UCI distributes merit increases to non-represented employees in years where merit increases are available. In recent years, UCI has given what are known as across-the-board salary increases (2022, 2023, and 2024, for example), meaning that all non-represented employees receive the same percent increase regardless of performance.

Merit increases differ from across-the-board salary increases in that merit increases are based on performance. The amount of the merit award will vary according to your performance contributions and cannot exceed the allocated budget. Use this page to learn more about how merit increases work.


Employees who meet the following requirements are eligible for merit increases when merit increases are given:

Linking Merit and ACHIEVE

Linking or connecting an employee’s merit level with the information collected throughout the year in ACHIEVE is relatively easy. Assuming a merit fund is available, managers will use the information discussed and documented during the quarterly ACHIEVE check-ins, and compare it to the Merit Criteria Guide for Individuals or the Merit Criteria Guide for People Managers, to determine merit levels.

The merit criteria guidelines are divided into four categories – Goal Accomplishment, Enterprise Contributor, Innovation and Job Mastery. To learn more about the details of each of these categories and the behaviors that define them, as well as how to explain the relationship between merit and the ACHIEVE staff performance program, click here.

How Are Merit Levels and Merit Awards Determined?

After the manager has recommended the employee’s merit level (see above), he/she will share that information with their School/Division/Department leaders. The School/Division/Department leaders (or their designees) will meet with their respective management teams to:

1) Calibrate employee merit levels and merit awards based on the merit guidelines shown above.

2) The amount of merit award will vary depending on the employee’s performance contributions and the available budget. Our merit program is supported by a limited budget provided by the campus/medical center and individual schools and departments.

3) Every organization will be operating with the same percent merit budget allocation. The total of all employee increases within a department cannot exceed that organization’s allocated budget.

4) Once determined, the merit award is submitted to Human Resources for additional review and entered into the payroll system.