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Salary Adjustments

While RISD determines and assigns salaries for every position based on the position description, an employee’s salary may change throughout the course of employment at RISD as a result of one or a combination of the reasons listed below. Each year, the Board of Trustees reviews and approves RISD’s operating budget, which includes the total salary increase pool. We use this pool for increases such as cyclical base salary increases, market adjustments, promotions, general increases and/or other organizational changes.

Increases and Other Forms of Compensation

Cyclical Salary Increases

RISD’s 2023-2024 budget includes a 2.5% salary increase pool for eligible non-bargaining unit staff in good standing*in accordance with the table below.

Non-Bargaining Unit Staff* Hired Between:Proration %Increase % Based on 2.5% Pool & Date of Hire
July 1 and December 31Not Applicable – No Proration2.5%
January 1 and March 3150%1.25%
April 1 and June 300%0%

*Non-bargaining unit staff must be in good standing to be eligible for a salary increase. To be in good standing, a non-bargaining unit staff member may not currently be or have been on a performance improvement plan or received any form of disciplinary action (whether verbal or written warning or suspension) in the six-month period prior to the expected increase, (meaning the period of January 1, 2023–June 30, 2023). Non-bargaining unit staff who are on a performance improvement plan (or who have received disciplinary action) in the January 1, 2023–June 30, 2023 time period who then improve and sustain their performance may be eligible for an increase effective October 1, 2023, at the sole discretion of their manager and senior leader. However, the increase will not be retroactive to July 1, 2023.

Market Adjustment

Commonly referred to as an “equity adjustment.” Market adjustments may be requested when a salary grade is correct, but the salary is low compared to the external marketplace and /or to others, usually in the same grade and with similar credentials, who have comparable responsibilities, experience, and skills.


Salary increases may be granted when an employee moves to a position in a higher grade.  When determining the amount of the promotional increase, several factors are considered, including, the employee’s relevant skills and experience, internal and external equity considerations, and departmental budget will be considered when determining the amount of the promotional increase.


A sum of money granted on a short-term basis. A stipend may be used to recognize and reward completion of tasks/duties/responsibilities that are short term in nature (expected to continue for at least six consecutive weeks), fall outside of normal scope of the position, and require a higher level of knowledge, skill, or experience to complete.  Normally, a stipend should not exceed 10% of an incumbent’s current base salary/rate.  In addition, a stipend should be assigned an end date or re-evaluation date.

Non-exempt employees who receive a stipend will receive it in the form of an hourly rate.  For example, non-exempt employee “A” normally earns $15/hour.  Employee A has taken on additional duties which are outside of the scope of the normal assigned position/grade and which require an advanced level of skill/experience beyond the assigned position/grade while another employee is out on an extended three-month leave of absence. The additional duties, as priced to market, are $1/ hour more than employee A’s current rate.  Therefore, employee A would earn $16/hour for hours worked performing those additional duties during the stipend period.


A one-time, lump sum of money, typically given for exemplary performance.  A bonus is not added to, and does not, compound annual salary. While bonus pools are not guaranteed, if and when they are available, the Cabinet is encouraged to utilize them to recognize accomplishments that are above and beyond day-to-day responsibilities, require extraordinary efforts beyond high performance of regular job duties, and those that have a positive impact on our institution.

General Increase

Commonly referred to as an “across the board increase.” General increases are typically used for RISD’s unionized positions*where all employees in the union are given the same increase amount.  General increases are not typically based on performance or tenure, but rather, on regular active employment status.  

Need more information? We are here to help. Please direct your questions to Human Resources at 401 454-6606 or humres@risd.edu.

*Please note that while unionized employees may be the beneficiaries of various salary adjustments, any salary change or adjustment must be negotiated with and agreed to by both the union and the college in order for them to take effect.