater. 

6. Are 9/10 Month Academic Faculty employees eligible for the pay supplement?

Yes, 9/10-month employees are eligible for the pay supplement. If a 9/10-month employee’s employment begins before or during August 2021, they will be eligible for the full supplement payment. If hired after August, the supplement will be prorated, same as all other full-time employees. In addition, a 9/10-month employees will receive the increase to their base salary during the months of April and May.

7. Does a USG employee whose work site is outside of the state of Georgia qualify for the pay supplement? 

Yes, state funds should be utilized for the supplemental payments due to the increased appropriations provided in the Amended FY 2022 budget. Should the amount provided by the state not meet the total cost, institutions have the flexibility to choose the appropriate fund source for the remaining supplement payments, including state funds in your existing budget. 

8. Does an individual who transfers into an eligible position at a USG institution from another state of Georgia agency during the eligibility period qualify for the supplement? 

Individuals employed in an eligible position by another state of Georgia agency who transfer to an eligible position at Georgia Tech on or after July 1, 2021 may qualify for the supplement. The Human Resources department will review and verify the employee’s eligibility. A survey was emailed to everyone who is on record as transferring from a state agency. The following link may be used to validate eligible state agencies: georgia.gov/state-organizations.

Organizations that would not count as state agency employment include local education agencies (i.e., K-12 systems), city government, county government, Georgia Military College, and other private institutions of higher ed. If an employee was continuously employed (without a break in employment), they should receive the full amount.

9. If an employee transfers between USG institutions during the fiscal year, what effective date will be used for the one-time AFY22 supplemental payment?

The USG Service Date will be utilized to determine their proration for the supplemental pay, if needed. 

10. If an employee terminates prior to the payment date, is the employee still eligible for the one-time pay supplement?

The date of termination should be used to determine eligibility. If employees remain in an active payroll status for at least one day during the pay period associated with the payment date, the employee is eligible for the pay supplement. If employees terminate before the pay period begin date, they are NOT eligible. Institutions may not change the separation or retirement date of an employee solely for the purpose of eligibility to receive the pay supplement or increase to base salary. The pay period begin date is 4/1/22 for monthly employees and 4/3/22 for biweekly employees. 

Non-exempt (24B2 Pay Run)

  • Pay Period Begin:4/3/2022
  • Pay Period End: 4/6/2022
  • Check Date: 4/16/2022

Exempt (24M1 Pay Run)

  • Pay Period Begin 4/1/2022
  • Pay Period End 4/30/2022
  • Check Date: 4/29/2022

 

11. Are grant funded employees eligible for the AFY22 pay supplement?

Yes, grant funded employees are eligible for the pay supplement.

12. Are foreign national employees eligible for the AFY22 pay supplement?

Yes, foreign nationals will be eligible for the pay supplement. Institutions should adhere to all immigration reporting rules and requirements for compensation, and should note that for some individuals, compensation cannot be changed without notice.

13. Who do I contact if I think I am eligible but did not receive the one-time supplemental payment or wage update?

If you believe you believe you are eligible and have not received the payment, please let us know by completing this submission form. Your HR Business Partner is also a great resource. 

14. Are postdoctoral fellows eligible for COLA?

Postdoctoral fellows are eligible to receive the COLA, provided they meet the eligibility criteria and pro-ratio rules.   

15. If a new employee is hired May 1, 2022 will the new employee get a $5,000 COLA by July 1?

The COLA is being applied to new hires between now and July 1 and a plan is in place to update accordingly. GTHR will be adjusting the Staff Salary Pay Grade Structure to reflect the COLA. Once the structure has been updated, offers can be extended in accordance to the Institute process and new hires will no longer require adjustments for COLA.

16. How will this work for faculty who have been impacted by compression? We have faculty who are making less than their newly hired counterparts due to the current labor market and they are concerned the $5,000 is going to put them even further behind because the new hires will also get the $5,000.

Compression is not a determining factor in whether the COLA will be applied or not.  Any compression issues will be addressed separately. The Faculty Market Equity Program will resume once COLA has been applied and communications will follow.

17. Are recently reclassified employees eligible for COLA?

Recently reclassified employees will be eligible for the COLA based on eligibility requirements that apply to all employees. An employee who has already received the COLA one-time payment and base wage update will not be eligible for a second COLA increase if they are reclassified into another position or receive offer for another.

18. If an employee moves from an eligible position to an ineligible position (i.e. part-time, temporary) after April 1, do they qualify for the one-time pay supplement?

Yes, as long as the employee met the qualifying criteria and remains actively employed. 

