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Governmentwide award regulations give agencies the flexibility to recognize Federal employees' contributions and to provide incentives for achieving organizational goals. Regulations provide agencies the authority to reward employees individually or as members of a group for a variety of contributions including, but not limited to, suggestions, individual specific accomplishments, performance ratings of records, and group accomplishments. Each agency designs its own awards program to support its specific mission and meet its needs.
Agencies must report their awards data to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Central Personnel Data File (CPDF)/Enterprise Human Resources Integration (EHRI). This trend analysis uses these sources.
OPM tracks awards granted to Federal employees of Executive Branch agencies and issues annual reports of agency awards activities on a fiscal year basis. The Nature of Action Codes (NOAC) used to report awards data were changed at the beginning of Fiscal Year 2001. This report focuses on the use of cash awards from fiscal years 2001 through 2007, when the NOACs were changed again effective in January 2007, and in addition to a reminder from OPM highlights findings on —
Total spending is calculated as the percentage of the agency's overall salary budget that was spent on employee awards. Governmentwide, agencies have operated the awards program with a conservative awards budget well under 2 percent of total salaries. The chart below illustrates how spending as a percent of total salaries has fluctuated over the time period addressed.
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The average award amount is calculated based on the total amount spent on awards divided by the total number of awards reported. The data show a slow but steady increase in the average award amount while the percent of spending has fluctuated slightly over the same time period.
This statistic is calculated by dividing the number of awards reported by an estimate of the relevant eligible employee population for the fiscal year. OPM calculates a "rate of awards granted per 100 employees" rather than the percentage of employees who received awards because, for some types of awards, an individual employee may receive more than one award in a year.
Governmentwide, agencies have remained consistent in their approach to granting cash awards. The following chart shows how the types of awards granted changed very little over this period of time.
Overwhelmingly, agencies grant employees "Individual Cash" awards, which consist of both rating-based awards and awards for specific accomplishments (often referred to as special act or service awards).
OPM provides this information as a statistical snapshot only and it is not intended as a recommendation on how to allocate funds in your awards program. Governmentwide averages often mask differences found in agency programs and should not be used as benchmarks. Agencies should evaluate their programs periodically to ensure compliance and effectiveness so that desired results are achieved.