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370.451.1 - On-the-Spot Awards

4/20/92

OPR: Admin/Office of Personnel

1. Purpose. This chapter establishes the policy and procedures for recommending and granting on-the-spot awards in the Geological Survey.

2. Authority. This chapter is established in accordance with the provisions of Title 5 Code of Federal Regulations 451, Federal Personnel Manual Chapter 451, Federal Personnel Management Letter 451-9, Federal Personnel Management Bulletin 451-26, and 370 DM 451.

3. Policy. It is the policy of the Geological Survey to use on-the-spot awards to provide immediate recognition to employees who, by their noteworthy performance and accomplishments, contribute significantly to the mission of the Geological Survey.

4. Definitions.

A. Approving Official is the employee's second-level supervisor, who has the authority to approve on-the-spot awards.

B. On-the-spot Award is an award ranging in net amount from $50 to $250 (in $25 increments) that provides immediate ("on-the-spot") recognition to employees. An on-the-spot award recognizes noteworthy performance and accomplishments that contribute to the mission of the Geological Survey but are more limited in scope and of shorter duration than accomplishments that would normally be recognized with a performance award, special act award, or quality step increase.

C. Recommending Official is the employee's immediate supervisor, who has the authority to recommend on-the-spot awards.

5. Responsibilities.

A. Recommending officials are responsible for:

(1) Recommending deserving employees for on-the-spot awards and providing adequate documentation to support the granting of on-the-spot awards;

(2) Verifying with the appropriate administrative officer or funds control manager that funds are available for payment of on-the-spot awards;

(3) Presenting on-the-spot awards in a manner that promotes the timely recognition of employee performance; and

(4) Calling employees' attention to information on the reverse of the on-the-spot award form concerning calculation of gross and net award amounts and appropriate deductions.

B. Approving officials are responsible for:

(1) Reviewing on-the-spot award recommendations to ensure that the documentation is adequate to support the awards;

(2) Approving on-the-spot award recommendations that are adequately documented and returning those that are inadequately documented to the recommending official for additional documentation; and

(3) Publicizing the use of on-the-spot awards to subordinate supervisors.

C. Administrative Officers or Funds Control Managers are responsible for certifying to recommending officials that adequate funds are available for on-the-spot awards.

D. Servicing Personnel Offices are responsible for:

(1) Advising supervisors in the appropriate use of on-the-spot awards and the procedures for granting them;

(2) Assigning docket numbers to on-the-spot awards for internal control and reporting purposes;

(3) Preparing and transmitting required documents to the Bureau of Reclamation, Division of Payroll Operations;

(4) Reviewing on-the-spot awards after they have been granted and reporting any problems to division management;

(5) Processing the Standard Form 50 (Notification of Personnel Action) documenting on-the-spot awards and filing approved awards in the Employee Performance File;

(6) Reporting to division management on a monthly basis concerning on-the-spot awards granted; and

(7) Reporting to the bureau personnel office on a quarterly basis concerning on-the-spot awards granted.

E. Bureau Personnel Office is responsible for:

(1) Developing policy and guidance concerning on-the-spot awards;

(2) Monitoring and evaluating the operation of the on-the-spot awards program; and

(3) Reporting to the Department and the Office of Personnel Management, as required, concerning on-the-spot awards granted.

F. Office of Financial Management is responsible for entering into the Federal Financial System (FFS) on-the-spot awards paid by third-party draft or from an imprest fund and for providing to the servicing personnel offices on a biweekly basis the names of employees who have received on-the-spot awards paid by third-party draft or from an imprest fund.

G. Third-Party Draft/Imprest Fund Cashiers are responsible for disbursing payment for on-the-spot awards that are paid by third-party draft or from an imprest fund, in accordance with instructions provided by the Office of Financial Management.

