FY2024 Hiring Pause
Why ISU is Pausing Hiring and Salary Actions?
For the last several years, Idaho State University has been operating with a structural budget deficit. This means we have been spending more than we are bringing in and have been filling the gap with our cash reserves. This is a challenge we have been tackling together as we work to implement strategies and practices grounded in solid financial principles that will reduce the deficit over time. Our unified efforts have resulted in positive changes to our enrollment, increased philanthropy, expanded sponsorship, and strategic efficiency measures that optimize our resources. In order to truly and accurately understand the scope of the deficit, ISU had to upgrade our financial reporting structures over time as well.
To address our structural deficit, the Budget Advisory Group is leading a multi-year Budget Optimization Initiative, using the same agile and iterative, collaborative, and principle-driven approach used to develop ISU’s new budget model. This is a complex endeavor that requires data, analysis, and extensive involvement with all units and stakeholders as we garner the collective best thinking of the campus community in maximizing revenues and strategically reigning in expenses.
As a preventative measure that gives us time to work through this process and increased flexibility and responsiveness for the future, the university is implementing a pause on hiring and salary actions for FY2024. This pause in hiring and salary actions will help us ensure we have ongoing resources available to support new hires and other personnel actions and also create temporary salary savings that will be used to reduce the drawdown of our central reserves.
Effective July 26, 2023, and continuing throughout FY2024, all benefitted personnel actions in all funds, must be reviewed and approved by Admin Council. This includes:
- posting of vacant positions for benefitted faculty or staff
- new position requests
- emergency hires
- search waivers
- reclassifications for Classified staff (PDQs)
- salary adjustment requests (SARs) for ongoing base salary increases or one-time bonuses
Vice Presidents will only bring forward personnel actions for Admin Council consideration that must be implemented in the current fiscal year. Criteria that will be considered and evaluated in the decision-making process include enrollment, activity and workload levels, impact on revenue, compliance, grants, and external obligations. Admin Council will review requests in accordance with their regular biweekly meeting schedule or more frequently if needed for emergency requests. Departments, Deans, and Directors should consider these decision-making criteria and review the timeline when coordinating with their respective Vice Presidents for requests.
The hiring pause does not impact hiring or personnel actions for adjuncts, temporary employees, graduate assistants, student employees or CPIs, and residents. Though personnel actions are not paused for these employee groups, departments should thoughtfully review and consider their budget and the needs of their units before proceeding with any personnel actions.
Hiring actions for non-benefit eligible employees (adjuncts, temporary employees, graduate assistants, student employees, CPIs, or Residents):
- Departments should carefully review and consider budgets and the needs of their units before proceeding with personnel actions for these employees
- There is no need for additional Admin Council review/approval to proceed with hiring for these categories of employees
Hiring and salary actions for benefit-eligible faculty and staff require Admin Council review and approval. Units wishing to propose hiring or salary actions for benefitted faculty or staff positions should follow standard procedures for preparing and submitting paperwork for approval. These include:
- job posting requests
- new position request form
- position description questionnaires (PDQs)
- salary adjustment requests (SARs)
- search waivers
- emergency hire requests
Per standard workflow procedures, VP Offices and Human Resources will work collaboratively to ensure all actions submitted for consideration are reviewed, and decisions are ultimately communicated back to the requesting department. Requests that Admin Council approves will be processed by Human Resources through standard workflow procedures. Admin Council meets regularly every other week, so please plan accordingly to meet your necessary timelines. Units are encouraged to connect with their responsible Vice President to provide any necessary context regarding the request or timelines.
The FY2024 (temporary) budget for vacant positions in central funds will be moved into a new Salary Savings Reserve Fund. Temporary salary savings in local and auxiliary funds will be transferred to the Salary Savings Reserve Fund through a journal voucher.
If a vacant position is approved to be filled, the Budget Office will transfer the budget back to the unit to cover FY2024 position expenditures.
