Performance Bonuses


A letter on department letterhead must be signed by the person authorizing the bonus and routed to payroll for processing. The letter needs to include: 1) who is to be paid, 2) the amount to be paid, 3) the justification/explanation for the bonus, and 4) the fund/org/account number to be charged for the bonus.


Eligible Employees: Non-represented exempt and nonexempt regular or term employees are eligible to participate in this program, as are senior administrators. Student employees are eligible for cash bonuses but are not eligible for paid time off.

Ineligible Employees: Employees in a bargaining unit are not eligible for recognition under this policy, but may be eligible for recognition as allowed under a governing collective bargaining agreement. Temporary employees and faculty are not eligible.

Formal Recognition: A formal recognition award may take the form of cash bonuses or leave at two levels. The first is up to 3 days paid leave or up to $500. The second is up to $2,500 or up to 5 days of leave with pay. The program may be ad hoc, or may take the form of a higher-profile institutional, organizational, or department-wide program that occurs on a regularly scheduled basis characterized by an event to acknowledge significant contributions of an individual employee or team. Formal recognition events might include employee of the month, employee of the year, or other similar formal programs. Events leading to formal recognition may be the same but the higher award should be for a sustained level of performance or work at a higher level of performance.


Recognition awards are subject to federal income tax withholdings and other withholdings as required by law. Recipients need to be aware of their tax obligations and University Regulation regarding gifts and awards. ​​​​​​


  • Awards of recognition are discretionary to the University.
  • Supervisors should identify and convey to employees the behaviors and accomplishments that will be rewarded, recognizing that incentives are a powerful motivator if expectations are clearly set out, but are a powerful de-motivator if expectations are not transparent or not achievable. The annual performance review process is an ideal opportunity to do this. Human Resource consultants can assist supervisors in formulating recognition standards for their departments.
  • If a supervisor desires to give an eligible employee a recognition award, the supervisor must complete and sign an award form. Supervisors are responsible for ensuring that the level of recognition requested and awarded corresponds to the level of accomplishment and to administer recognition in a consistent manner.
  • Department HR Coordinators (HRCs) will be knowledgeable about this policy and the required forms and can assist employees with proper timesheet coding and/or job form completion where required.
  • Supervisors provide a copy of the approved award form to HR. If the bonus is provided as leave, the employee will use earnings code (EC) 460 when they want to use the leave and the department tracks the usage. The leave award can be used immediately after approval.  
  • Human Resources will process payment of recognition awards and withholdings consistent with state and federal laws. Human Resources will enter data and track or audit recognition awards to provide reports on utilization of this Employee Recognition Policy.


  • Awards for senior administrators must be approved by the Chancellor and the President.
  • Extended campus directors may approve awards up to $500 or three days of paid leave.
  • All other approval is delegated to the Executive Cabinet member overseeing the unit (Chancellor, Vice Chancellor or Provost).


Administrators must be cognizant of budgetary constraints. Administrators are responsible for identifying funding source. Inconsistent application of this policy could bring claims of favoritism and/or discrimination toward the supervisor, which will be investigated by Human Resources.

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Article ID: 911
Wed 6/15/22 8:46 AM
Fri 1/26/24 10:07 AM