Supplemental Pay and Bonuses

Supplemental Pay

Supplemental Pay

The University may supplement an employee's pay when higher level work than the employee’s current grade is temporarily assumed or the employee temporarily back fills a vacant position requiring significant additional hours.

For an employee to receive a pay supplement, the following criteria must be met:

  • The assignment duration is a minimum of one month and not longer than one year
  • The department head requesting the additional assignment confirms that the assignment results from either an additional need for a service or function, or it results from circumstances such as the prolonged absence of another staff member or a vacancy in the department

Pay Supplement Amounts

Pay supplements typically range from 5% to 15% of the incumbent’s base salary.  The percentage should be based on the level and type of work and the additional time required to do the work.

Pay Supplement Process

Pay supplements are recommended by the employee's department head and must be approved by the appropriate senior officer. At the end of the temporary assignment, the department should evaluate if there is a need for an additional lump sum payment based on the amount of effort/additional work hours required.

Performance Bonuses

Bonuses should be considered to recognize and reward staff members whose extraordinary efforts contribute to Brown in significant and meaningful ways, and include substantial accomplishments well beyond regular work responsibilities. Bonuses typically range from $1,000 to $3,000.

All bonuses require approval from the senior officer and/or designated HR Business Partner and University Human Resources, regardless of the funding source, to ensure consistency across campus. 

When Bonuses Are Appropriate

Bonuses generally reflect one-time, work-related efforts well beyond standard job requirements. They may include, but not be limited to, the following criteria:

  • Recognizing and retaining critical talent
  • Accomplishments or contributions that significantly transform or advance the objectives of the department, division, or University and, typically, are project-based  (e.g., system implementation or new program development or implementation)
  • Extraordinary efforts during times of critical department need (e.g., meeting critical deadlines that could negatively impact business operations or major projects)
  • Contributions that clearly and significantly impact accomplishing important business goals, deliverables, and/or time lines
  • Innovative work or ideas, well beyond standard job requirements, that significantly improve operational efficiencies; introduce new or modified business practices; or improve processes, workflow, or customer service
  • Significant cost savings or cost avoidance realized beyond normally expected or established standards

When Bonuses Are Not Appropriate

Bonuses should not be given for:

  • Outstanding or excellent performances of ongoing, regular job duties and responsibilities, or for achievements that may be reasonably expected from a staff member; these efforts should be recognized as part of the annual performance and salary review process
  • Efforts that have no significant impact on major projects or initiatives
  • Recognition for long term service
  • Accomplishments of personal and career goals, skills and competencies, professional degrees, or certifications
  • Work coverages during the absence of peers that are higher job grades; in this situation, the employee may be recognized through a:
  • pay supplement (pay supplements are taxed at the individual's tax rate, count toward retirement, and must have an end date)
  • one-time payment after the work is completed
  • combination of a smaller pay supplement and a one-time payment after the work is completed
  • higher annual performance rating and documentation in the performance evaluation


All regular or fixed-term staff eligible for a performance increase are also eligible for a bonus; although, it’s unlikely that employees with less than one year of service have demonstrated extraordinary efforts.  In most cases, bonuses should be reserved for top performers. 

Guidelines for Determining Bonus Amounts

  • Bonuses should be a minimum of $1,000 in order to be meaningful.
  • In most cases, bonus amounts should not exceed 10% of an employee's base salary, or $5,000.   Bonuses over $5,000 are typically reserved for senior management, or when the impact is at the University level, and/or the time commitment would be 9 to 12 months.
  • The dollar amount should be in relation to the size and scope of the special assignment and/or project completed.
  • Typically, the duration of the special assignment or project must have exceeded 3 months.

Please consider the following when determining a bonus amount:


The extent to which accomplishments and performance impacted the work unit and beyond, as well as the extent to which accomplishments contributed to departmental goals and/or University goals; a bonus of $1,000 would be appropriate to recognize an accomplishment that has a department impact and $3,000 for work that has a University impact


The magnitude of the accomplishments (e.g., savings created or revenues generated; the number of individuals affected; added value created; resources optimized)


The complexity of the accomplishment and skill level required for the work you are recognizing; determine whether the accomplishments and performance represent work above and beyond the expectations of the position

Time Commitment

The time required to accomplish the work being rewarded


The grade level of the employee

Nonexempt employees should always be compensated for extra hours worked in accordance with the Non-Exempt Staff Pay Policy. Part-time employees should have their additional hours reflected in Workday.