H. Division of Payroll Operations (DPO), Bureau of Reclamation, is responsible for ordering checks from the Treasury Department for on-the-spot awards that are paid by Treasury check. In addition, DPO is responsible for entering the gross award amount of on-the-spot awards into the automated payroll system so that gross award amount, income tax and FICA/Medicare deductions, and adjusted net award amount are reflected on the employee's Leave and Earnings Statement and the gross award amount is included on the employee's Form W-2 for income tax purposes.

6. Criteria. On-the-spot awards are appropriately used to recognize employees who "go the extra mile" or who perform "above and beyond the call of duty." Accomplishments recognized through on-the-spot awards may be either within or outside the scope of an employee's normal duties. Examples of situations in which on-the-spot awards may be appropriate are those in which employees: produce exceptionally high quality work under tight deadlines; perform added or emergency assignments in addition to their regular duties; demonstrate exceptional courtesy or responsiveness in dealing with clients or colleagues; or exercise extraordinary initiative or creativity in addressing a critical need or difficult problem.

On-the-spot awards are intended to recognize noteworthy accomplishments that might go unrecognized under normal incentive awards procedures. Normally, the accomplishments recognized through on-the-spot awards are of limited scope (e.g., a single assignment) and short duration (1 to 2 weeks or less). Achievements that are broader in scope, take place over a longer period of time, or result in more substantial benefits should be recognized with a performance award, special act award, or quality step increase, as appropriate.

7. Eligibility. All employees except members of the Senior Executive Service are eligible for on-the-spot awards. An employee may receive no more than two on-the-spot awards in a fiscal year.

8. Award Amount.

A. On-the-spot awards range in net amount from $50 to $250 (in $25 increments). The amount of an on-the-spot award is determined by an employee's supervisor based on an assessment of the value of the employee's contribution.

B. The award amount recommended by the supervisor is the employee's "net" award. The supervisor uses the chart on the reverse of the Recommendation for On-the-Spot Award (Form 9-3031) to determine the "gross" award amount and the approximate deduction for income tax and FICA/Medicare.

C. For awards paid by third-party draft or from an imprest fund, the "net" award amount shown on the award form is the amount the employee actually receives. For awards paid by Treasury check, the award check the employee receives will be slightly higher or lower than the "net" award amount shown on the award form because the award check reflects the employee's actual deductions for FICA or Medicare rather than the approximate FICA/Medicare deduction shown on the award form.

D. On-the-spot awards will be reflected on the employee's Leave and Earnings Statement. The Leave and Earnings Statement will show the gross award amount; the employee's actual deductions for Federal income tax, State income tax (if applicable), and FICA or Medicare (as appropriate); and an adjusted net award amount, which represents the employee's gross award less the actual deductions. The employee's adjusted net award amount will vary slightly from the amount the employee actually received because the adjusted net award amount reflects the employee's actual deductions rather than an approximate amount. As a result, there will be a small adjustment in the employee's salary check to account for the difference. In most cases, the adjusted net award amount will be higher than the award the employee received, resulting in a slight increase in the employee's salary check.

E. Supervisors are responsible for verifying with the appropriate administrative officer or funds control manager that funds are available for the gross amount of the award. Supervisors are also responsible for calling the employee's attention to information on the reverse of the award form concerning calculation of the gross award amount, deductions for income tax and FICA/Medicare, and net award amount.

9. Payment of Award. On-the-spot awards will be paid by third-party draft, from an imprest fund, or by U.S. Treasury check, depending upon the location of the employee and supervisor. At locations that use third-party drafts, on-the-spot awards will be paid using a third-party draft. At locations that do not use third-party drafts but do have an imprest fund, on-the-spot awards will be paid in cash from the imprest fund. At locations that do not use third-party drafts and do not have an imprest fund, the awards will be paid by U.S. Treasury check, using an expedited check-ordering procedure. On-the-spot awards will be reflected on the employee's Leave and Earnings Statement and will be included on Form W-2 as part of the employee's earnings for income tax purposes.

