Staff Merit Increases

Merit increases recognize employees for their overall performance achievements.  Budgetary funding for merit may be based and designated by the State Legislature, Kansas Board of Regents or University Administration.  Merit increases are a component of the University budget process and are based upon the division’s recommendation.  Any assigned merit made to staff is an increase to the individual’s base pay.

Merit Categories

Eligibility for Merit Increases

The percent of merit increase may vary from year to year; there may be times when no merit increases are available. There may be times when supplemental funds are available for additional special merit pay increases. During the budgetary preparation time period, the Budget Office will establish the amount of merit pools in proportion to base salaries associated with merit for eligible University staff. The merit pool will be allocated appropriately to individual units. Any special merit funds must be authorized by the Office of the Provost.

Staff eligibility requirements for merit increases include:

  • Employees must have a current evaluation on file with Human Resources (HR) and have a rating of “meets expectations” or above to be eligible for the merit increase.
  • Employees who have a rating of “unsatisfactory” are not eligible for a merit increase.
  • Employees who have had formal disciplinary action imposed during the calendar year preceding the effective date of the pay increase may not receive a merit increase as determined by HR.
  • Employees serving on an initial probationary period are not eligible for a merit increase.
  • Employees, who are newly hired on or after March 1, are not eligible for a merit increase the following fiscal year.
  • Employees must be appointed on a regular position.

The merit increase is not based solely on a performance evaluation rating, rather several criteria as listed below may be considered:

  • Performance: The meritorious performance of a staff member’s job duties.
  • Conduct: The employee’s overall conduct during the annual merit period. Disciplinary actions for misconduct that occur before a merit increase is paid may be cause to withhold a merit increase. HR or the administrative hierarchy may withhold increases in these situations.
  • Additional, more complex responsibilities: Staff may have assumed additional, more complex duties because of increased skill levels, staff restructuring, or additional departmental programs.
  • Salary compression: There may have been inadequate differentiation between current staff and new hires.
  • Market value: Job salaries may be significantly below relevant job market salaries, making it difficult to recruit and/or retain staff. HRM must support any justification for such an increase.
  • Skill acquisition: Staff may have acquired new skills approved as useful by the campus department or school to address the unit’s mission. Those skills may have been acquired through certification, formal coursework, or licensing.

Across-the-Board Increases

If funds are available for salary increases, two-thirds of the allocated merit funds may be provided on an across-the-board basis to eligible staff. The percent increase may vary from year to year; there may be times when no pay increases are available. Across-the-board increases cannot be appealed.

Eligibility Criteria
  • USS employees who are not on probation and who have a current evaluation rating of at least “meets expectations” are eligible for an across-the-board increase.
  • Employees serving on a probationary period and hired before March 1, are eligible for an across-the-board increase.
  • Employees with a rating of “unsatisfactory” are not eligible for an across-the-board increase.
  • Employees who have had formal disciplinary action imposed during the calendar year preceding the effective date of the pay increase may not receive an across-the-board increase as determined by Human Resources.
  • Employees hired on or after March 1, are not eligible for an across-the-board increase for the subsequent fiscal year.
  • Employees must be appointed on a regular position.

Longevity Bonuses

If funding is available, all non-union covered USS employees with a current evaluation rating of “meets expectation” or higher are eligible for a longevity bonus. The amount of the longevity bonus is based on length of state service (10 years or more). The amount paid is $50 per year beginning with the employee's 10 years of state service anniversary. The maximum longevity payment is $1,250. The longevity amount is included in the employee’s regular paycheck that covers their state anniversary date and will have associated fringe costs assessed. Longevity bonuses are generally granted on an annual basis and are not eligible for merit allocations.

Union covered positions are not eligible for longevity bonuses, as they were built into the current base salary structure.  All base salaries excluding longevity bonuses are eligible for merit increases.

Years of Adjusted State ServiceAmount per YearGross Payment
More than 25 years$50$1,250

Merit Allocation Process

  • Overall unit increases must be within the average percentage as designated yearly in the annual budget process by the Chancellor/Provost for all funding sources for the duration of the fiscal year.
  • For University Support Staff that are not otherwise covered by pro-visions of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), the available merit pools is one-third of the amount allocated to departments.
  • Merit increases cannot be awarded on an across-the-board basis. There must be variation among the amounts and/or percentages awarded to staff within a unit.
  • The merit increase may be based on an annual evaluation that should occur before assigning merit. Generally speaking, annual evaluations should be completed during the time period from January to March, with deadlines as established by HR, in order to precede budgetary recommendations for merit increases.
  • A supervisor may recommend the amount or percent of a merit increase to the department head who reviews and seeks approval through budgetary channels. Approvals must be obtained through budgetary channels before the effective date of the increase.
  • Merit increases cannot be appealed.
  • For sponsored project funded employee, the annual increase must coincide with the merit increase dates for other staff.
  • Increases are generally made effective with the first payroll period after the Kansas Board of Regents has authorized the University operating budget in late June, but may be made effective at other times.

Administrative Oversight of Merit Increases

Merit increases of 0%, or more than 5% may be reviewed by the Office of the Provost. Justification for such merit increases may be required by the Office of the Provost. The Budget Office may monitor salary recommendations to assure that neither under-spending nor over-spending has occurred. It is expected that the merit principles be applied to all employees regardless of the funding source from which salaries are paid.

Employee Notification of Merit Increases

Units are responsible for notifying staff about their merit increases after the Office of the Provost has authorized the release of the information. If there are any questions concerning and employee’s merit increases, it is encouraged that an employee seek out the appropriate person in his/her unit department or a representative in HR.

Additional Information

If you have any questions or need additional information about merit increases, please contact Human Resources at or at 785-864-4946.