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The University of Cambridge normally operates an annual Contribution Reward Scheme for Academic-Related and Assistant staff in grades 1 to 11. However, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the University's financial situation, the 2021 scheme will only be available to Assistant staff in grades 1 to 5.  In addition, eligible employees will only be able to apply for Single Contribution Payments.

Single Contribution Payments (for one-off/time limited contribution)

This is the award of a one-off payment.  For the running of this scheme it may either be awarded as:

  • recognition of an individual employee's contribution in respect of a specific task of project; or
  • recognition of an individual's personal contribution which has been over and above what would normally be expected in the role, particularly in relation to the challenges we have faced due to COVID-19.

This year, team awards which are ordinarily paid at 2% of base salary will not be available.  Nominations for teams that have performed exceptionally well can still be made, but each eligible member of the team must be nominated individually.

Awards will be paid at 3% of base salary.

The assessment of the application should be relative to the individual's grade, and to the contribution of other members of staff in the same Institution.

It should be noted that Single Contribution Payments are not to be used to reward temporary acting-up to a higher grade, which should be recompensed through an Additional Responsibility Payment.

To be eligible to apply for Single Contribution Payments employees must:

  • be Assistant staff in grades 1–5 (at any salary point associated with their grade);
  • have been in their post performing their duties at the current grade for at least 3 months prior to 1 January 2021;
  • be employed at the point the Single Contribution Payment is paid (i.e. employees who have left the University, or are due to leave the University prior to March 2021, are no longer eligible to receive an award)


Please note, if any applicants do not meet any of these criteria, they will not receive an award under this scheme.


Any eligible staff who may have been furloughed during 2020 will still be eligible to apply for this scheme.

Guidance documents

Guidance documents for the following groups have been created:

The Reference documents page also contains the application form and cost calculators.

Launching the scheme

The Contribution Reward Scheme will be launched by email from the Interim Director of HR, to Awarding Authorities.  Eligibility listings and MI will be distributed to Awarding Authorities and Institutions shortly after the launch email.

Awarding Authorities then need to set their own timeframes, and communicate the launch to Institutions, who in turn will set deadlines for applications to be submitted. 

Once Institutions have decided on the deadlines, they will communicate with staff (using the template letters), informing them of the launch and the relevant deadlines. 

Timeframes for 2021 scheme

Date Action
Thursday 1 October 2020

Human Resources distributes listings of staff eligible for the Contribution Reward Scheme via burst reports to nominated burst report recipients.

HR Reward distributes Management Information to HR Business Managers for cascade as appropriate.

As soon as possible Awarding Authorities inform institutions that the scheme has been launched, and the deadline for submissions
As soon as possible Institutions circulate details of the scheme to staff, confirming the deadline for proposals to be submitted
By deadline set by Institution

Individuals submit cases by completing Part 1 of PD30b (for single contribution payments).

Line Managers review applications and complete Part 2 of the PD30b (for Single Contribution Payments) form, and submit it per the Institutional instructions.

By deadline set by Awarding Authority Institutions complete Part 2 of PD30b, and submit both supported and unsupported applications to the relevant Awarding Authority
By Friday 5 February 2021 Awarding Authorities agree outcomes, confirm to Heads of Institutions. Awarding Authorities then complete the summary of applications pro-forma and submit to
By Friday 19 February 2021 HR Reward will review the submissions, and raise any queries as appropriate
By Friday 19 March 2021 Heads of Institutions write to staff with the outcome of their Contribution Reward Scheme applications
March 2021 payroll Human Resources implements awards