Human Capital

Memo Non-Monetary Award Policy

The purpose of this memorandum is to communicate recent changes implemented by memorandum signed by the Assistance Secretary - Policy, Management and Budget dated February 5, 2013, to award policy found at 370 DM 451.5 as it pertains to non-monetary awards.

Departmental policy continues to emphasize that approving officials should exercise care in selecting an appropriate item for non-monetary recognition to avoid potential appearance of misuse of government funds. Use of letters or certificates of achievement should always be considered The approving official should consider whether any award is an appropriate use of public funds and exercise fiscal prudence in the use of non-monetary awards. Cost centers should carefully review spending on non-monetary awards to ensure items purchase are cost effective. If there is some level of discomfort or concern, the approving official should always check with the servicing human resources office for guidance.

Effective immediately the following changes have been made to existing policy:

  • Gift cards are no longer allowable. Gift cards or other items that can be easily converted to cash (i.e. gift certificates, gift cards, U.S. Savings Bonds, tickets, or similar items) may no longer be used for non-monetary award recognition. Consistent with Executive Order 13589, Promoting Efficient Spending, and Department of the Interior (DOI) policy, Restriction on the Purchase of Promotional Items, dated March 29, 2012, promotional items may not be used for non-monetary award recognition and cannot be substituted where a gift card might have been provided, including (but not limited to) the following items: watches, fruit baskets, balloons, coffee cups, key chains, jackets, caps, T-shirts, clocks, or similar items. Provision of any gift cards purchased prior to the date of this memorandum but not yet released to an employee must be approved for release by the Associate Director for Administration and Enterprise Information.
  • Non-Monetary recognition shall not exceed $50. Non-monetary recognition shall not exceed $50 cash value annually per employee. An item that exceeds $50 cash value may not be provided as a non-monetary award unless approved by the Director.

Departmental guidance indicates that items that can be provided as non-monetary awards include those that can be used in an office setting, including the following: business card holders, portfolios, lapel pins, pens, paperweights, and pen and pencil sets. Where appropriate, a non-monetary award item should contain the USGS or Departmental name, logo, award title, and/or mission.

Recognizing the potentially significant impact the changes will have on the USGS nonmonetary awards program and potential for confusion on what awards can be provided, AEI is developing additional guidance and tools to assist in clarifying what award items are appropriate. Related information will continue to be updated in the Acquisition Operating Procedures under the 'Non-Monetary Awards' Topic.

If you have questions relating to this new policy, please contact Lisa Womack at, Margaret Seaboy at, Connie Smith at, or your servicing Employee Relations Specialist.


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