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Special Merit Pay for Faculty & Academic Staff 

Effective January 1, 2016


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

Special Lump Sum/Merit Pay Policy

Units may offer special lump sum payments outside of the October 1 merit increase process to recognize exceptional performance, significant contributions that impact critical business operational goals, deliverables or timelines, or to address retention and market demands. The amount of the special lump sum payment should generally be in the range of 5 to 15% of an individual’s salary, but there is considerable flexibility and latitude based on the circumstances. 

Special merit payments are one-time lump sum payments and will not be made part of the annual base salary. Individual units are responsible for funding of the special merit pay.

Each unit deciding to award special merit pay will establish its own criteria. Criteria must be related to extraordinary merit or significant contributions that facilitate the achievement of strategic goals. Each unit making special merit payments must maintain documentation both of the criteria and the process used for determining awards.

Required Approval

Special lump sum salary increases require documented prior approval (a) by the immediate supervisor; (b) by the administrator of the major administrative unit ("MAU") in which that individual is appointed; and (c) by the Office of the Provost.

All proposals for special lump sum payments must include a statement of justification for approval by the Office of the Provost.


Unit administrators must submit an Additional Payments Form reporting the payment as miscellaneous pay (wage type 1280).  Supporting documentation including a statement of justification prior approvals must be attached.

Other Provisions

  1. The Office of the Provost shall conduct an annual review of special lump sum payments made under the miscellaneous wage type (1280) during the prior fiscal year.
  2. Major administrative units may establish lower ranges special lump sum payments than those stipulated in this Policy.
  3. Special merit pay is distinct from overload pay. In accordance with the policy on Overload Pay, faculty, academic staff, executive managers and academic administrators may request approval to engage in overload pay for overload assignments related to teaching, research, outreach activities and academic and student support activities. Special lump sum payments may not act as a substitution for overload pay.