19. With consideration to the USG HRAP salary administration policy, how is the COLA included in calculating salary adjustments that require HRAP exception?
  • From USG policy: Employee compensation adjustments are an institutional decision and should be consistent with the approved institutional compensation plan. However, cumulative fiscal year adjustments greater than or equal to ten percent above the USG’s annual salary and wage guidance require advanced approval by the Chancellor.
  • If COLA was the last pay adjustment added in the fiscal year, the Advanced Salary Incentive HRAP process is not required. If a pay adjustment is applied to an employee after the COLA is received, then the COLA will be included in the cumulative percentage in the fiscal year and the Georgia Tech & USG review and approval processes will be required.
20. Are new hires starting on or after April 1 eligible for the one-time supplemental payment.?

No, The one-time supplemental payment is only for eligible employees that were employed between 07/01 and 04/01 as it is a catch-up payment associated with the COLA program.

 

Timing and Pay FAQs

 

1. How will the increases be applied for the amended fiscal year 2022 (AFY22) which ends on June 30, 2022 and fiscal year FY23? 
  • In April 2022, eligible employees will receive a one-time pay supplement of up to $3,750, which will be prorated based on the number of pay periods the individual was employed in an eligible position with the state between July 1, 2021, and April 1, 2022. 

  • The remaining $1,250 will be included on the normal payment schedule to finish out the fiscal year. 

  • For FY23, salaries for eligible employees will increase by $5,000.

2. When will employees receive the one-time pay supplement? 

The one-time pay supplement will be included in eligible employee paychecks paid on April 22, 2022, for non-exempt employees (paid bi-weekly) and April 29, 2022, for exempt employees (paid monthly). 

3. How will the one-time pay supplement be taxed? 

Payments will be subject to all applicable FICA Taxes, Federal Income Tax, and State Income Tax.  In alignment with the State of Georgia’s approach, the supplemental payment will be taxed at supplemental rates established by Federal and State taxing agencies. These rates include 22% Federal withholding, 6.2% OASDI withholding (social security), 1.45% Medicare withholding, and State withholding. State rates will vary by state.

4. Is the one-time pay supplement “retirement eligible”?

No, the one-time supplement is NOT eligible for retirement benefits. The remaining amount that will be included on the normal payment schedule to finish out the fiscal year is eligible for retirement benefits.

5. How will the salary increase be applied to hourly employees? 
  • Hourly employees will receive the one-time supplemental payment on April 22, 2022.  
  • The ongoing $5,000 cost of living salary increase (hourly rate increase of $2.40385/hour at 1 FTE) will be updated in job data effective April 3, 2022. 
  • The rate for all hourly employees (9,10, or 12 month) will be calculated in the same manner and based on the dollar amount paid for the role per hour.
6. How will the base salary increase for eligible employees be applied going forward effective April 1, 2022?

All regular, benefits-eligible faculty and non-academic staff of the University System of Georgia Board of Regents who are actively employed on April 1, 2022, will be eligible to receive a $5,000 increase to base pay as a Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA). The increase will be prorated based on full-time equivalency (FTE).

7. How will the salary increase be taxed?

Payments will be subject to all applicable FICA Taxes, Federal Income Tax, and State Income Tax. Federal and State Income tax will be withheld at the employee’s normal tax rate. 

8. Is the base salary increase retirement eligible?

Yes, the base pay increase is eligible for retirement benefits.

9. Is an employee eligible for the salary increase if the resulting salary places them over the institutions pay grade maximum for their job classification?

Yes, cost of living adjustments that are approved through the legislative budget process and USG policy may exceed the established range and should be documented by the institution.

10. What earn code will be used to report the supplement payment?

The OSP (One-time Supplement Pay) earn code will be utilized for the payment.

11. Will the supplement payment be paid as separate checks?

No, all payments will be applied to the employee existing April 22 and April 29 paychecks; no separate check indicator will be turned on.

12. Are payments included in Regular Rate of Pay for FLSA overtime purposes?

No, the supplement payment will NOT be included in an employee’s regular rate of pay calculation for overtime purposes.

13. Is the supplement payment subject to garnishment withholding?

Yes, the supplement payment is subject to applicable garnishment withholding requirements.

14. Will the supplement payment be included on employees W-2?

Yes, the supplement payment is considered taxable income and will be included in the appropriate taxable wage boxes on an employee’s W2. However, there is no special reporting requirement for the supplement payment, so it will NOT be a separate line item on the W2.

15. How will the supplement payment be added to employee paychecks?

All USG one-time supplement payment (OSP) earnings will be loaded to employee additional pay panels centrally by the SSC Payroll team.

Biweekly Proration ScheduleCOLA Monthly proration scheduleCOLA 9/10 Month Proration Schedule 

16. Is this a permanent increase or just promised for FY23?

The base wage increase will remain in effect. However, like all wage increases, it is subject to change based on employment conditions.

