Increment Policy

Increment Policy


1. University College Cork recognises that the vast majority of employees perform their duties diligently and in accordance with the terms and conditions of their contracts of employment. The purpose of this policy is to address exceptions to the foregoing (where staff members have not reached the top of the relevant salary scale) and to support all staff to be productive in their performance at work.   

2. The default position regarding the payment of increments to staff of University College Cork is that increments will be paid save where there are circumstances arising as provided for hereunder in relation to    the assessment of an employee’s performance throughout the year. It will be deemed that an increment is warranted except where, in such circumstances, the relevant Head of Unit makes a decision, in line with the provisions of this policy, to defer payment of an increment.

3. The University recognises that performance of duties is a subjective matter and requires assessment and consideration prior to any action being taken to defer the payment of an increment. Accordingly, the Head will ensure that access to relevant training and assistance to help address any issue as to performance has been made available to the employee, and that the employee has had an opportunity to put any such training and assistance into practice, prior to any decision to defer the payment of an increment.  

4. The Head will, on becoming aware of deficiencies in performance which may lead to the deferment of an incremental payment, discuss such matter with the employee concerned in a timely manner.


5. In this policy “certificate of satisfactory service” means the certification that is provided by the Head of Department to the Department of Human Resources in respect of employees to whom the payment of an increment is to be sanctioned;

 “increment” means an increase in pay for which provision is made in a pay scale;  

“The Head” in this procedure is the Head of the primary academic or administrative department or unit or research unit (by whatever name called) within which the employee works. “Unit” for this purpose includes any entity operating under the auspices of any particular department. The term “Head” shall include a person acting in that capacity, and in the case of employees who do not have a direct or indirect reporting relationship with such a person, the appropriate person within the University with whom the employee has a direct reporting relationship shall for this purpose be the “Head”;

“performance of duties” means the performance by the employee of the duties of the employee concerned (as specified in the employee’s contract of employment or otherwise) to the minimum standard which the University may reasonably expect;

 “representation” means, in accordance with section 4.4 of the Schedule to the Industrial Relations Act, 1990 (Code of Practice on Grievance and Disciplinary Procedures) (Declaration) Order 2000 (SI 146 of 2000) the involvement of a colleague of an employee's choice or an officer or member of a Representative Association, but not any other person or body unconnected with the University, in representing the interests of an employee;  

“Representative Association” means the trade union or entity chosen by an employee, and recognised by the University, to represent his or her interests with respect to terms and conditions of employment;   


6. The following arrangements apply in relation to the payment of increments:

(1) Incremental certificates will be circulated to certifying Heads at least four months in advance of the date on which the increments are due so as to allow sufficient time to enable the increments to be paid on the due dates or the non‐payment of increments if justified. Within 1 month of the certificate being circulated any issue(s) needing to be remedied will be brought to the attention of an employee.    

(2) A Head must hold a meeting with each of the employees that report to him/her prior to the awarding of an increment. It is envisaged that, generally, the purpose of such meetings would be to reinforce positive performance.

(3) Units will make arrangements with a view to ensuring that where there is a doubt about whether an increment is to be allowed, HR will be informed in sufficient time before the date on which the increment is due.  


7. Subject to the process outlined hereunder, if a certificate of satisfactory service cannot be given by the Head, payment of the increment will be deferred for a specified period of 6 months. On the expiration of the period, the employee's performance will be reviewed and the increment may be allowed with effect from the end of the review period provided the employee's service is satisfactory.

8. The deferment of an increment will not in itself necessarily involve the alteration of future incremental dates. If the period of deferment is less than one year, and if the employee's conduct and service continue to be satisfactory after the award of the deferred increment, the next increment may be allowed in the ordinary course on the date on which it normally falls due. If, however, the period of deferment extends to one year the employee's normal increment, in addition to the deferred increment, may be allowed at the end of the period of deferment if the employee's conduct and service have been satisfactory in the period.


9. Preliminary Meeting:

The formal decision by the Head of Unit to defer an incremental payment should only be taken after the employee has had an opportunity to present his or her case and after due consideration has been given to all relevant matters. A meeting shall be held with the employee for this purpose. At this meeting the Head shall:  

(1) ensure that the employee is made aware of the problem;  

(2) give the employee an opportunity to respond to the opinion of the Head and to explain the relevant facts and circumstances, if appropriate;  

(3) unless the employee’s explanation makes it unnecessary to take the matter further, explain to the employee how the University will defer the payment of an increment should matters not improve within a time frame defined by the Head, following consultation with the employee concerned.   

10. Such a meeting should occur promptly after the Head has formed the opinion that the employee’s performance may warrant the deferral of an increment.

11. Notice of Deferral Meeting:      

Where it appears that an employee’s performance falls below the minimum standard which the University may reasonably expect, the Head, having:

(1) held an interview as above

(2) allowed a defined time for matters to improve as referred to above

(3) made such further inquiries as s/he considers appropriate

(4) given the employee a further opportunity to explain his or her underperformance concludes that such  underperformance warrants action to which the decision to defer an increment is proportionate response, may confirm same by meeting with the employee to inform him or her of the corrective action that needs to be taken.

Such a meeting should include the following:

(1) a detailed explanation of the problem (including any underperformance) for which the employee is being  notified within the provisions of this policy;  

(2) an explanation of how to correct the problem;  

(3) a further opportunity for the employee to respond to the opinion of the Head and explain the relevant facts and circumstances;

(4) a plan of action for correcting the problem, with a time frame defined by the Head following consultation with the employee concerned; and, if deemed relevant by either party, an offer of reasonable assistance;

(5) an explanation of further action that will be taken should the employee fail to correct the deficiency in his or her performance.  

12. Such a meeting should occur promptly after the Head has concluded that the employee’s failure warrants the deferral of an increment. The Director of Human Resources (or a nominee from the Director’s staff) will attend the meeting referred to above in order to ensure that this procedure is complied with and to make a formal record of the meeting.   The Head and the employee shall sign the formal record of the meeting. The employee may be represented at this meeting.


13. Deferral of an increment may be appealed by initiating a grievance through the Grievance Procedure for the time being in force within the University, provided that such grievance is submitted within thirty (30) working days from date of the confirmation of the decision.  


14. It is intended to review the operation of this policy after a period of 12 months from the date of implementation and annually thereafter.  

Human Resources

Acmhainní Daonna

Ground Floor, Block E, Food Science Building, UCC