Employee Referral Bonus Pilot Program Policy

This policy provides agencies with the ability to provide referral bonuses in the following circumstances.

The referral bonus, effective February 15, 2023, is available only to employees in certain classifications that OSHR — at the request of the agency — deems critical, in high demand and hard to fill, and suitable for a referral bonus program.  This program will be available for some jobs at the University of North Carolina System and its institutions.  Initially, OSHR anticipates making this pilot program available only to certain types of positions that are subject to the State Human Resources Act, as stated below:

  • Law enforcement employees at any agency that requests to participate in the program.
  • Correctional officers working in adult corrections in the Department of Public Safety or the Department of Adult Corrections
  • Nurse positions at the Department of Health and Human Services

The bonus is paid to an employee who refers another employee who is hired to an eligible type of position at the same agency.  (For example, a DPS employee could receive a referral bonus for referring another employee to DPS law enforcement, but he or she could not receive a referral bonus for referring someone to UNC law enforcement or to Adult Corrections.)  For the referring employee to receive the bonus, the referred candidate must be hired by the agency and must remain an employee at the agency for at least 90 days.

There are several important conditions for the program.

  • To receive the bonus, the referring employee must have no active disciplinary actions.
  • To receive the bonus, the referring employee must not be involved in deciding who is hired or selected for the position.  Similarly, the referring employee must not directly or indirectly be above the referred candidate in the management chain. 
  • The referred candidate cannot be an immediate family member of the referring employee.
  • The bonuses are available only if the referred candidate has not been an employee of the agency for at least one year.
  • The referral bonus is not available if the referred employee is a candidate currently under consideration, or if the referred employee already has an active job application on file with the agency.

The agency sets the size of the referral bonus.  No bonus can be greater than $1,000.  Agencies may set different referral bonus amounts for different classifications.  No employee can receive more than five referral bonuses under this policy per fiscal year.  See the policy for the full details