Non-base pay incentives for University and Academic Professionals

Non-base pay incentives, such as bonuses or additional leave, offer a flexible set of options to attract, retain and motivate high-performing employees. Each incentive type has its own award threshold guidelines and any exceptions must be approved by the AVP of Human Resources. Managers work with their HR Professionals and finance teams to determine available funding and appropriateness of non-base pay incentive recommendations. Non-base pay incentive guidelines for classified staff can be found on the DHRM website

 

Option

Purpose    

Guidelines     

Recognition awards

Bonus and/or Leave

  • Lump-sum payments intended to recognize employees for exemplary performance, extraordinary diligence, or work above and beyond an employee’s official scope of duties

  • Up to $5,000 or 10% of base pay (whichever is greater) per fiscal year and/or up to 5 days of leave awarded per leave year
  • No more than $5,000 or 10% of base pay (whichever is greater) can be awarded per fiscal year and no more than 5 days of leave can be awarded per leave year (combination of Spot Awards and Recognition awards)
  • Recognition award form on the Inside HR forms page

Spot awards

Bonus and/or Leave

  • A subcategory of Recognition Awards, Spot Awards are a more immediate form of recognition for excellent work on a project, task or activity including outstanding support of day-to-day business activities 

  • Small and moderate in value

  • Up to $1,000 for each occurrence and/or up to 4 hours of leave for each event
  • No more than $5,000 or 10% of base pay (whichever is greater) can be awarded per fiscal year and no more than 5 days of leave can be awarded per leave year (combination of Spot Awards and Recognition awards)
  • Spot award form on the Inside HR forms page

Retention bonus

  • Best utilized proactively, retention bonuses offer another tool to retain top talent in exchange for an agreement to stay employed at VCU in their current role for a specified period of time (typically one year)

  • Offered as a lump sum or a scheduled series of payments, a retention bonus may entice a high-performing employee to stay through a specified period of time due to possessing mission-critical skills, leading a key project or initiative, or to ensure retention of top talent 

  • Up to $5,000 or 10% of base pay (whichever is greater) per fiscal year 

Referral bonus

  • Referral bonus opportunities keep our current employees engaged and invested in helping VCU continue to hire external top talent

  • Departments, divisions, and schools may design their own referral program for vacant positions, to include eligibility and payout criteria, in consultation with their HR Professional

  • Each referral program will outline the referral payout amount, not to exceed $5,000

Sign-on bonus

Bonus and/or Leave

  • A sign-on bonus is another element of a competitive offer for top talent 

  • Sign-on bonuses can be used to help defray relocation costs, to help bridge the gap for first-year pay to a candidate who would be walking away from an upcoming salary increase or bonus at their current employer, or during times when we know that our top choice candidate has multiple offers on the table 

  • Sign-on leave is a flexible option to help entice a candidate to leave their current organization in the rare event that they earn more leave than our UAP plan offers

 

Milestone bonus

  • Used to reward achievement of outlined career progression milestones or project milestones

  • Examples:

    • Acknowledgement of successful completion of a degree or certification

    • Rewarding the successful completion of a major project initiative or completing a major project early and under budget

Up to $5,000 or 10% of base pay (whichever is greater) per fiscal year

Temporary pay bonus

A temporary pay bonus offers a way to recognize employees who take on additional assignments on a temporary basis, in lieu of adding temporary pay to base salary

When temporary pay is paid as a lump sum bonus, benefits are not calculated on the lump sum bonus amount

Merit bonus

A merit bonus may be awarded during the annual merit process in conjunction with merit-based base salary increases

Guidelines for merit bonuses will be determined and communicated during each year’s annual merit process