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Y-Rate definition, causes, and considerations

The term "Y-rate" refers to an agency paying an employee above the maximum of the salary range assigned to the position's class. Although this term is no longer used in the civil service rules the practice is allowed under certain circumstances. WAC 357-28-040 which applies to all non-represented classified employees states the following:

WAC 357-28-040

Can an employee's base salary be set above the maximum of the salary range?

An employee's base salary may be set above the maximum of the salary range assigned to the position's class when allowed under any provisions of Title 357 WAC or when approved by the director.

For represented employees Y-rating is addressed in various articles in the collective bargaining agreements.


Reasons why an agency may/must consider allowing an employee's salary to be Y-rated:

  • When a position is reallocated to a class with a lower salary range and the employee chooses to remain in the reallocated position, a Y-rate is discretionary for non-represented employees. In this scenario a Y-rate is required for represented employees when an employee's salary at time of reallocation exceeds the maximum for the new salary range.
  • When an employee's exempt position is converted to classified, a Y-rate is required if the employee's salary at time of conversion exceeds the maximum of the new salary range.


When consulting with managers who are planning changes to work assignments that may result in reallocations, consider posing the following questions:

  • Will restructuring work result in a position being reallocated to a lower class? If so, have you considered other options for meeting your business needs?
  • If the result is a Y-rate, have you considered the impact of the Y-rate on the employee and work group?  For example:
    • The Y-rate does not follow the employee if they move to a different position. How will this affect their future employment opportunities?
    • Other employees in the workgroup performing similar work for different pay may feel it is inequitable.
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