708: Bonuses, Special Recognition Awards and Other Salary Adjustments

Definitions, Philosophy and Procedures


Bonus funds, other than for bonuses given out in lieu of merit pursuant to Policy 707, will be determined annually as part of the Financial Plan Development process. Bonus funds will be distributed based on individualized Bonus Plans developed by each campus. These plans must be approved by Finance, the Department of Human Resources, University Counsel, and IDEAA to ensure they comply with applicable employment laws, reflect the University’s principles of fairness and equity, and are within financial limits approved in the Financial Plan. 

Short-Term Salary Adjustments

  • Additional Pay for Additional Work: A temporary salary increase may be awarded for short-term work outside the scope of a position’s normal responsibilities resulting from a vacancy or special project within the position’s home department, or for an outside business unit. The work must be well defined and have measurable metrics for success. The temporary salary increase cannot exceed 10% of base pay, and may not be retroactively applied without the prior VP-level and Human Resources Department approval. The work assignment should not be less than one month in duration and should not to exceed 6 months. Non-exempt employees must be paid for all hours worked and cannot receive a lump sum for the additional duties. Additional pay in such cases must be in the form of a temporary increase to the employee’s hourly wage which must be processed prior to the completion of the additional work.
  • Acting Pay: A temporary salary increase may be awarded in the event an employee assumes the responsibilities of a vacant position in a higher salary grade. Salary adjustments must exceed the minimum salary of the salary grade of the vacant position and may not exceed 20% of the employee’s current base pay without prior VP-level approval. Acting pay should not to exceed 12 months in duration, and the employee must meet the minimum requirements for the vacant position.

Salary Adjustments

Salary increases of up to 10% of an employee’s current base pay (not to exceed salary grade maximum) may be granted to an employee whose position has not been reclassified.

Justifications for such increases include equity; acquisition of new skills, knowledge or responsibilities; or employee retention.  The department must have the budget to fund the salary adjustment, and the employee must have a minimum of one year of service in the position. Employees may not receive more than one salary adjustment in a position in a 12- month period and must have received an overall performance evaluation of at least “Successful” on their current Annual Performance Evaluation. 

  • Equity: Salary adjustments resulting from an employee’s salary being significantly below the salary of similar positions within the employee’s division.
  • New Skills, Knowledge or Responsibilities: Salary adjustments resulting from an employee’s successful demonstration of sustained growth in his/her ability to contribute to the division’s goals.
  • Retention: Salary adjustments resulting from an extreme risk of losing an employee, and are necessary to avoid the extraordinary hardship associated with recruiting a replacement.  Salary increases for retention may exceed 10% of an employee’s current base pay where there exists a competing offer and Human Resources Department and VP-level- approval.


The Department of Human Resources will ensure the proper administration of the Bonuses, Special Recognition Awards and Other Salary Adjustments policy.


Contact the appropriate HR Business Partner if you have questions or if you would like more information about this policy.