It’s PEN Form Time! Really!!


New PEN form display signage on campus.

You know, when you hear us talking about “PEN Form Extensions,” we are not talking about a super-sized Sharpie! Interesting fact though…Sharpie actually does make a Magnum Permanent Marker.

Do you want your employee to be PAID on the 7/25 pay date?  We know they want to be!

With the end of another fiscal year, on June 30, 2015, we remind you that PEN form extensions for the next fiscal year must be received in HR no later than July 6, 2015 for employees to make the cutoff for the 7/25 payday.  Both HR and your employee(s) greatly appreciate it if you get them to us earlier as there are many to review and process and they are reviewed in the order received. (So no, asking for your PEN forms to be bumped to the front of the queue won’t help, even if the request is accompanied by chocolate, doughnuts, or IOU’s.)


Personalized instructions on PEN form completion.

Please ensure the PEN form is filled out completely before submitting to HR – incomplete PEN forms will slow down processing time and may result in an employee not getting paid on time.

NOTE:  With our name change to Green River College, comes an updated PEN form


Hearing you previously filled out a form incorrectly really does hurt…

To aid in the numerous PEN form extensions you have to complete, below are helpful links and reminders to speed up the process.

For existing employees you can find the information below at N:\human resources\PART-TIME HOURLY INFORMATION. 

Required Fields:

  • Original employment dates
  • SID
  • Position Title
  • Job Class Code
  • Rate of pay
  • Home Dept./Job Dept./Supervisor Codes

So…these are the required fields we previously missed?


Incumbent’s name is only for new hires replacing an existing hourly employee – if the employee you are creating a PEN form is new, put the separating employee’s name as the incumbent.

Ensure you have correctly completed questions 1-4, and that the employee has completed the Employee Certification portion.


Our newest PEN/Zen form masters!


Salary: What’s In a Number?


When looking at a job that is within a career path, many people look to the salary to determine if it is going to be a step in the right direction. Often, as an employee we wonder how does the employer come up with this number?  As an employee, there is so much more that goes into your compensation than just your base salary though. When an employer is considering salary for a position they have to take into consideration not just the fair market value for direct wage and salary payments  but also the long term budget for employer contributions towards benefits and payroll taxes (i.e. Health/life insurance, retirement, Medicare, Social Security and Workers Compensation).

Yet the salary and ensuring that the salary is equitable and consistent within the industry is important. How, exactly, is compensation determined within higher education and more specifically at the state college level? Various industries refer to labor market salary surveys to determine salary for positions. These salary surveys take into consideration a variety of different factors such as:

  • Competencies: What is the level of knowledge, skill and ability needed for the position?
  • Market demand: Demand for certain positions can be high which can affect the salary.
  • Location of Position: What is the cost of living? Is the location in a rural or urban area? Level of Travel?

It is important to use a labor market survey that best fits your organizations structure, industry and size to make accurate wage and salary comparisons. Each year, Green River College participates in an annual administrative salary survey that is published by the State Board of Technical and Community Colleges (SBCTC). The survey is designed to collect salary data on key administrative and professional positions in each Washington State community and technical college as an aid to colleges in setting administrative salaries.

Most position codes and descriptions are identical to those used in the College and University Personnel Association (CUPA) survey and there are also position descriptions used that are unique to our Washington State Community and Technical College System.


Salaries for our classified staff are set by the state Department of Personnel (DOP) and the Washington Federation of State Employees (WFSE).  The DOP provides a list of all classified positions, a job class description and a link to the pay range and step.

Link to the WFSE salary schedule:


Salaries for faculty are determined by a similar scale in that both work/teaching experience and education are reviewed to determine their initial salary placement on the salary schedule which is found in the Green River United Faculty Coalition Agreement:

Exempt Staff

Exempt staffs (including Administrators) are determined based on the specific job description as well as state and regional comparisons. The following is a link to the 2014 administrative salary survey that we participate in each year

W-2 Wage

While these are the places we determine the base wages of employees, there is sometimes additional pay for work done outside of the normal scope of a job.  While the reported wage for a position might be one amount, the wages in the course of the year may be different.  The total salary plus additional monetary compensation for work are called the W-2 wage.  As a state employee, your W-2 wage is subject to public disclosure.  The information for all state employees is available at

As you have read, compensation is definitely more than just a number and how the employer gets to that number for each position is determined by various factors. Hopefully, this post has provided you with some insight and knowledge into how compensation is evaluated for positions within our organization.