7.1 Salary Administration Program

This policy was last updated December 20, 2023. See the update history page for more information.

The goal of the Institute's salary administration program is to provide an equitable and systematic means of compensating its various categories of employees in relation to their assigned duties and responsibilities and, as much as possible, recognize differences in individual performance levels. Further, it is the Institute's policy that its salary administration practices and compensation levels be competitive with those in like organizations for comparable job categories.

For Administrative, SRS Administrative, and Support staff, the pay structure consists of sixteen pay ranges (1-16). Each year, Compensation reviews the pay structure to ensure it remains competitive with the market. See the Human Resources web page on Pay Structure for more detailed information on the Salary Administration Program.

7.1.1 Administrative Staff

Administrative Staff appointments cover individuals with professional or administrative responsibilities in such areas as the Institute's academic departments or central functions such as financial and human resources administration, the library system, medical, and others. See Policies & Procedures Section 6.1, Administrative Staff Appointments.

7.1.2 Sponsored Research Staff

The Sponsored Research Staff appointment structure provides a hierarchy of professional research staff positions. The structure is comprised of four categories of appointments as follows:

  1. Senior Research Scientist/Senior Research Engineer/Senior Research Associate
  2. Principal Research Scientist/Principal Research Engineer/Principal Research Associate
  3. Research Scientist/Research Engineer/Research Associate
  4. Research Specialist/Technical Associate II/Technical Associate I

Technical staff members who are not appointed to one of the above categories hold appointments titled Sponsored Research Technical Staff. The above categories should not be used for unsalaried research staff appointments; for such situations, appointments such as Visiting Engineer/Scientist/Scholar, Lecturer, or Research Affiliate are considered more appropriate.

Persons appointed to research administrative positions (i.e., administrative functions in support of research or in a research organization) are recognized by organizational titles (Assistant Director, Directors of Administration and Finance, etc.) or by functional titles (Fiscal Officer, etc.). 

A detailed description of each of the research staff categories, including information concerning affirmative action serious search, periodic review, numeric limitations, consulting privileges, and benefits can be found in Section 5 of Policies & Procedures.

7.1.3 Payment of Administrative and Sponsored Research Staffs on a Salary Basis

All full-time members of MIT's Administrative and Sponsored Research staffs qualify for exemption from the overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"). See the Human Resources web page on Exempt vs. Non-exempt Jobs for more information on the FLSA.

Some part-time Administrative and Sponsored Research employees are not exempt under the FLSA because their salaries are below the minimum salary threshold for exempt status. MIT treats those employees as "salaried non-exempt" staff. Like all other salaried employees, they are paid the same salary whether they work more or fewer than their normal hours in a week. There are two exceptions: (1) they are eligible for overtime payment for each hour worked in excess of 40 hours in a workweek; and (2) they must be paid at least the minimum wage for all hours worked in a workweek. See the Exempt vs. Non-exempt web page mentioned above.

MIT compensates its Administrative and Sponsored Research employees on a salary basis at semimonthly intervals without deductions for quality or quantity of work, except as permitted under the FLSA. If an Administrative or Sponsored Research employee believes that an improper salary deduction has been made, the employee should immediately inform their direct supervisor and Human Resources Officer. Reports of possible improper deductions will be promptly investigated and employees will be reimbursed for deductions found to be improper.

7.1.4 Support Staff

Support staff perform diverse duties, including administrative, technical, and production duties, using knowledge and skills in support of the Institute’s daily operations. See Policies & Procedures Section 6.2, Support Staff Appointments. Generic job descriptions exist for all support staff roles. These generic job descriptions provide the principal duties and responsibilities as well as minimum educational and experience levels. The generic descriptions are used as common reference points to ensure that consistent and fair salary determinations are made for specific Support Staff jobs at the Institute.

7.1.5 Determination of Individual Salaries

The Compensation office of Human Resources works with departments, labs, centers, and institutes to establish starting salaries for newly hired staff. An individual's starting salary will be determined within a given salary range for the position based on internal and external factors, such as the individual’s experience, training, and special qualifications, internal equity, and overall labor market considerations. See Pay Guidelines for more detail.

An individual's subsequent salary growth will be directly related to the quality of that individual's performance and overall contribution to the Institute, as well as any market adjustments. (See Section 7.2, Annual Performance Review, and Section 3.2, Performance Feedback, Performance Reviews, and Corrective Action, as well as the Pay Guidelines. No person will be paid below the range minimum that is currently in effect for their position.

7.1.6 Unionized Service Staff Compensation Administration

The Institute's Service Staff positions are covered by collective bargaining agreements and are subject to the specific posting and bidding procedures of those agreements. See Policies & Procedures Section 6.3, Service Staff Appointments. Departments should contact their Human Resources Officers and/or the Labor Relations staff in Human Resources for information regarding wage and salary policy and procedures for Service Staff.