University of Wisconsin–Madison

Pay Increases

Pay increases help attract, recruit, reward, and retain a highly qualified workforce. The list below describes ways employees at the university are eligible to receive pay increases in their current position. For questions, contact your local human resources professional. The following applies to faculty, academic staff, university staff, and limited appointees.

Bonus (lump-sum payment)

A one-time payment that recognizes an employee’s efforts and accomplishments.  It does not increase a base salary or regular pay rate. Typical reasons for these payments include successfully completing special assignments outside of normal job responsibilities or for a performance adjustment.


This may be awarded as a base pay increase or as a lump-sum payment. The increase recognizes exceptional performance. Criteria may include the length or frequency of the performance, the consistency of the performance, or unique contribution (e.g., an employee who routinely demonstrates exceptional performance and participates in special projects on an ongoing basis, compared to an employee who completes a one-time special project).

Eligibility requirements include successful completion of a probation/evaluation period, satisfactory performance evaluations on or after the previous fiscal year start date with no documented performance concerns, compliance with the UW–Madison Policy on Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence Policy, and completed training (such as the Cybersecurity Awareness training) for example.


This base-building increase maintains salary relationships for employees within the same title. These adjustments may be used to correct issues for different pay practices in work units. Parity adjustment could be used to address different pay among employees that have similar training, experience, and responsibilities, for example.


The University of Wisconsin–Madison does not discriminate in its employment practices and programs and activities on a variety of bases including but not limited to: age, color, disability, national origin, race, or sex .In instances where inequities exist, a pay equity adjustment may correct the situation.


The following are two types of market adjustments at UW–Madison.


This pay increase is to retain one or more employees who have outside job offers or to address a retention problem. This can include a recent pattern of employees in the same discipline or unit leaving to take positions outside UW–Madison or UW System with comparable responsibilities at higher salaries. Units should use this type of adjustment to retain employees with exemplary performance and highly valued expertise.


This market adjustment is a salary increase to retain one or more employees when there is no outside offer or specific example of current retention problems, but there is evidence of a potential retention problem due to the market. The adjustment addresses market and retention issues. The Office of Human Resources (OHR) will maintain the salary structure to reflect overall market changes. Unusual market circumstances may require targeted adjustments within the salary structure. Adjustments to salaries recognize significant market changes within a specific industry.

Change in Unique Responsibilities

This base pay increase does not lead to a change in the position’s title. This adjustment is a lateral move or progression within the salary range. This requires permanent qualitative changes to an employee’s responsibilities (rather than doing more of the same work). Such changes must be permanent job duties or responsibilities of growing importance to the operational unit that are either newly assigned or have evolved from the job’s original functions. The new responsibilities should be of greater scope, impact or complexity compared to the previous functions.

Change in Responsibilities and Title

A change in responsibilities and title may occur when a filled position has changes in responsibilities due to organizational business needs and a different standard job description is more appropriate. This may result in a promotion, a lateral move, or a demotion. Such changes must be permanent job responsibilities of growing importance to the operational unit that are either newly assigned or have evolved from the job’s original functions.

Pay Plan

Increase approved by the Wisconsin State Legislature’s Joint Committee on Employment Relations (JCOER). All academic staff, faculty, limited appointee, and university staff are eligible to receive the pay plan increase. Some employee categories, including temporary employees and student hourly employees, are not eligible.

HR professionals have guidelines to ensure consistency in how salary decisions are determined across the university and to provide flexibility in salary adjustments based on circumstances. The university intends to administer salaries consistently through use of guidelines. However, it reserves the right to modify any of the information described above without prior notice.

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