Policies and procedures

Policy No.
Human Resources
Authoring Organisational Unit
Human Resources - Central Unit
Date Approved
25/06/2012 Revised 25/09/2014
Next Review Date
Approving Body
Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor And Registrar

The University of Western Australia

University Policy on: Reward and Recognition

Purpose of the policy and summary of issues it addresses:

The University is committed to attracting, developing and retaining the highest quality staff. Vital to pursuing this aim is the acknowledgement of employees for their contributions to the University and the recognition of outstanding performance.

This policy encourages such recognition of individuals and teams through a range of formal and informal mechanisms.


"Employee" means a person employed by the University.

"Supervisor" means the person who is responsible for day-to-day supervision of the employee.

"University" means the University of Western Australia.

Policy statement:

The University seeks to create an environment where employees are valued and acknowledged for their contribution to the University and supported in their career aspirations. Such an environment fosters engagement with the University and with the University's vision of achieving international excellence. It serves to both attract and retain those who contribute to the achievement of this vision.

This policy encourages University supervisors to actively identify and recognise excellence and establishes the principles of reward and recognition at the University, in addition to including practical guidance.

1 Intent

The intent of the Reward and Recognition Policy is to:

  • acknowledge and reward outstanding performance when it happens;
  • foster professional and career development;
  • provide for a range of informal and formal rewards and recognition, which may or may not have monetary value;
  • ensure that processes are transparent, and rewards and recognition are fairly and equitably applied; and
  • ensure that rewards and recognition are meaningful to the individual or team.

1.1 Principles

The reward and recognition policy is based on three basic principles:

  • Leadership - It is the responsibility of supervisors and leaders to take an active role in the performance management of their staff, to acknowledge and recognise the achievements of staff, to foster their engagement and to support their career development. Leaders should recognise the contribution by staff at all levels in relation to their opportunities to contribute and not just those who, for a particular reason at the time, have a higher profile than their colleagues.
  • Accountability - Rewards and recognition must be applied fairly and equitably within a Faculty or Division through a process which is as transparent as possible. Monetary reward and recognition decisions must be made and documented in accordance with the relevant allowance policy. While less formal rewards and recognition should not be constrained by strict rules and procedures, care must be taken to ensure that no individual or group is inadvertently favoured or neglected.
  • Fiscal responsibility - Reward decisions must be made in accordance with the University's financial accountability requirements. Allowances and monetary bonuses for outstanding performance remain discretionary. While the financial positions of Schools and other business units vary greatly, they are strongly encouraged to budget for rewards and recognition, whether they be salary based or non pecuniary benefits.

2 Informal Recognition

The most effective means of acknowledging the work of others and letting them know that their contribution is valued, remains that of informal and immediate recognition. Various studies have found that all forms of recognition are valued by employees, however the positive effects of a single event, even a significant pay rise, will not last very long. The advantages of informal positive feedback are not only that it can be delivered immediately, but it can also be given whenever appropriate, without being limited by a set process or budget.

Note, however, that informal recognition should not be used as an alternative to allowances or bonuses where deserved. It should be incorporated into everyday working life, to compliment formal rewards rather than replace them.

Informal recognition takes many forms, from a simple thank you for a job well done, to notes of appreciation, acknowledgement in a wider forum, or celebratory occasions on completion of particular tasks or projects. "Reward and Recognition Ideas" provides a variety of suggestions.

3 Formal recognition

3.1 Performance Development and Appraisal (PDA)

The Performance Development and Appraisal is the formal process by which an employee's performance is assessed and through which outstanding performance may be recognised. The PDA is explained in the University Policy: Performance Development and Appraisal, which is supported by the PDA procedures. Individual financial rewards must be formalised through the PDA process. The PDA may prompt a supervisor to consider recommendation for a monetary or non monetary reward. Similarly, it may be apparent that an employee is deserving of a particular reward, and the PDA can be triggered to formalise the process.

3.2 Discretionary Allowances and Payments policies

The University's policies on discretionary allowances and payments define the discretionary allowances and payments granted to attract and retain employees who have special skills or expertise, address altered market conditions, and recognise and reward outstanding performance.

A performance allowance or bonus can be paid for outstanding overall performance, while a bonus may also be paid for outstanding performance on a particular task or on achievement of negotiated stretch outcomes. Performance allowances and bonuses should not be used for an employee who is performing their job competently, rather they are intended to apply to recognise achievements well above what is expected of the position.

3.3 Non-pecuniary benefits

Outstanding performance may also be recognised through a non pecuniary reward such as payment for professional development, conference fees, or a payment to an academic's University research account. This can often be more meaningful for the recipient and is often a means of maximising the value of a benefit. It can also be an effective way to reward a team.

3.4 Local Programmes

Local areas are encouraged to devise their own reward and recognition programmes. These can range from local arrangements of the application of bonuses or performance allowances, to regular or semi-regular events where outstanding performance is recognised.

4 Fringe Benefits Tax

Whenever University funds are expended for employee rewards other than through the salary system, fringe benefits tax (FBT) must be taken into consideration. For example, a celebratory event after the successful completion of a project can attract FBT under certain conditions. Financial Services can advise on the FBT implications of such events.

While the incurring of FBT may considerably increase the cost of a reward, it is not necessarily a reason not to proceed, as long as the FBT component is factored into the allocated budget. For instance, the provision of a service to an employee such as casual childcare to enable attendance at a conference, may be more appreciated by an employee in particular circumstances than a cash bonus provided for the employee to pay for the service.

5 Gender Pay Equity

The University is required to conduct regular gender pay equity audits. Accordingly, when considering payments of bonuses or allowances there must be consideration of the amounts paid to employees of both genders to ensure, as far as practicable, equity for the same levels of performance.

6 Examples

Reward and Recognition Ideas provides many examples of informal and formal rewards and recognition. This is not an exhaustive list. Be creative in devising the most meaningful means of recognising the efforts of individuals and teams. If you have some ideas, consult with Human Resources or Financial Services initially to ensure they can be accommodated.

Related forms:

TRIM File No:


Contact position:

HR Services-Employment

Related Policies or legislation:

Professional Development and Appraisal - Policy and Procedures

Overview of Discretionary Allowances

University Policies on:

Discretionary Allowances

Market Allowance

Attraction Allowance

Performance Allowance

Bonus Payment

UWA Code of Ethics and a Code of Conduct