1. Support Center
  2. Compa Index
  3. Methodology Detail: Pay Elements

Pay Element Detail: Bonuses

Compa Index Properties

Pay Element Also Known As... Time Period Definition
Ongoing Bonus Annual bonus, target bonus, cash incentive, short-term incentive Annual

Typically expressed as a percentage of base salary or as a target cash amount.
Representative of the organization's corporate bonus program where employees are eligible for an ongoing bonus, based on achievement of corporate and/or individual goals.
Sign-on Bonus New hire bonus, starting bonus, hiring bonus, signing bonus One-time

Typically expressed as a cash amount.
Used to attract employees with hard-to-find skills or as a way to make an employee "whole" if they are leaving money on the table from their previous employer.
Other One-Time Bonuses Relocation, milestone, spot, patent, referral, project, etc. One-time

Typically expressed as a cash amount.
Any one-time variable payment an organization might offer a candidate that is not covered by other defined pay elements.



The tables and information below highlight localization, prevalence and notes across global regions. Not all regions may have data available for specific pay elements and/or countries, and not all countries may be represented in Compa Index at this time.

Information is representative of aggregate regional findings as country-specific prevalence for Sign-on and Other One-Time bonuses is rare. To the extent localized data is available, it will be included on a country-by-country basis.

Information has been vetted with compensation professionals, however we always recommend you confirm requirements with your organization's local, in-country experts.

NORTH AMERICA (Includes Canada and the United States)

Pay Element Localization Prevalence Notes
Ongoing Bonus % of base salary or target cash amount Typical; eligibility based on career level Typically paid once, annually
Sign-on Bonus % of base salary or amount Occasional Typically paid over 1 year; some orgs may have longer payout requirements
Other One-Time Bonus Amount Occasional Typically one-time payment





Have questions? Feel free to reach out to our Support team for help!