Off-Cycle Merit Increases

Off-Cycle Merit Increases

It is recommended that no employee wait more than 12 months for a merit increase and performance review.

When to Consider an Off-cycle Merit Request

An off-cycle merit increase can ONLY be used for the following two reasons:

  • For new employees hired after review eligibility date, but before the effective date of their payroll category annual review cycle
  • For employees who transfer payroll categories after review date

When a new employee is hired after the review eligibility date for his/her payroll category (but before the effective date of that review), s/he should be considered for an off-cycle merit increase approximately six months from his/her date of hire (typically, after s/he has completed the new employee review period).

Similarly, if an employee transfers payroll categories and misses the review date, then s/he should be considered for an off-cycle merit increase approximately six months from his/her date of transfer.

The Process

  • Where required, obtain approval from the designated senior administrator to ensure that established procedures within a department or school are followed.
  • Consult with Compensation and/or your Human Resources Officer for guidance in making an informed decision before discussing any salary change with an employee.
  • Review the guidelines (below) in determining whether a salary increase is appropriate.


To determine the off-cycle merit increase amount, a manager should consider the following criteria:

  • Performance
  • Length of service in the job
  • Employee's salary*
  • Internal equity
  • Budget (departments are responsible for funding off-cycle merit increases given to employees hired after their review eligibility date)
  • ASR Pay Program parameters for that fiscal year

It is recommended that the off-cycle merit increase amount be some portion (e.g., prorate the amount for the number of months the employee has been in the job) of the annual merit allocation, not to exceed the department's pay program parameters set for that fiscal year.

*There may be times when a manager makes a salary offer that is somewhat higher than would be otherwise offered, knowing that the newly hired/transferred employee will have to wait more than 12 months before s/he receives a merit increase.  When this occurs, the manager should inform the newly hired/transferred employee that s/he may not receive another increase until the next review cycle, that an off-cycle increase will not be warranted, but his/her performance will be assessed approximately six months from his/her date of hire.