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  • AASHE-STARS

The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance.

Overall Rating Expired
Overall Score Expired
Liaison Alistair Hall
Submission Date July 22, 2014
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Vassar College
PA-9: Employee Compensation

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete Expired Ruth Spencer
Associate Vice President for Human Resources
Human Resources

Criteria

Part 1 

Institution’s employees and/or the employees of its on-site contractors are covered by sustainable compensation standards, guidelines, or policies and/or collective bargaining agreements. 

A sustainable compensation (or “living wage”) standard, guideline or policy is one that addresses wages and benefits in terms of the ability of employees to meet basic needs. For example, a sustainable compensation policy may index hourly wages to a poverty guideline or to local cost-of-living indicators. A labor market survey, salary survey or similar assessment may be used in conjunction with a basic needs/cost-of-living approach, but is not sufficient on its own to count as a sustainable compensation policy. 

Part 2 

Institution’s employees and/or the employees of its on-site contractors receive sustainable compensation

To earn points for Part 2 of this credit, an institution must assess employee compensation against one or more of the following: 

  1. A sustainable compensation standard developed or adopted by a committee with multi-stakeholder representation (i.e. its membership includes faculty, staff, and students and may include Human Resources administrators or other parties). The standard need not be formally adopted by the institution. 
  2. A sustainable compensation standard that is in use in the institution’s locality. The standard may be formal (e.g. a “living wage” ordinance covering public employees) or informal (e.g. a standard adopted by a local, regional or national campaign). 
  3. An appropriate poverty guideline, threshold or low-income cut-off for a family of four. 

For institutions that elect to assess compensation against a poverty guideline, threshold or low-income cut-off, sustainable compensation is defined as wages equivalent to 120 percent of the poverty guideline for a family of four. An institution may offset up to 20 percent of the wage criteria with employer-paid benefits that address basic needs (e.g. healthcare and retirement contributions). 

Both parts of this credit are based on the total number of employees working on campus as part of regular and ongoing campus operations, which includes: 

  • Staff and faculty, i.e. all regular full-time, regular part-time and temporary (or non-regular) employees, including adjunct faculty and graduate student employees (e.g. teaching and research assistants). Institutions may choose to include or omit undergraduate student workers. 
  • Employees of contractors that work on-site as part of regular and ongoing campus operations. Such contractors may include, but are not limited to, providers of dining/catering, cleaning/janitorial, maintenance, groundskeeping, transportation, and retail services. 

Construction and demolition crews and other temporary contracted employees may be excluded.  

 


Applicability

This credit applies to all institutions. 


Scoring

Part 1

An institution earns the maximum of 1.5 points available for Part 1 of this credit when 100 percent of its employees and the employees of any on-site contractors are covered by sustainable compensation standards, guidelines, or policies and/or collective bargaining agreements. Incremental points are available based on the percentage of employees covered. For example, an institution for which 50 percent of campus workers are covered by collective bargaining agreements would earn 0.75 points (half of the points available for Part 1 of this credit). 

Part 2 

An institution earns the maximum of 1.5 points available for Part 2 of this credit when 100 percent of its employees and the employees of any on-site contractors earn sustainable compensation. Incremental points are available based on the percentage of employees that earn sustainable compensation as defined in one or more of the ways outlined above. For example, an institution for which 50 percent of campus workers earn wages equal to or greater than 120 percent of the poverty guideline for a family of four would earn 0.75 points (half of the points available for Part 2 of this credit). 

See scoring tables and examples in the STARS Technical Manual.


Measurement

Timeframe

Report on current compensation status and offerings, for example at a single representative point during the performance year that aligns with other institutional commitments. When using a representative point, institutions should strive to ensure that it recognizes seasonal and other variations that influence employment. 

Sampling and Data Standards

Institutions unable to confirm that a contractor meets the criteria for this credit should include the contractor’s employees in the count of employees working on campus and exclude the contractor’s employees from the count of employees that are covered by sustainable compensation standards or collective bargaining agreements and the count of employees that receive sustainable compensation. 

Institutions may use their own established definitions of each job type referenced. 

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.