Skip to content
Skip to navigation menu


Discretionary Payments

Please note: this policy is currently under review and requests for payments are on hold.

1.         Introduction

The University values the dedication, commitment and achievement of all members of staff and the contribution that they make towards the mission and aims of the University. The policy for the Award of Discretionary Payments has been developed to reward and recognise staff whose contribution has been outstanding and worthy of particular recognition.

Cardiff University is committed to embedding equality and diversity within its procedures and promoting an inclusive culture based on the values of dignity, courtesy and respect. This procedure will be monitored to ensure the award of discretionary payments is operated fairly, by reference to relevant criteria.

2.         Eligibility

This policy applies to all staff with the exception of staff covered by the Senior Salary Review Scheme.

Applications are eligible for consideration from staff irrespective of contractual arrangements. In making decisions to award discretionary payments, the University will take into account the contractual arrangements (full time, part time, job share) and other relevant factors in interpreting the criteria for award and assessing the quality of application to ensure fairness and equity amongst all staff groups.

3.         Types of reward

There are a number of types of payments which staff may receive to recognise ‘exceptional’ performance..  All payments are subject to tax and national insurance deductions.  One-off payments are not pensionable.

One - off Payments  

A one-off payment can be made to recognise and reward exceptional performance at work for a particular piece of work or project where the responsibility does not normally form part of the member of staff’s standard role or responsibilities. 

For reasons of consistency and equity a one-off payment would not normally exceed an amount equivalent to an increment (pro rata for part-time staff).   Awards can be made throughout the grade, including where a member of staff’s salary is at the top of the contribution range.

Responsibility Allowances Responsibility Allowances are paid to reflect and reward individuals who may be undertaking additional duties/responsibilities which are equivalent to the full, or a significantly high number of, duties normally undertaken at a higher grade. It is expected that such duties/responsibilities will have been undertaken for a period of four weeks or more and normally for no longer than twelve months. Payment will normally be made at least the base point of the higher grade.
Accelerated Increment(s)

Accelerated increments within the normal salary range are used to recognise exceptional performance which is sustained over a period of 12 months or more.

The normal next incremental date as recorded by the University’s Human Resources and Payroll Systems will still apply unlessthe member of staff has reached the top of the grade or specified otherwise. 

Contribution Point(s) Contribution points are the two salary points at the top of the grade boundary (previously known as discretionary points).  Progression to these points is not by routine incremental progression:  contribution Points may only be awarded to members of staff at the top of their grade and are to reward exceptional/outstanding performance over a sustained period of twelve months or more. The award of a contribution point may, however, be coupled with the request for award of an accelerated increment.

3.1       There is no limit on the number of accelerated increments/contribution points which can be requested within the boundary of the grade, however only in exceptional circumstances will awards of more than one accelerated increment/contribution point be considered. The award of a contribution point will not result in a change of grade or terms and conditions of employment.

4.         Monitoring

            A report will be made to the Human Resources Committee and applications will be monitored in line with the University’s Equality and Diversity Policy to ensure that the application of this policy and procedure does not have a differential impact on any group of staff.   Human Resources will provide monitoring reports to Heads of School and Directors to assist them in ensuring fair and equitable application of  the policy in their area of responsibility.


Administrative Procedures

1.         Introduction

This procedure has been designed to underpin the Policy for the Award of Discretionary Payments and sets out the administrative arrangements for the award of such payments.

2.         Procedures

2.1       Requests for the award of a discretionary payment may be made at any time of the year by completing and submitting an Award of Discretionary Payments form which is available from the Human Resources Website[1]. Requests will normally originate from the line manager but may also be made by the individual through his/her Line Manager. Staff requiring applications in an alternative format or assistance in completing the relevant form the Human Resources Division can provide further support.

2.2       Where the request is for a team, an application must be submitted in respect of each individual with an overall summary of the achievement of the team attached. 

2.3       The form provides guidance on the points that should be addressed in relation to each category of payment.  In summary these include:

One - off Payments  Details of the exceptional performance at work including the particular piece of work or project where the responsibility does not normally form part of the member of staff’s standard role or responsibilities. 
Responsibility Allowances Details of additional duties/responsibilities which are equivalent to the full, or a significantly high number of, duties normally undertaken at a higher grade and their duration.

Accelerated Increment(s)

Contribution Point(s)

Details of the exceptional and outstanding performance in carrying out the demands of the role. The following criteria should normally be addressed. However, the list is not exhaustive.


  • the impact the jobholder has made on the team, unit or organisational performance;
  • excellence within the given field/work area;
  • innovation and problem solving;
  • professional standing;
  • contribution to the wider mission of the University.

It is not expected that all of the criteria need to be satisfied in relation to an application.

2.4       The application must be submitted to the Head of School/Administrative Directorate who will consider and determine the outcome of the application against the relevant criteria for award. 

2.5       The Head of School / Administrative Director should obtain the relevant financial signatures before forwarding to the Human Resources Division to process for payment.

2.6       The Head of School/Administrative Director will forward all applications, successful and unsuccessful, to the Human Resources Division in order to monitor the application of this procedure.

2.7       Successful awards will normally be applied from the first day of the month following approval by the Head of School/Administrative Director.

2.8       Human Resources will inform the member of staff in writing of the outcome of the application via the Head of School/Administrative Director.

2.9       Following an unsuccessful application, a further application will not be considered within a one year period unless there is evidence that the situation has changed significantly.

3.         Feedback /Appeal

3.1       Feedback – Informal Stage

Feedback should be given on request by means of a meeting held with the individual and the Head of School /Administrative Director. If the matter is not resolved at this meeting, the Formal Stage of the appeal procedure can be instigated by the appellant.  The outcome of the informal stage should be confirmed by letter to the appellant.

3.2       Appeal Procedure – Formal Stage

            An appeal against unsuccessful request for a discretionary payment should be made in writing to the Director of Human Resources within 10 working days of the Informal Stage being completed. The letter must state the grounds of appeal, with reference to the application.

            The Appellant will be invited to attend a formal meeting with a Pro Vice Chancellor or their nominee who will consider their appeal. At this meeting the Appellant will have the right to be accompanied by a recognised Trades Union representative of their choice. This meeting will be serviced by a member of the Human Resources Division.

The Pro Vice Chancellor will consider the appeal and inform the Director of Human Resources of the outcome, who shall notify it to the member of staff and the Head of School/Administrative Director in writing as soon as reasonably practicable.
Related Resources