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Frequently Asked Questions Performance Management

  • Yes. However, agencies must be aware there are Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) implications when they directly link award amounts to specific ratings. When an agency predetermines an award amount or guarantees an award payment for a specific rating, the award is considered nondiscretionary. Nondiscretionary awards must be included in total remuneration and impact the calculation of overtime payments.
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  • The possible effect of performance-based additional service credit is most likely to appear in the second round of the reduction in force process, when employees exercise their bump (into positions held by employees in lower tenure groups for which they meet the basic qualification standard) and retreat (to previously held positions) rights.  Even at this stage, experience suggests that the performance-based additional service credit often has no impact on the actual final result of the reduction in force.
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  • It depends on the type of award granted. For the most part, compensation-related information in the Federal Government is a matter of public record or obtainable under the Freedom of Information Act. Generally, this includes award payments except for rating-based awards. Agencies may not disclose award amounts if doing so could reveal the recipient's rating of record, which is protected information under the Privacy Act. For information on specific situations, contact your Office of General Counsel or Privacy Officer.
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  • No.  The Governmentwide regulations permit non-critical elements to have a greater weight in determining the final summary level.  However, if performance on any critical element is appraised as Unacceptable, a Level 1 summary must be assigned and performance on a non-critical element can not be used to raise that summary above Level 1, no matter the weight it might receive in other circumstances.
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  • No. A rating of record does not change when an employee moves to another agency or organization, whether or not they use a different summary pattern. However, an employee will not know how many years of additional service credit will be given for a specific rating of record until an agency is getting ready to run a reduction in force.
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  • Yes.  Agencies may use any procedures they deem appropriate for considering performance when granting awards and taking other personnel actions, with the following exceptions:  assigning additional service credit in a reduction in force and granting within-grade increases for General Schedule employees and prevailing rate system employees, which are tied to ratings of record and performance ratings respectively.
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  • The minimum period is the shortest length of time established by the agency that an employee must perform under assigned elements and standards before a performance rating can be prepared.  The appraisal period is length of time designated by the agency (usually one year) that is the basis for the rating of record.
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  • No. The circumstances appropriate for the use of compensatory time are not generally appropriate for a time-off award. Compensatory time is authorized in exchange for hours worked in excess of the employee's regular work schedule. Awarding time off instead of compensatory time violates the incentive awards concept of recognizing exceptional performance, as opposed to compensating for extended work schedules.
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  • In some limited circumstances merchandise items could be used as an honorary award or informal recognition award. Merchandise may be used for awards purposes if and only if the item meets the criteria for an honorary award or an informal recognition award. Agencies need to be aware that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) considers merchandise to be a taxable fringe benefit that must be taxed on its fair market value. Further questions on taxable fringe benefits should be directed to the IRS.
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  • Agencies are encouraged to involve employees in the design and implementation of their appraisal programs, award programs, and employee performance plans.  Of course, where a union has been granted exclusive recognition, such involvement for bargaining unit employees must be through their elected union representatives.
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