The Salary Savings Reserve Fund will track PCN, budget, and unit. It will be used to offset the FY2024 deficit and reduce the projected drawdown of central reserves, therefore providing the necessary time to work through budget optimization initiative projects. When ISU achieves an ongoing central university operating surplus and sufficient reserve thresholds, the Salary Savings Reserve Fund will be transitioned into a Strategic Investment Fund. Unit contributions to the fund will be one of the criteria used in providing awards from the fund.
The Budget Office will work individually with units that have questions and/or troubleshoot the impacts of the hiring pause.
Q: What if I have a position that has come vacant that must be filled?
A: Connect with your Dean/Director and Vice President to discuss and provide context, data, and rationale for your request. If your Dean/Director and VP are in support of the request moving forward, please submit your job posting request to Human Resources via the Talent Management System, or submit your emergency hire request or search waiver per standard procedures. Your Vice President can bring essential hires and other personnel actions to Admin Council for consideration and approval. If Admin Council approves, HR will process your job posting request and post your position.
Q: What if I want to reclassify a classified staff position?
A: As a first step, please fully complete your position description questionnaire (PDQ) for the related position and review it with your Dean/Director and VP. If your Dean/Director and VP are in support of the request moving forward, please then submit your completed PDQ to your UBO and Vice President as you typically would. Vice Presidents can bring requests for reclassification to Admin Council for consideration and approval. If Admin Council approves, the PDQ will move forward for HR review, per standard review procedures.
Q: What if I want to increase an employee’s base salary, award a one-time bonus, or reclassify a faculty or non-classified staff position?
A: As a first step, please fully complete your salary adjustment request (SAR) for the related position and review it with your Dean/Director and VP. If your Dean/Director and VP are in support of the request moving forward, please then submit your completed SAR to your UBO and Vice President as you typically would. Vice Presidents can bring requests for salary adjustments or reclassifications to Admin Council for consideration and approval. If Admin Council approves, the SAR will move forward for HR review, per standard review procedures.
Q: How do I hire an adjunct, temporary employee, graduate assistant, resident, student employee, or CPI?
A: Admin Council review/approval is not needed for hiring or personnel actions for adjuncts, temporary employees, graduate assistants, residents, student employees, or CPIs. Though personnel actions are not paused for these employee groups, departments should thoughtfully review and consider their budget and the needs of their units before proceeding with any personnel actions.
Q: Why does this apply to local and auxiliary funds? We operate on a profit-and-loss basis.
A: We are ONE university with a shared central deficit. All units need to participate as we work together to reach a successful, long-term solution for the deficit.
Q: Are benefited positions that are fully funded by grants or special appropriated dollars impacted?
A: Yes. Positions that are fully funded by grants or special appropriated dollars are included in this pause and need VP-level review and approval to proceed. However, due to the nature of these positions and special funding arrangements, expedited processes are in place for these types of positions to ensure time-sensitive review and response.
Q: What do I do if I have an emergency situation and cannot wait for Admin Council approval?
A: In situations where emergency review may be needed, please work with your leadership chain and coordinate with your respective VP to request expedited review.
Q: What if we planned on using salary savings to cover the new Administrative Recovery fee?
A: All units have taken measures to find permanent budget offsets for the Administrative Recovery fee. You are encouraged to continue finding permanent offsets so you don’t rely on one-time salary savings. In the interim, you will need to review all discretionary expenditures for FY2024.
Q: Does this mean we will permanently lose vacant lines in FY2024?
A: No, the PCN and permanent budget will remain with your unit. It is possible that lines may be closed or reallocated in the future, however, based on recommendations that emerge through the Budget Optimization Initiative.
Q: What if we reallocated budget from a vacant position that we did not plan on filling this year during our planning process?
A: Only positions with current-year budgets are impacted by the pause. Reallocated position budgets will not be impacted.
Q: What if we truly need access to some of our salary savings to cover essential operating or other expenditures in FY2024?