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Performance Management Performance Management FAQs

  • 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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  • 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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  • No. The level designators (Level 1, Level 2, Level 3, Level 4, Level 5) described in Governmentwide regulations address summary levels only. An agency appraisal program can be designed to appraise elements using a mix of rating levels. For example, critical elements might be appraised at five levels and non-critical elements appraised as pass/fail. A methodology for deriving a summary rating must be in place, however. Agencies have flexibility to determine how their elements are appraised and their particular program design choices that agencies and their subcomponents make should reflect their own situations and needs.
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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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  • 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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  • There should be no significant difference between managing the performance of a teleworker and managing the employee who works in the office.
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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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  • No.  The statute requires that each employee be appraised against his or her performance standard(s).  It does not allow for appraising an employee by "presuming" that an employee is meeting performance standards.  For the same reason, the process for appraising employees described by the regulations does not provide for any "assumed" levels of performance.
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  • If the proposed program covers bargaining unit employees, the agency is obligated to notify the union and afford it the opportunity to negotiate on the impact and implementation of the appraisal program. In addition to the agency's legal requirements, OPM encourages agencies to involve employees in the design and implementation of their appraisal program.
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  • The law intends critical elements to be used to establish individual accountability.  This restriction is clearest for non-supervisory employees who may be serving as team members.  Consequently, critical elements generally are not appropriate for identifying and measuring team performance, which by its definition involves shared accountability. A supervisor or manager can and should be held accountable for seeing that results measured at the group or team level are achieved.  Critical elements assessing group performance may be appropriate to include in the performance plan of a supervisor, manager or team leader who can reasonably be expected to command the resources and authority necessary to achieve the results (i.e., be held individually accountable). However, agencies can use other ways to factor team performance into ratings of record or other performance-related decisions, such as granting awards.  One approach to bringing team performance into the process of deriving a rating of record, and certainly to the process of distributing recognition and rewards, is to establish team performance goals within the team members' performance plans as either non-critical or additional performance elements.
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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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  • In designing their award programs, agencies have a responsibility to look beyond the award regulations themselves and make sure that the specific reward and incentive programs that are being proposed do not conflict with other laws or regulations. Examples of other rules that can be directly related to incentive/reward schemes are procurement, travel, Fair Labor Standards Act, and tax withholding. These compliance issues surface most often when we are asked to review an agency's proposal for an innovative award scheme.
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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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  • No. Regulations do not require that the appraisal period be ended to change appraisal programs. However, agencies need to remember that the regulations permit only a single rating of record in a given appraisal period.
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  • Non-critical elements are not required but, if used, they must be expressed as elemenst and standards, be included in the employee's performance plan, and be used in assigning a summary level for the rating of record. However, non-critical elements cannot be used as a basis for taking a performance-based action. Other features of non-critical elements:
    • they cannot be used in two-level appraisal programs (i.e., pass/fail)
    • they can be given more weight than critical elements when assigning a summary level above "Unacceptable" (Level 1)
    • they must have a performance standard written for at least one level, the written standard need not describe the "Fully Successful" or equivalent level
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  • Yes. OPM must approve any cash award over $10,000 up to $25,000. Awards over $25,000 must be submitted through OPM for the President's approval. The Department of Defense and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) may approve awards up to $25,000.  (SES performance awards and Presidential rank awards for SES and SL/ST employees have their own requirements).
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  • Technically, no. However, agencies need to consider carefully the effect that switching to a different pattern of summary levels may have on employee expectations regarding performance appraisal results and their related consequences. Such expectations are established at the beginning of the appraisal period.
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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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  • When the rating of record is completed at the end of the appraisal period, a summary level must be assigned.  A summary level can be determined at any time agencies deem appropriate and specify in their appraisal programs (e.g., performance rating, progress review).  However, the ways in which summary levels are applied (e.g., granting within-grade increases and additional service credit in a reduction in force) are always in the context of the rating of record.
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  • No. Prizes cannot be granted under law and regulation governing awards. The awards law does not support including the element of chance (e.g., as it occurs with a raffle drawing) in an employee awards program.
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Total Count: 135, Number of Pages: 7, Page: 5
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