2012 Bonus: Frequently Asked Questions

In November, 2012, all eligible University employees will receive a bonus equaling three percent of their annual salary. The bonus applies to salaried (not wage or temp) full-time and part-time Academic Division employees, including University and Classified Staff, Administrative and Professional and Teaching and Research Faculty, and Professional Research Staff. To be eligible, employees must have been hired on or before April 1, 2012, have a performance evaluation on file as outlined in the FAQs below, and have no disciplinary actions on file. Those on the biweekly payroll will receive the bonus on Nov. 23, and those on the monthly payroll on Nov. 30. Also, because the bonus will come at the same time as a regular paycheck, the bonus will be taxed according to your personal withholding status. Below are answers to commonly asked questions, divided by employee type.

Teaching & Research Faculty and Professional Research Staff

Q. Who is eligible for the bonus?

A. All full-time and part-time salaried faculty and PRS hired on or before April 1, 2012, and remaining employed through Nov. 24, 2012, who have a performance review on file as of Sept. 30, 2012, and no active written notices on file as of Nov. 18, 2012. Part-time, salaried employees will receive a pro-rated bonus.

Q. Who is not eligible for the bonus?

A. Employees hired after April 1, 2012 are not eligible. Temporary, wage and student workers are not eligible, including GRAs and GTAs. In addition, individuals without performance reviews on file as of Sept. 30 and those with active written notices (official discipline) as of Nov. 18 will not receive the bonus.

Q. Which salary amount is the bonus based on?

A. The faculty member’s base salary. That is, the salary creditable for all retirement plans: VRS as well as the ORP plans offered by Fidelity, TIAA-CREF, etc.

Q. What about “acting” or temporary pay?

A. The bonus will be calculated on the base salary exclusive of “acting” differential.

Q. What date is the salary based on? What if there is a salary change during the process?

A. The bonus will be paid based on the salary as of Nov. 24, 2012. Changes to salaries effective Oct. 25, 2012 through Nov. 24, 2012 will require an additional bonus payment that will be processed in the next pay period.

Q. Will faculty who were recently given base salary increases also receive the bonus payment?

A. Yes. All salaried employees will receive the bonus.

Q. Can the 3% bonus for faculty be supplemented from other funds, or reduced if a department doesn’t have enough funding?

A. No. This is an across the board bonus and cannot be supplemented or reduced.

Q. Can a base salary increase be made instead of a bonus payment?

A. No. Base salary increases are unrelated to, and must be processed outside of, the bonus cycle.

Q. How will the bonus be paid out to faculty on leave with partial pay or leave without pay?

A. Faculty on leave will receive the bonus either in November (through approval in Lead@) or when they return from leave, as determined by each school. Schools will need to make sure the bonus amount paid is 3% of the faculty member’s full rate of pay.

Q. Can schools/units prorate individual amounts?

A. No. All employees will receive the 3% bonus based on their annual salary as of Nov. 24, 2012.

Q. How will bonuses be funded?

A. Bonuses paid from centrally funded awards will be a shared responsibility of about two-thirds (2/3) from a central allocation and the remaining one-third (1/3) from the unit’s one-time resources. As usual, non-centrally-funded awards will be 100% responsible for the one-time cost.

Q. What about new faculty (less than 12 month) or those who had prior or summer wage assignments?

A. The faculty member’s salary hire date governs their eligibility. Faculty with hire dates in their salaried position on or before April 1, 2012, will receive the bonus. Faculty members hired in their salaried position after that date are not eligible for the bonus.

Q. Can a faculty member use the bonus as operating funds instead of a bonus payment?

A. No. However, should they choose to do so, they are able to gift the funds back to their department. Faculty should be advised that such gifts cannot be considered a charitable contribution if it provides him or her with a benefit. Any funds donated must be placed under the control of the chair and cannot be added to the faculty member’s lab or discretionary account.