17. How does the $5,000 increase affect new hires (recent or future)? How does this impact existing offer letters and positions we are currently interviewing for? Will these employees also receive the $5,000 increase in FY23 and prorated amount for FY22? 

Please do not update offer letters or positions for FY22. The COLA will be applied by GTHR and such updates could lead to duplication. We will have more guidance for FY23 very soon.

18. Am I to understand that eligible employees receive $3,750 in April and  $1,250 by the end of the fiscal year? Also, am I to understand that a $5,000 increase will be distributed across FY23 for eligible employees?

 

This is true regarding supplemental pay if they are not subject to proration and active service time in FY22. For FY23, salaries for eligible employees will increase by $5,000. The supplemental pay is prorated based on length of service and FTE. The salary for FY23 is prorated based on FTE (e.g., 35 hours per week vs. 40 hours per week).

19. When will benefits premiums be adjusted based on the salary increase?
  • Employees who are paid monthly will receive the salary increase, benefits increase and premium increase for short-term disability (STD), long-term disability (LTD), and supplemental life insurance (SLF) coverage reflected in the April 30 pay.
  • Employees who are paid on a bi-weekly basis will receive the salary increase effective April 3; however, the corresponding benefit and premium changes to STD, LTD, and SLF coverage will be reflected in the May 6 pay date.
20. How is Summer Pay impacted by the COLA increases?

The $5,000 Salary Increase is only intended to cover the standard contract and not summer earnings.  The system will set the 33 and 1/3 threshold at the increase rate.  Related policy: BOR 8.3.12.3 Summer School Salaries:  Payment of compensation to faculty members for full-time employment during the summer session shall be at a rate not to exceed 33 and 1/3 percent of their regular nine-months compensation for the previous academic year.

21. When will employees hired from April June see the COLA increase reflected in their pay?

This will depend upon the offer in relation to the COLA program. Some offers were initiated before the COLA program and need to be adjusted to reflect the most updated compensation structure. Others anticipated the impact to COLA and it is included in the offer.

22. Will the $5,000 increase be applied to the JCCS? If so, when?
Yes, JCCS will be updated to reflect the new pay scales with COLA increases. This will be completed by the end of the fiscal year.

 

Funding and Budget FAQs

1. What funding source should be utilized for the one-time pay supplement?

The Governor and Legislature have provided state appropriations to fund the one-time pay supplement for Georgia Tech, EII, and GTRI employees. The one-time supplemental payment will be budgeted centrally using state appropriations and will not impact department budgets or actuals, including fringe.

2. What funding source should be utilized for the $5k increase to base pay?

Departments funded via General Operations (GenOps) will receive budget to cover the increase to base pay in the May budget amendment and in FY23. Self-funded departments are responsible for funding the increase to base pay in FY22 and FY23.

3. When will my department receive gen ops budget to cover the increase in base pay?

GenOps funded departments will receive budget for the increase to base pay in the May budget amendment and in FY23.

4. Should the supplement be included for Transparency in Government Act (TiGA) reporting purposes?

Yes, the supplement will be included in TiGA reporting.

5. Will COLA apply to vacant positions?

We are actively monitoring the FY23 budget in the state legislature and will provide an update on vacancies as soon as more budget information becomes available for next fiscal year (which impacts the Institute’s ability to fund vacancies this fiscal year.)

6. Are grants or sponsored awards responsible to fund the FY22 supplemental pay? 

The Governor and Legislature provided state appropriations for the one-time supplemental payment. The payment will be funded centrally with a single work tag using state appropriations meaning the actuals, including the payment and fringe, will not impact department budgets. Grants, sponsored awards, and other types of funding sources will not be impacted by the one-time FY22 supplemental payment.

7. Will positions that are split-funded with general operations receive funding to support the $5k increase to base pay? 

Yes, positions that are split funded with Gen Ops will receive funding in the May budget amendment for FY22. They will receive Gen Ops funds in FY23 at a time to be determined.

8. Are grants or sponsored awards responsible to fund the FY22 supplemental pay? 

The Governor and Legislature provided state appropriations for the one-time supplemental payment. The payment will be funded centrally with a single work tag using state appropriations meaning the actuals, including the payment and fringe, will not impact department budgets. Grants, sponsored awards, and other types of funding sources will not be impacted by the one-time FY22 supplemental payment.

9. What is the current plan to provide the COLA increase to postdocs and research scientists that are supported by current sponsored grants on a fixed budget: will there be state funding to support the increase? 

The funds from the state are calculated to support those positions that are currently funded via general operations. This is similar to how we have received state funding for merit in the past. We realize this is unexpected salary increase process, so the Budget Office is working very closely with the Provost/EVPR Office to identify bridge funding. We are in the very early stages of reviewing the available data to determine a target pool number. When identified, we will work with college/division leadership to determine a request/approval/allocation method.

FAQ Submissions

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