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Performance Management Performance Management FAQs

  • 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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  • It depends on the provisions the agency chooses to use in taking the performnace-based action. If the agency uses the appraisal provisions, an opportunity period must be provided. If the agency uses the adverse action provisions, there is no specific requirement for an opportunity period.
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  • No. Case law establishes that performance elements and standards are nonnegotiable based on management's rights to direct employees and assign work through the establishment of performance plans.
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  • If neither the performance standards nor the retention level communicated to the employee at the start of the PIP have changed, the agency should be able to proceed with the opportunity period or PIP. However, a substantive change in standards or the retention level would require that the current PIP end.
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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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  • The modal rating is the latest rating of record summary level given most often within a single pattern to the employees in a specified group that is no smaller than the competitive area and no larger than the agency undergoing a reduction in force. It is important that the employees undergoing a reduction in force understand the basis used to determine the modal rating.
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  • 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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  • Governmentwide regulations specify three types of performance elements:
    • critical elements
    • non-critical elements
    • additional performance elements
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  • An agency program must specify the length of its minimum period and that minimum must fall within any limits established by the agency appraisal system.  When an agency decides to use the minimum period as the length of the opportunity period, the minimum period is one of the program features that may be subject to third-party review.  Agencies are advised to be careful in determining the time limits to be used and avoid setting minimum periods that might be judged unreasonably short.
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  • Yes. OPM encourages agencies to hold supervisors accountable for fulfilling their performance management responsibilities. Agencies often establish elements and standards in the raters' performance plans to hold them accountable for the performance management of their subordinates.
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  • An agency may not hold an employee accountable for work that does not get done because of an absence for which the employee is on any type of approved leave. If there is a specific performance standard for the appraisal year, it may be prorated for the amount of time the employee was at work.
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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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  • Yes. The requirements dealing with electronic signatures are:
    • the signal or symbol must be unique to the signer
    • the "signature" must be capable of being verified and must be linked to the data being transmitted, including the effective date
    • control features must be in place to insure the authenticity of data on the form, including the electronic signature
    • such controls must provide reasonable assurance that deliberate or inadvertent manipulation, modification or loss of data on the electronically stored form is detected
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  • No. OPM must review and approve the agency's appraisal system, which sets out the limits within which all the agency's programs must be developed.  OPM must approve the appraisal system before any appraisal program developed under the system can be implemented.
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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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  • 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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  • 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.  Agencies must not grant individual cash awards for nonuse of sick leave. The intent of awards law and regulations is to recognize employee's noteworthy performance. A Comptroller General (CG) decision reaffirmed that sick leave cash incentive programs are inappropriate. The CG ruled that sick leave is a statutory entitlement available to Government employees and, therefore, cash incentives for its nonuse are improper.
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  • Performance at the individual level means the accomplishment of outputs and work processes for which the employee can be held individually accountable. Because failure of a critical element can result in an employee's reduction in grade or removal, critical elements would measure those outputs/outcomes and processes over which the employee is expected or intended to have control and exercise authority.
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  • The term has no precise definition in policy or practice, but "forced distribution" generally is associated with the idea of limiting awards to a certain number or percentage of employees. Relative comparisons among individuals or groups, such as rank ordering or categorizing employees, can be used for making decisions about distributing awards. For example, agencies may limit awards to the top three producers or teams, or limit awards to those individuals or groups that exceeded certain goals. Agencies can also establish criteria for categories of awards that are given only to a selected number of recipients who best fit the criteria, although the criteria might have been met by more than one person or team.
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Total Count: 135, Number of Pages: 7, Page: 3
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