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CHAPEL HILL — UNC System schools now have two new tools to help recruit and keep chancellors and other university employees.

The UNC Board of Governors on Friday approved a new financial incentive program that will allow high-performing chancellors to receive bonuses of up to 20 percent of their base annual salary. The board also voted to give four to eight weeks of parental leave to all benefit-eligible UNC employees.

The board's committee on personnel and tenure had recommended both measures to the full board. The committee also asked the board to raise the salary ranges for chancellors throughout the system, in keeping with market trends.

Matthew Brody, the university system's senior vice president for human resources, told a committee Thursday that other university systems have begun offering both, leaving UNC System schools at a competitive disadvantage.

Chancellors at North Carolina's 16 public universities have said private universities in the state and other systems outside the state are constantly trying to lure away skilled employees.

While additional details would have to be worked out, the chancellors' incentive program would give the Board of Governors and the UNC System president the discretion to give bonuses to chancellors based on their meeting a set of goals.

Interim President Bill Roper said that to get the full 20 percent, the chancellors would have to perform well not only for their own universities but for the system as a whole.

The main source of chancellors' pay is their base salary, though some get additional retirement benefits. University chancellor salaries ranged from $291,305 per year at Winston-Salem State University to $664,387 at N.C. State University in July 2018, according to documents provided for Thursday's meeting.

The parental leave benefit would have a much more widespread effect, as the UNC System has about 30,000 employees.

The proposal would give four weeks of fully paid leave to parents who bring a new child into the family by adoption or other non-birth means, and eight weeks in the event of a birth. It's similar to the benefit granted to employees of cabinet-level state agencies under Gov. Roy Cooper's Executive Order 95, signed in May. That order does not apply to the university system.

Brody said the benefit would cost the university system about $4.26 million a year, mostly to pay for overtime and temporary employees to cover for those who are home with a child.

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