Pay for Performance Merit Program Guidelines

1) Collaborative Goal Setting. 2) Attainment & Shared Evaluation. 3) Celebrate & Repeat!


President Napolitano has announced the 2018-19 merit program with a 3control figure for non-represented employees covered by Personnel Policies for Staff Members (PPSM). No merit will be processed until an appraisal is received. This merit-based program determines salary increases based on an individual's performance and contributions. Recognizing and rewarding outstanding performance and differentiated pay based on employee accomplishments helps motivate people to achieve superior results. The merit-based approach is also consistent with feedback received from staff in the 2015 UC Overall Engagement Survey. Employee feedback urged us to calibrate pay for performance in order to make it a more prominent feature of our salary programs.


Employees eligible for the 2018-2019 Merit Program include those individuals who:

  • Are appointed to career or partial-year positions covered by PPSM on or before January 2, 2018
  • Are still on career or partial-year status at UCSC on July 1, 2018
  • Have as applicable, passed probation as of July 1, 2018
  • Are still on the payroll as a career or partial-year employee as of the payout date
  • Individuals with contract appointments are eligible if so stipulated in the terms of the contract and other eligibility criteria are met.

Merit Increase Structure

The pay for performance merit program seeks to proportionally recognize and reward individuals with salary increases based on performance. The following salary increase ranges are guidelines to help determine individual increases for eligible employees.These are recommended guidelines and individual increases may vary.  

  • Met Expectations or greater performance rating is 0% to 4.5%
  • Recommend a minimum of 2% increase for performance ratings of Met Expectations or greater.
  • Allocation must balance within the overall 3% budgetary control figure

Performance Rating:


Improvement Needed

Met Expectations

Consistently Exceeded Expectations





up to 2.5%

up to 3.5%

up to 4.5%

At UC Santa Cruz, performance appraisals cover the fiscal year July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018. Do to the performance cycle end dates, the merit increases are retroactive and are reflected on employee paychecks in approximately 3 months.

Information about funding staff salary merit increases can be found on Planning and Budget’s website.

Divisions may delegate the requirement to balance the control figure to subordinate departments and units as appropriate to manage the divisional merits. Compensation will provide merit rosters on August 10, 2018, with information needed to determine merit increases. This information will include calculations for actual dollar increases associated with proposed percentage increases to ensure that good performers receive sufficient bottom-line increases to effectively recognize and reward performance.

Merit rosters will be provided to units by the close of business on Friday, August 10, 2018. The merit rosters must be completed and returned to Compensation no later than August 24, 2018.

Increases will be effective July 1, 2018 and paid as listed below.

Biweekly paid employees

Monthly paid employees

Increases will appear on the paychecks dated September 19

Increases will appear on the checks dated October 1

Retro lump sums will appear on the checks dated October 31

Retro lump sums will appear on the checks dated November 1

Appraisals received after August 23 will result in a delay of the payout dates.

Salary Increase Determination Process

The recommended increase ranges provide guidelines for individual increases. Divisions must allocate the increases within the overall 3% control figure. Any deviations from the 3% control figure must fall within the range of 2.99% to 3.01%.

Each division will establish their plan for delegating, reconciling and approving divisional merit increases within the allotted time frame and communicating increases to employees. As part of  the merit call, merit roster spreadsheets will be disseminated in accordance with divisional practice. The 3% budgetary control figure will be balanced in accordance with divisional practice. The recommendations will be reviewed by Compensation. The merit rosters must  be completed and delivered to Compensation no later than August 24, 2018.

Upon confirmation of increases from the division, Staff Human Resources will provide individually addressed employee merit letters. The letters will be available for distribution beginning September 10, 2018. We request that Supervisors promptly provide the letters to their respective employees to ensure that they are notified prior to the payout date. Delivery of the letter should be accompanied by a discussion of the merit increase in order to recognize individual contributions and motivate future efforts. A copy of the merit increase letter will be placed in the personnel file by Staff Human Resources.