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Frequently Asked Questions Performance Management

  • Only cash and time-off awards must be reported to the Enterprise Human Resources Integration (EHRI). However, if an agency grants a cash stipend or honorarium with an honorary award, it should report that cash payment to the EHRI. For additional information on how to report cash awards to the EHRI and refer to Guide to Processing Personnel Actions.
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  • Agencies may present such certificates and vouchers if they are being used as informal recognition awards. Merchant gift certificates should not be confused with cash surrogates (which are vouchers or checks that can be easily and widely redeemable for cash, not merchandise). Gift certificates usually are given when the intent is to give something but let the recipient make the final choice. Merchandise certificates cannot meet a cash surrogate's criterion of being easily negotiable because of limitations on where, how, and for what they may be redeemed. Gift certificates fail to meet the criteria for honorary awards because they convey a clear monetary value and cannot be characterized as symbolizing the employer-employee relationship. Consequently, the only circumstance where a gift certificate may be used to recognize an employee contribution is as an informal recognition award, which may not exceed nominal value. Agencies also need to be aware that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) considers gift certificates to be taxable fringe benefits that must be taxed on their fair market value. The face value of a gift certificate would be considered its fair market value. Further questions on taxable fringe benefits should be directed to the IRS.
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  • Yes. There are some award restrictions regarding political appointees depending on the nature of their appointment. Non-career SES members are not eligible for performance awards or Presidential Rank Awards. In addition, non-career SES and employees in confidential or policy-determining Schedule C positions may not receive awards during a Presidential election period (June 1 of a Presidential election year through January 20 of the following year). Meanwhile, PAS appointees (employees appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate) may not receive awards at any time.
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  • The importance of team performance can be emphasized through the creation of appropriate awards.  Where goals are reasonably stable, measurable and achievable, agencies may wish to establish incentive awards that are granted on the basis of achieving team performance objectives or sharing savings from gains in team efficiency and productivity among team members.
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  • Yes. Regulations allow agencies to grant non-GS employees rating-based awards if the employees are covered by the awards regulations and not otherwise covered by a separate statute that authorizes rating-based awards (e.g., members of the Senior Executive Service).
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  • Yes. OPM believes it is possible to develop a critical element and standard that holds a supervisor, manager, or team leader responsible for group performance. The element and standard would have to be crafted carefully so that it identifies measurable achievements that would be expected to result when the individual supervisor, manager, or team leader properly exercises his or her leadership responsibilities.
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  • Yes. When submitting status and dynamics files, agencies must submit three pieces of rating of record data to OPM's EHRI for each individual record:   the summary level the pattern of the program that the rating was given under the ending date of the rating's associated appraisal period
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  • Yes. OPM regulations require agencies to train rating officials on performance management topics (including developing performance plans, providing feedback, appraising and rewarding performance).
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  • No.  Higher-level review of ratings of record above Level 1 is not a Governmentwide requirement.  However, agencies may decide that higher-level review is a good practice and provides a measure of fairness.
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  • Honorary awards represent symbolic formal recognition. Items presented as honorary awards must meet all of the following criteria: The item must be something that the recipient could reasonably be expected to value, but not something that conveys a sense of monetary value. The item must have a lasting trophy value. The item must clearly symbolize the employer-employee relationship in some fashion. The item must take an appropriate form to be used in the public sector and to be purchased with public funds.
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