Merit Process

The Ohio State University merit process determines salary increases, implements the change in university systems and notifies faculty and staff. This process takes place every summer.

Colleges and academic business units enter merit increases for regular employees into the Workday merit module. College of Medicine and Office of Health Sciences are included in this process. Managers in the Wexner Medical Center complete employee performance reviews in the P3 application, and when finalized, a transaction will automatically be initiated to process the merit increase into Workday.

Increases for bargaining unit members are processed in accordance with the bargaining unit contract.

When appropriate, merit increases for associated faculty, temporary and term staff, student employees and graduate associates are initiated using the normal Workday business process for requesting a compensation change or period activity pay.

Questions regarding the process can be directed to

On this page…

Merit Increase Guidelines

The university provides merit guidelines each year.

Eligibility and Ineligibility for Merit

The following rules will be applied to the 2023-2024 merit process.

Effective Date and Timelines

The following provides details on the effective date for merit increases as well as the merit processing timeline.

Discretionary and Non-Discretionary Bonuses

There are two types of discretionary bonuses and two non-discretionary bonuses; however, there are important differences between the usage of each.  The information below will help to explain each type.


Four training courses on the merit process are available. You may choose to complete one or all of the courses.


Following are words that are commonly associated with the merit process.

Aggregate (or Merit Aggregate)
The combined total of the merit base-pay increases plus the total of lump-sum merit awards, calculated as the sum of the increases and lump-sum awards for eligible employees divided by the sum of eligible salaries x 100. This calculation equals the aggregate percentage.
Bargaining Unit Contract
Used to identify the bargaining unit employees whose salary adjustments are negotiated through a contract. These salary adjustments are not included in the calculation of the aggregate. Bargaining union staff will have a separate process.
Discretionary bonus
A monetary payment for extraordinary effort or recognition for years of service. See the bonus section above for full details. The compensation exception request is not required for discretionary bonuses that are paid in August or September. However, senior unit leadership must pre-approve each discretionary bonus and HR Compensation must pre-approve any discretionary bonus above $2000. Discretionary bonus requests can be submitted via HR Connection. The discretionary bonus is processed as a one-time payment transaction in Workday.
Employees who have been identified as potentially qualified to receive a merit increase during the merit process. The merit increase amount for eligible employees will be included in the calculation of the aggregate.
Exception Flags
A merit increase that requires additional approval by the Office of Human Resources or Office of Academic Affairs. These typically include merit increases greater than 10%, less than ½ of 1%, zero increase, etc.
Employees who have been identified as ineligible to receive a merit increase. Ineligible employees will automatically be excluded from the merit process, which includes external hires and rehires on or after April 1.
Market Range
A pay range that has been created by market pay rates, established through market pay studies, for people doing similar work in a particular industry or region.
Merit Increase
An increase in an employee’s hourly wages or annual salary based on individual job performance. This increase is included in the calculation of the aggregate.
Merit Lump Sum
A lump-sum payment based on individual job performance that is paid as a one-time payment. A merit lump sum may be given in lieu of or in addition to a base pay increase. When a staff employee’s current salary is at or above their respective pay range maximum, a merit lump sum must be used to provide any merit award. This lump sum amount is included in the calculation of the aggregate.
Non-discretionary bonus
A monetary payment to reward based on achievement of defined metrics as documented in a written contract, agreement, letter of offer or formal plan.
Pay Range Minimum
The pay range minimum sets the floor of the salary paid for a job profile.
Pay Range Mid-Point
The pay range mid-point is the established at the 50th percentile of the pay range.
Pay Range Maximum
The pay range maximum is the upper limit of the salary range.