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The Office of Personnel Management is changing the nature of action codes used to report awards data to the Central Personnel Data File. Following is the text of the memorandum communicating these changes to agencies through their Directors of Personnel. Included is the information from the attachment to the memorandum explaining the background behind the changes and what agencies have to do.
HENRY ROMEROASSOCIATE DIRECTORFOR WORKFORCE COMPENSATION AND PERFORMANCECAROL J. OKINASSOCIATE DIRECTORFOR MERIT SYSTEMS OVERSIGHT AND EFFECTIVENESS
To improve the quality of awards data and to make data input to the Central Personnel Data File (CPDF) easier and more reliable, we are changing the CPDF reporting requirements for awards. As you know, even though the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) no longer requires SF-50s for awards, other than SES rank awards, we still require agencies to report their awards data to the CPDF. We developed these changes to the requirements and CPDF codes in conjunction with a working group of agency representatives which you helped us establish.
The principal revision to awards processing involves changing most of the award nature of action codes (NOACs), i.e., the unique numerical codes that identify, for statistical and data processing purposes, particular personnel actions (e.g., appointments, promotions, or awards) that agencies report to the CPDF. In addition, the revisions will simplify reporting requirements by:
The new requirements will affect awards that are effective on or after October 1, 2000. We believe this effective date should give agencies sufficient lead time to make necessary changes to their procedures and systems. Please note that these changes should not necessarily affect any of the award programs you already have in place or may be in the process of developing. They only affect the codes that are used to report the awards to CPDF.
An attachment to this memo provides greater detail about these changes and their implications for processing award actions and reporting them to the CPDF. It includes more in-depth explanation about the specific changes, suggestions to facilitate efficient and accurate data input, and a side-by-side comparison of the current and new awards categories with their respective NOACs and a brief explanation of each change. Of course, OPM will issue further reminders, guidance, and instructions to our awards and systems contacts as the effective date draws nearer.
These changes to NOACs, as well as other emerging issues in the awards area (e.g., Fair Labor Standards Act implications of granting discretionary awards vs. non-discretionary awards, accommodating case-by-case waivers of the requirement to pay awards by electronic funds transfer) may well create a need for agencies to redesign award forms and procedures. Staff of the Workforce Compensation and Performance Service's Performance Management and Incentive Awards Division will continue to work with agency awards contacts, and provide appropriate guidance to assist such redesign efforts.
We will notify the appropriate members of the human resources community of these changes and share these materials with them. We all share an interest in streamlining paperwork and increasing the understandability and integrity of the awards data that OPM reports to agencies and, as requested, to OMB, Congress, and the public. We appreciate your willingness to have your representatives work together to assure that sensible solutions are developed to serve all our needs.
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To improve data accuracy and simplify data input, OPM will change the CPDF reporting requirements for awards that are effective on or after October 1, 2000.
The Current Situation: Using Nature of Action Codes, Legal Authority Codes and the "Individual/Group Award" Data Element
Current nature of action codes (NOACs) for reporting incentive awards (other than SES rank awards) granted under chapter 45 of title 5, United States Code, to the Central Personnel Data File (CPDF) are based on the following awards categories:
The changes to these awards NOACs and reporting requirements described here do not affect the required CPDF reporting of SES performance or rank awards. Agencies will continue to report SES awards as usual, using NOAC 878 for SES rank awards and NOAC 879 for SES performance awards. Also, we have not changed CPDF reporting requirements for separation incentive payments or for recruitment or relocation bonuses.
In addition to NOACs, the CPDF lets us use legal authority codes (LACs) and the "individual/group award" data element to break down different types of awards within a single NOAC category. For example, CPDF records with NOAC 877, Special Act or Service Award, can be identified by using a varying combination of LACs and "individual/group award" values as:
Given the variety of specific awards programs that agencies have implemented, many of these subcategories overlap. As a result, agencies waste time determining which category and codes are correct, and resulting data are not as accurate as they should be. Consequently, in addition to replacing the current nature of action codes 872 - 877 and 885, we have decided to eliminate the legal authority codes used with those NOACs exclusively, as well as two awards-related data elements reported to CPDF (i.e., "benefit amount" and "individual/group award").
New NOACs for Awards Effective On or After October 1, 2000
Awards with an effective date of October 1, 2000, or later will be reported to CPDF using new NOACs for eight new awards categories:
840 Individual Cash
841 Group Cash
842 Individual Suggestion/Invention (only those recognized with cash)
843 Group Suggestion/Invention (only those recognized with cash)
844 Foreign Language Awards (always given to individuals as cash; only authorized for law enforcement officers as defined by statute)
845 Travel Savings Incentive (always given to individuals as cash; only allowed in agencies that have established travel savings incentive programs)
846 Individual Time Off
847 Group Time Off
To determine the correct nature of action code, data-input personnel must be able to determine:
The following table illustrates how the new awards categories and these three simple questions will make it easier to determine the correct nature of action code.
The following table contains a side-by-side comparison of the current and new awards categories, their respective NOACs, and a brief explanation of each change.
Performance (i.e., Rating-Based) Award(NOAC 885 )
Special Act or Service Award(NOAC 877)