MSU Human Resources >> Ua >> Recognition >> Faculty-academic-staff >> Faculty & Academic Staff Signing Bonuses

Faculty & Academic Staff Signing Bonuses

Effective January 1, 2016


This policy applies to full-time and part-time faculty, academic staff, executive managers and academic administrators.

Signing Bonus Policy

Units may offer a signing bonus as an incentive to prospective employees who possess skills and qualifications that are in high market demand, have highly specialized talent or to fill a position that would be otherwise difficult to fill. The amount of the signing bonus should generally be in the range of 5 to 15% of the proposed starting salary, but there is considerable flexibility and latitude for responding to highly competitive cases. Individual units are responsible for funding of the signing bonus.

The amount of the signing bonus must be specified in the offer letter, and the letter must clearly state that it is a one-time lump sum payment and will not be made part of the annual base salary. In addition, any other terms and conditions regarding the payment (e.g., required payback in the event an employee resigns within a pre-determined period of time) must be specified in the offer letter. Any required payback clause must state that the payback must be made within 60 days from the employee's resignation of employment. Signing bonuses cannot be made to the prospective employee prior to their initial start date.

Each unit deciding to offer signing bonuses will establish its own criteria used to make a determination on who is offered a signing bonus. Each unit offering signing bonuses must maintain documentation both of the criteria and the process used.

Required Approval

Prior approval must be documented and obtained by (a) the immediate supervisor; (b) by the administrator of the major administrative unit (“MAU”) in which the individual will be appointed; and (c) by the Office of the Provost.

All proposals for signing bonuses must include a statement of justification for approval by the Office of the Provost.


A written request including justification shall be sent to the Office of the Provost to obtain prior approval. Once approvals have been sought, unit administrators must submit an Additional Payments Form reporting the payment as miscellaneous pay (wage type 1280). Supporting documentation including the prior approvals must be attached.

Other Provisions

  1. The Office of the Provost shall conduct an annual review of signing bonuses made under the miscellaneous wage type (1280) during the prior fiscal year.

  2. Major administrative units may establish lower ranges for signing bonuses than those stipulated in this Policy.