10. Relationship to Other Awards. Receipt of an on-the-spot award does not preclude receipt of a performance award, special act award, or quality step increase during the same year. However, if the accomplishment for which an employee received an on-the-spot award is later included as part of the justification for a performance award or special act award, the amount of that award should be reduced in consideration of the fact that the employee has already received some monetary recognition for the accomplishment.

11. Documentation. On-the-spot awards must be supported by a brief statement (one paragraph) describing in specific terms the accomplishment for which the employee is being recognized. On-the-spot awards are documented on Form 9-3031, Recommendation for On-the-Spot Award. A sample form is provided in Appendix A; instructions for completing the form are provided on the reverse of the form.

12. Nomination/Approval. On-the-spot awards must be approved by an official at a higher level in the organization than the recommending official. On-the-spot awards are initiated by the employee's immediate supervisor (the recommending official), and they must be approved by the employee's second-level supervisor (the approving official).

13. Procedures.

A. To initiate an on-the-spot award, the recommending official:

(1) Contacts the appropriate administrative officer or funds control manager to verify that funds are available for the gross award amount and notes the name and date of the administrative office contact in the appropriate block on the Recommendation for On-the-Spot Award (Form 9-3031);

(2) Completes the "Employee Information" section of the award form and provides in the "Award Justification" block a brief statement describing in specific terms the accomplishment for which the employee is being recognized;

(3) Determines how the award will be paid (by third-party draft, imprest fund, or Treasury check), marks the appropriate block in the "Payment Information" section of the award form, and enters the account number from which award will be paid;

(4) Determines the appropriate "net" award amount (from $50 to $250 in $25 increments) based on the employee's contribution and enters that amount in the "net award amount" block on the award form;

(5) Uses the chart on the reverse of the award form (Figure 1) to determine the "gross" award amount and the approximate deduction for Federal/State income tax and FICA/Medicare, and enters those amounts in the designated blocks on the award form; and

(6) Signs and dates the award form and sends it to the approving official.

B. Upon receipt of an award recommendation, the approving official:

(1) Reviews the award to ensure that it is adequately documented (i.e., that it describes in specific terms the accomplishment for which the employee is being recognized) and that the employee is eligible for an on-the-spot award (i.e., that the employee has not previously received two on-the-spot awards during the current fiscal year);

(2) Signs and dates awards that are adequately documented and returns them to the recommending official; and

(3) Returns awards that are not adequately documented to the recommending official for additional documentation.

C. Upon receipt of an approved award, the recommending official:

(1) Notifies the servicing personnel office by telephone that the award has been approved, obtains a docket number for the award from the servicing personnel office, enters the docket number in the designated block on the award form, and notes the name and date of the personnel office contact in the appropriate block on the award form.

(2) Makes four copies of the approved award form and sends the original and one copy of the award to the servicing personnel office.

(3) Depending on how the award will be paid (by third-party draft, imprest fund, or Treasury check), follows the procedures described below to obtain and present the award to the employee.

(a) For awards that will be paid by third-party draft, the recommending official takes a copy of the approved award form to the third-party draft cashier, obtains a third-party draft for the net award amount, and presents the third-party draft and a copy of the approved award form to the employee. (The employee will cash the third-party draft.)

(b) For awards that will be paid from an imprest fund, the recommending official presents two copies of the approved award form to the employee. The employee will take one copy of the award form, along with a Government identification card (ID), to the imprest fund cashier to obtain cash for the net award amount.

(c) For awards that will be paid by Treasury check, the recommending official transmits a copy of the approved award to the servicing personnel office by telefax or express mail. (The personnel office will request a check from the Treasury Department through the Bureau of Reclamation, Division of Payroll Operations; the check will be mailed directly to the recommending official.) Upon receipt of the check from the Treasury Department, the recommending official notifies the servicing personnel office that the check has been received and presents the check and a copy of the approved award to the employee.

(4) Keeps a copy of the approved award for his/her records.

