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HR-126 Employee Referral Incentive Program Q&As

  1. What are the key elements to the Employee Referral Incentive Program?
    Vacancies Payment Eligibility Exclusions
    • Benefit-eligible staff vacancies as determined by the college, school, or division
    • All funding sources
    • $500
    • After referred employee's hire date
    • Paid by the hiring department
    • Active university employee* at the time of the referred employee's application and payment *Academic and Staff, full-time and part-time are eligible
    • Executives
    • Hiring supervisors
    • Search committee
    • HR Directors
    • HR Recruiters

    Please review policy HR-126 for details.

  2. Are applicants eligible to receive a payment per the Employee Referral Incentive Program?
    No. The Employee Referral Incentive Program is for current employees.
  3. May non-benefit eligible and part-time employees receive a referral incentive payment?
    Yes. Non-benefit eligible and part-time employees, such as adjuncts or student employees, are eligible to receive a referral incentive, provided all other requirements identified in policy HR-126 are met.
  4. Can the incentive payment be split over multiple months?
    No. The incentive payment is a lump-sum payment on the employee’s regular payroll cycle, subject to applicable taxes and withholdings.
  5. Can an employee refer multiple candidates for the same position?
  6. Can the incentive payment be split and paid to multiple employees?
    No. The incentive will only be paid to one employee.
  7. How will employees know if the referred applicant applied for an eligible position?
    Applicants may indicate in the application process one University employee who referred them (“Referring Employee”) including the referring employees email address (university or personal email). The Referring Employee will then be sent an automatic email notification from to their university or personal email address, based on which email was submitted by the applicant.

    Once the Referring Employee receives the email notification, they must follow the instructions in the email to be eligible for the incentive should the applicant be hired. See the Employee Referral Incentive Program instructions for employees and applicants (PDF) for more information.

  8. Are employer contributions and employee deductions applied to the Employee Referral Incentive payment?
    Employer contributions and employee deductions are applied to incentive payments for the Defined Contribution Retirement Plan, and the DC component of the Hybrid Retirement Plan only. No contributions or deductions apply to the Defined Benefit Retirement Plan.
  9. Will employees who are on a Leave of Absence be eligible to receive the Employee Referral incentive payment?
    Maybe. Employees may receive an incentive payment while on a paid leave of absence. Employees on an unpaid leave of absence may receive an incentive payment upon return from the leave of absence.
  10. May a Referring Employee decline the incentive payment, or have the incentive deposited into a university fund instead?
    No. According to IRS constructive receipt doctrine, an eligible employee who has earned an incentive payment cannot later decline the incentive, or decide to have some or all of the earned incentive deposited into a university account (such as a department account earmarked for professional development, travel, etc.) for any reason.
  11. Who is responsible for determining which positions are eligible for a referral incentive?
    Hiring units are responsible for determining whether or not a benefit-eligible staff vacancy will be eligible for an employee referral incentive. Hiring units may decide to not utilize the Employee Referral Incentive program for any reason, including limited funding. However, units are encouraged to consider the program a recruiting strategy for hard to fill positions, vacancies in high demand, and other positions.
  12. May departments use any source of funding for referral incentive payments?
    The funding source is the responsibility of the hiring unit. Please consult with your Finance Officer for appropriate funding sources.


Date Created: 04/15/2022

Reviewed 2023-04-21