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Performance Management Performance Management FAQs

Awards - Non Rating Based

  • Yes. An employee may receive both an award based on a rating of record and an award based on a specific contribution in a single year. The most important factor in deciding whether to grant multiple awards is that the total value of the awards must be commensurate with the value to the organization of the accomplishment recognized. In addition, agencies must ensure they comply with all applicable requirements, including OPM approval of awards over $10,000.
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  • Yes. Governmentwide awards regulations allow agencies to use the incentive awards authority to establish a referral bonus program that provides incentives to employees who bring new talent into the agency. Each agency must determine whether using referral bonuses is appropriate for their agency. If an agency decides to establish a referral bonus program, it must establish the criteria it will use to determine when an employee would receive a referral bonus. (For more information see our Criteria for Referral Bonuses.)
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  • The agency is accountable for ensuring that the referral bonus program does not violate the merit principles or EEO legal requirements including broad public awareness of job openings; recruitment from appropriate sources to seek a work force drawn from all segments of society; and hiring selections based solely on relative ability, knowledge, and skills after a fair and open competition that assures equal opportunity to all candidates.
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  • No, the prohibitions contained in the criminal code do not bar agencies from providing referral bonuses to employees who have referred potential job applicants. An opinion from the Office of Legal Counsel, Department of Justice, states that the prohibitions in the criminal code seek to prevent candidates for federal employment from having to pay influence-peddlers or employment agencies to obtain government positions (13 Op. Off. Legal Counsel 277, 1989).
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  • An employee who meets the agency-established criteria for such a bonus, whose official duties do not include recruitment, and who is not involved in any way in the selection of the referred individual would be eligible for a referral bonus. Also, an employee cannot refer a relative, as defined by 5 U.S.C. 3110(a)(3).
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