Monetary and non-monetary non-base pay incentives, also referred to as bonuses, may be awarded per fiscal year as follows: up to $5,000 or 10% of base pay (whichever is greater) and up to five days of leave granted per leave year. Sign-on bonuses and contractual bonuses are excluded from the fiscal year bonus thresholds, as are any annual merit bonuses. Wage employees may be awarded up to $5,000 per fiscal year. For purposes of the 2021 merit process, awards cannot exceed 5% of an employee’s salary.
Bonuses are intended to recognize employees for outstanding performance or contributions such as day-to-day support, customer service, or teamwork. Bonuses encourage excellence, create positive morale, and may lead to the retention of top employees. Schools/units should clearly communicate bonus programs/opportunities, and ensure equal opportunity in the design and implementation of bonus programs. Use the Recognition award form to recognize eligible employees.
Spot Awards recognize excellent work on a project, task or activity including outstanding support of day-to-day assigned business activities. They are intended to acknowledge and demonstrate immediate and spontaneous appreciation for the contributions of individuals. Spot awards are small to moderate in value. Examples include, but are not limited to:
Spot Awards can be given in amounts up to $1,000 (University and wage) and/or four hours of recognition leave (University only) for each occurrence. Use the Spot Award form form to start this process.
Because Spot Awards are intended as more immediate forms of recognition, they can be processed each pay period, following the same deadlines as used for PAFs. They require only supervisor and Dean/Department Head approval; HR approval is not required. Spot Award forms can be found by on the forms section of this site.
Other forms of recognition (monetary and non-monetary) not covered by the provisions of these guidelines include, but may not be limited to the following:
The monetary value of these awards, if any, is not included in the 10% of base pay or $5,000 per-fiscal-year monetary award cap, whichever is greater. However, many of these other forms of university recognition will result in taxable income to the employee. Contact the VCU Controller’s Office (828-0388) or Payroll Office (828-0740) about the inclusion or exclusion of any payment or gift as taxable income and the tax withholding implications (approximately 38.4%).
Additional no/low-cost recognition ideas