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Performance Management Legal Citations

Guide to Legal Citations

The information contained in this website is based on title 5, United States Code, and title 5, Code of Federal Regulations. In an effort to help you locate the legal authority for topics related to employee performance and awards, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management has compiled the common performance management topics. The first column of each table lists the topic and other words commonly used to refer to these topics. The middle column presents a description of each topic. Use this description to determine if you would like to access the full legal citation.

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Topics
TopicDescriptionLegal Citation
Additional Performance Element
  • Goals
  • Stretch goals
  • Extra credit
A type of performance element that does not affect the summary rating level but can be used to help focus employees on goals and achievements that are important to the organization. 5 CFR 430.203 (definitions)

5 CFR 430.206(b)
Additional Service Credit
  • Crediting performance in a RIF
  • Performance in RIF
  • RIF credit
  • Performance credit
  • Retention credit
Additional years of service credit added to an employee's actual years of service when determining retention in a reduction in force. The credit is usually based on the 3 most recent ratings of record within the last 4 years. 5 CFR 351.504

5 CFR 430.208(d)(5)
Appraisal
  • Assessment
  • Evaluation
  • Rating performance
The evaluation of performance in comparison to the elements and standards in an employee's performance plan. 5 CFR 430.203 (definitions)

5 CFR 430.207(b)

5 CFR 430.208(b)
Appraisal Period
  • Appraisal cycle
The period of time covered by a specific performance plan during which performance will be evaluated against elements and standards and for which a rating of record will be prepared. 5 CFR 430.203 (definitions)

5 CFR 430.206
Appraisal Program The specific procedures and requirements established by the organization for evaluating employee performance. 5 CFR 430.203 (definitions)

5 CFR 430.205
Appraisal System (for operating procedures see appraisal program) The agency-established framework of policies and parameters within which performance appraisal programs are designed. The Office of Personnel Management reviews and approves appraisal systems. 5 CFR 430.203 (definitions)

5 CFR 430.204

5 CFR 430.209(a)

5 U.S.C. 4301(2)
Appraisal System Approval
  • System approval
  • OPM approval
The review of an agency's established parameters and flexibilities to ensure that they comport with the intent of law and regulations. An agency must submit a description of its appraisal system to OPM for approval, using OPM Form 1631. 5 CFR 430.209

5 CFR 430.210
Appraising Official
  • Rating Official
  • Rater
The person who evaluates an employee's performance and assigns the element rating(s) and rating of record. 5 CFR 430.207(b)

5 CFR 430.208(b)
Award
  • Gainsharing
  • Goalsharing
  • Honorary Award
  • Incentive
  • Informal Recognition
  • Merchandise Awards
  • Nonmonetary Awards
  • Recognition
  • Reward
Something given or a ceremony or event held to recognize someone either as an individual or a member of a group for a specific achievement that the agency values, or as payment of a promised incentive that is often based on predetermined criteria such as productivity or performance goals. 5 CFR 451.102 (definitions)

5 CFR 451.104(a)-(c)
Awards Limitations
  • Limits
  • Prohibitions
  • Restrictions
Awards in excess of $10,000 per individual must be approved by the Office of Personnel Management. Awards in excess of $25,000 require Presidential approval.

Awards may not be given during a Presidential election period (June 1 of an election year to January 20 of the following year) to certain employees in the excepted service or the non-career Senior Executive Service.

Cash awards may not be given to employees in certain Executive level positions when appointed by the President with Senate confirmation.
5 CFR 451.106(b)

5 U.S.C. 4502(b)

5 CFR 451.105

5 U.S.C. 4508

5 CFR 451.105

5 U.S.C. 4509
Cash Award
  • Bonus
  • Variable Pay
A lump-sum payment made to an employee in recognition of an achievement or as payment of an incentive. 5 CFR 451.104(a)-(c)

5 U.S.C. 4503
Critical Element
  • Contribution
  • Critical incidents
  • Critical results
  • Expectations
  • Objectives
  • Performance elements
Those aspects of a job for which an employee can be held individually accountable and that must be done successfully in order for the organization to complete its mission. 5 CFR 430.203 (definitions)

5 CFR 430.206(b)
Employee Involvement
  • Union representation
Seeking and including employee ideas and opinions in the development of awards programs, performance systems and programs, and employee performance plans. 5 CFR 430.204(c)

5 CFR 430.205(d)

5 CFR 430.206(b)(1)
Forced Distribution
  • Peer comparison
  • Ranking
  • Quotas
Limitation on the use of particular summary appraisal levels. This practice is prohibited when doing performance ratings or ratings of record. 5 CFR 430.208(c)
Government Performance and Results Act
  • GPRA
  • Results Act
Law requiring agencies to set organizational goals pertinent to the agency mission as well as means to accurately measure them. Such goals should be cascaded through the organization and linked to the development of employee elements and standards. 1993 Government Performance and Results Act
Invention Award An award given for an invention developed by one or more employees. May take the form of a cash, honorary, informal recognition, or time-off award. 5 CFR 451.104(a)
Marginal Performance The level of performance below "Fully Successful" but above "Unacceptable" that is sufficient to be retained in the position. However, agencies should assist employees to improve their performance whenever it falls below the "Fully Successful" level. 5 CFR 430.207(c)
Minimum Period The period of time specified in an organization's appraisal program that must be completed before a performance rating may be prepared. 5 CFR 430.207(a)
Monitoring Performance
  • Measuring performance
  • Ongoing appraisal
  • Providing feedback
  • Improving Performance
Reviewing employee performance to check progress and identify any problems. 5 CFR 430.207(b)
Non-critical Element Aspects of an employee's job that are not critical elements that the organization wants to have impact the summary rating level. Can include aspects of shared accountability, such as group or team elements. 5 CFR 430.203 (definitions)