Q. Can employees defer their bonus compensation to their tax-deferred savings plan?

A. Yes. Employees can defer compensation by filing the appropriate deduction forms with UHR benefits.

Q. What fringe rate will apply to the bonus?

A. The wage rate (currently 5.5%), since we only need to cover the employer portion of Social Security on the amount of this payment.

Q. What withholding or tax rate will apply to the bonus?

A. Analysis indicates that typically, lower paid employees benefit by having bonus payments included and taxed with regular pay, and higher paid employees benefit from separate checks taxed at a flat rate. To accommodate those who need it the most, the bonus payment will be included and taxed with regular pay.

University Staff, Classified Staff, and Administrative & Professional Faculty

Q. Who is eligible for the bonus?

A. All full-time and part-time salaried staff and A&P faculty hired on or before April 1, 2012, and remaining employed through November 24, 2012, who have a performance review on file as of Sept. 30, 2012, and have no active written notices on file as of Nov. 18, 2012. Performance must be a 2, 3, 4, or 5 rating in Lead@ OR a satisfactory review as per the current practice of the school or unit (A&P Faculty only). Part-time, salaried employees will receive a pro-rated bonus.

Q. Who is not eligible for the bonus?

A. Employees hired after April 1, 2012 are not eligible. Temporary, wage and student workers are not eligible, including GRAs and GTAs. In addition, individuals without performance reviews on file as of Sept. 30 and those with active written notices (official discipline) as of Nov. 18 will not receive the bonus.

Q. What salary amount is the bonus based on?

A. The employee’s base salary. That is, the salary creditable for all retirement plans: VRS as well as the ORP plans offered by Fidelity, TIAA-CREF, etc.

Q. What about “acting” or temporary pay?

A. The bonus will be calculated on the base salary exclusive of “acting” differential.

Q. What date is the salary based on? What if there is a salary change during the process?

A. The bonus will be paid based on the salary as of Nov. 24, 2012. Changes to salaries effective Oct. 25, 2012 through Nov. 24, 2012 will require an additional bonus payment that will be processed in the next pay period.

Q. Can the 3% bonus be supplemented from other funds, or reduced if a department doesn’t have enough funding?

A. No. This is an across the board bonus and cannot be supplemented or reduced.

Q. Can a base salary increase be made instead of a bonus payment?

A. No. Base salary increases are unrelated to, and must be processed outside of, the bonus cycle.

Q. What about staff or A&P faculty on leave without pay or with partial pay?

A. Bonus payments for staff or A&P faculty on leave without pay or leave with partial pay will be processed in the first regular payroll following when the employee returns to work. Bonuses for these employees will need to be processed by the department/ compensation administrator/HRMS specialist. The bonus will be based on the pre-leave VRS-creditable salary.

Q. Can schools/units prorate individual amounts?

A. No. All employees will receive the 3% bonus based on their annual salary as of Nov. 24, 2012.

Q. How will bonuses be funded?

A. Bonuses paid from centrally funded awards will be a shared responsibility of about two-thirds (2/3) from a central allocation and the remaining one-third (1/3) from the unit’s one-time resources. As usual, non-centrally-funded awards will be 100% responsible for the one-time cost.

Q. What about staff or A&P faculty paid by two or more departments?

A. Employees will appear on the worksheet of his/her designated supervisor in Oracle (generally the “home” department). Departments will need to coordinate offline as to the appropriate allocation of funds, as is the current practice, and labor distribution should be adjusted accordingly.

Q. Can employees defer their bonus compensation to their tax-deferred savings plan?

A. Yes. Employees can defer compensation by filing the appropriate deduction forms with UHR benefits.

Q. What fringe rate will apply to the bonus?

A. The wage rate (currently 5.5%), since we only need to cover the employer portion of Social Security on the amount of this payment.

Q. What withholding or tax rate will apply to the bonus?

A. Analysis indicates that typically, lower paid employees benefit by having bonus payments included and taxed with regular pay, and higher paid employees benefit from separate checks taxed at a flat rate. To accommodate those who need it the most, the bonus payment will be included and taxed with regular pay.