D. Upon receipt of the award from the recommending official, the servicing personnel office:

(1) Records the award, using the docket number previously provided to the recommending official.

(2) Depending upon how the award is to be paid (by third-party draft, imprest fund, or Treasury check), takes action as described below.

(a) For awards that will be paid by third-party draft or from an imprest fund, the personnel office prepares a Cash Award Summary Sheet and sends it to the Bureau of Reclamation, Division of Payroll Operations. A sample Cash Award Summary Sheet is provided as Figure 2.

(b) For awards that will be paid by Treasury check, the personnel office prepares a Request for Hardcopy Check and transmits it by telefax or express mail to the Bureau of Reclamation, Division of Payroll Operations. A sample Request for Hardcopy Check is provided as Figure 3.

(3) Reviews the award form to ensure that the employee was eligible for the award (i.e., that the employee has not previously received two on-the-spot awards during the current fiscal year), that the award recommendation was approved by an official at a higher level in the organization than the recommending official, and that the award amount did not exceed the $250 limitation, and reports any problems to appropriate division management.

(4) Prepares a Standard Form 50, Notification of Personnel Action to document the award. (Note: the SF 50 will reflect the gross award amount.)

(5) Files the original of the award recommendation in the employee's Employee Performance File and retains a copy for personnel office files.

(6)Reviews the biweekly listing of on-the-spot award recipients provided by the Office of Financial Management to ensure that a copy of the approved award form has been submitted for all on-the-spot awards granted.

(7) Brings to the attention of division management any problems with on-the-spot awards so that appropriate corrective action may be taken.

(8) Reports to local management on a monthly basis concerning on-the-spot awards granted.

(9) Reports to the bureau personnel office on a quarterly basis concerning on-the-spot awards granted.

E. The Division of Payroll Operations (DPO), Bureau of Reclamation, takes action as follows, depending on how the on-the-spot award is paid.

(1) For awards paid by third-party draft or from an imprest fund, DPO enters the gross award amount into the automated payroll system which calculates the actual deductions for Federal income tax, State income tax (if applicable), and FICA or Medicare (as appropriate) and the adjusted net award (gross award less actual deductions); adjusts the employee's salary to reflect the difference between the adjusted net award amount and the amount the employee actually received; includes the gross award amount, actual deductions, and adjusted net award amount on the employee's Leave and Earnings Statement; and includes the gross award amount on the employee's Form W-2 for income tax purposes.

(2) For awards paid by Treasury check, DPO enters the gross award amount into the automated award system, which calculates a standard deduction for Federal and State income tax and the actual deduction for FICA or Medicare (as appropriate) and orders the award check from the Treasury Department. The automated award system enters the award into the automated payroll system which calculates the actual deductions for Federal income tax, State income tax (if applicable), and FICA or Medicare (as appropriate) and the adjusted net award (gross award less actual deductions). The automated payroll system adjusts the employee's salary to reflect the difference between the adjusted net award amount and the amount the employee actually received; includes the gross award amount, actual deductions, and adjusted net award amount on the employee's Leave and Earnings Statement; and includes the gross award amount on the employee's Form W-2 for income tax purposes.

F. The Office of Financial Management:

(1) Enters into the Federal Financial System (FFS) awards paid by third-party draft or from an imprest fund.

(2) Provides to the servicing personnel offices on a biweekly basis a listing of the names of employees who have been paid on-the-spot awards by third-party draft or from an imprest fund.

14. Presentation. The manner in which on-the-spot awards are presented is left to the discretion of local management. To the degree possible, on-the-spot awards should be presented in a way that enhances the recognition value of the award. Supervisors may prepare a congratulatory letter to accompany the award.


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U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, VA, USA
URL: http://www.usgs.gov/usgs-manual/370-400/370-4511.html
Contact: APS, Office of Policy and Analysis
Last modification: 08-Jan-2013@15:52 (kk)
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