5 CFR 430.206(b)
Performance Award
  • Rating-based award
  • Bonus
An award based on the employee's most recent rating of record of Level 3 (Fully Successful or equivalent) or higher. Performance awards may only take the form of cash. 5 CFR 451.104(a)

5 U.S.C. 4505(a)
Performance-Based Actions
  • 432 Actions
  • Reduction-in-grade
  • Removal
Allows for the reduction in grade or removal of an employee based solely on performance. 5 CFR, part 432

5 CFR 430.207(d)(2)

5 U.S.C. 4302(b)(6)
Performance Management The integrated processes of planning, monitoring, developing, rating, and rewarding employee performance. 5 CFR 430.102(a)
Performance Standards
  • Behaviors
  • Competencies
  • Contributions
  • Customer Service
  • Goals
  • Objectives
  • Outcomes
  • Quality
  • Results
  • Standards
The expression of how well an employee has to perform on the associated element in order to be appraised at a specific level. Standards should be attainable and verifiable. 5 CFR 430.203 (definitions)

5 CFR 430.204(a)(1)(i)

5 CFR 430.206(b)(7)

5 CFR 430.207(b)
Performance Plan The written or automated document that communicates to the employee what is expected in the job. The performance plan includes the critical and non-critical elements and standards, plus any additional elements, on which the employee will be evaluated. 5 CFR 430.203 (definitions)

5 CFR 430.206(b)
Performance Rating
  • Rating
  • Interim rating
  • Special rating
  • Off-cycle rating
Appraisals done at other times than at the end of the appraisal period. 5 CFR 430.203 (definitions)

5 CFR 430.208
Presidential Awards The President has the authority to grant awards to Federal employees. OPM must approve most cash awards over $10,000. The President approves all awards of more than $25,000. 5 CFR, part 451, subpart B

5 U.S.C. 4502 (b)

5 U.S.C. 4504

Progress Review
  • Interim Review
  • Mid-year review
  • Monitoring
  • Feedback
Communication with an employee about progress on the elements in the employee's performance plan. There is no limit on the number of progress reviews a supervisor can hold during a cycle, but at least one formal progress review is required. 5 CFR 430.203 (definitions)

5 CFR 430.207(b)
Quality Step Increase
  • Base pay award
  • QSI
  • Additional step increase
An increase in base pay given to recognize excellence in performance. Must be based on the highest rating level used by the appraisal program (Level 5, "Outstanding," if used), and meeting agency-established criteria when the program does not use Level 5. 5 CFR, part 531, subpart E

5 U.S.C. 5336
Rating of Record
  • Appraisal
  • Evaluation
  • Summary rating
The evaluation of an employee's performance as compared to the elements and standards for performance over the entire appraisal period. 5 CFR 430.203 (definitions)

5 CFR 430.208
Recordkeeping
  • Documentation
  • Employee Performance File (EPF)
  • Official Personnel Folder (OPF)
Instructions on how to record and report ratings of record and awards as well as how long to retain information in official files. 5 CFR 430.209(b), (e), and (f)
Reduction In Force Credit
  • Additional service credit
  • Performance in RIF
  • Performance credit
  • Retention credit
Additional years of service credit added to an employee's actual years of service when determining retention in a reduction in force. The credit is usually based on the 3 most recent ratings of record within the last 4 years. 5 CFR 351.504

5 CFR 430.208(d)(5)
Second Level Review
  • Higher Level Review
  • Approval
Review of a rating or award recommendation by someone at a higher level in the organization than the person recommending the rating or award. Required for "Unacceptable" ratings of record. Not required for other ratings of record or awards. 5 CFR 430.208(e)
Special Act or Service Award
  • Cash award
  • Honorary awards
  • Informal recognition
  • Nonmonetary award
  • On the Spot Award
An award given in recognition of an employee achievement or contribution or as payment as an employee incentive. May be given to individual employees or groups of employees. 5 CFR 451.104(a)

5 U.S.C. 4503
Suggestion Award An award granted to an employee or group of employees for an accepted suggestion. 5 CFR 451.104(a)
Summary Levels
  • Levels 1-5
  • Unacceptable level
  • Fully Successful level
  • Pass/Fail (two-level)
  • Outstanding level
The designators assigned to the summarization of the element appraisals of employee performance done by comparing actual performance to the elements and standards in the employee's performance plan. 5 CFR 430.208(b) and (d)
Summary Pattern
  • Patterns A-H
The aggregation of summary appraisal levels used in a particular appraisal program. Each pattern must include summary Levels 1 ("Unacceptable") and 3 ("Fully Successful"). 5 CFR 430.208(d)
Superior Accomplishment Award
  • Performance Award
  • Rating-Based Award
An award based on the employee's most recent rating of record of Level 3 (Fully Successful or equivalent) or higher. Performance awards may only take the form of cash. 5 CFR 451.104(a)
Time-off Award An award given to an employee or group of employees that takes the form of paid time off. May be based on performance as reflected in a rating of record or as a specific contribution. 5 CFR 451.104(a) and (f)

5 U.S.C. 4502(e)
Within-grade Increase
  • Step increase
  • WGI or WIGI
  • Pay progression
A periodic increase in an employee's pay based upon a Level 3 (Fully Successful or equivalent) or higher rating of record and completion of specific waiting periods. The General Schedule method of pay progression within an employee's current grade. 5 CFR, part 531, subpart D

5 U.S.C. 5335

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