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Performance Management Performance Management FAQs

  • Yes. Governmentwide awards regulations allow agencies to use the incentive awards authority to establish a referral bonus program that provides incentives to employees who bring new talent into the agency. Each agency must determine whether using referral bonuses is appropriate for their agency. If an agency decides to establish a referral bonus program, it must establish the criteria it will use to determine when an employee would receive a referral bonus. (For more information see our Criteria for Referral Bonuses.)
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  • The possible effect of performance-based additional service credit is most likely to appear in the second round of the reduction in force process, when employees exercise their bump (into positions held by employees in lower tenure groups for which they meet the basic qualification standard) and retreat (to previously held positions) rights.  Even at this stage, experience suggests that the performance-based additional service credit often has no impact on the actual final result of the reduction in force.
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  • It depends on the type of award granted. For the most part, compensation-related information in the Federal Government is a matter of public record or obtainable under the Freedom of Information Act. Generally, this includes award payments except for rating-based awards. Agencies may not disclose award amounts if doing so could reveal the recipient's rating of record, which is protected information under the Privacy Act. For information on specific situations, contact your Office of General Counsel or Privacy Officer.
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  • No.  The Governmentwide regulations permit non-critical elements to have a greater weight in determining the final summary level.  However, if performance on any critical element is appraised as Unacceptable, a Level 1 summary must be assigned and performance on a non-critical element can not be used to raise that summary above Level 1, no matter the weight it might receive in other circumstances.
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  • Yes.  Agencies may use any procedures they deem appropriate for considering performance when granting awards and taking other personnel actions, with the following exceptions:  assigning additional service credit in a reduction in force and granting within-grade increases for General Schedule employees and prevailing rate system employees, which are tied to ratings of record and performance ratings respectively.
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  • No. The circumstances appropriate for the use of compensatory time are not generally appropriate for a time-off award. Compensatory time is authorized in exchange for hours worked in excess of the employee's regular work schedule. Awarding time off instead of compensatory time violates the incentive awards concept of recognizing exceptional performance, as opposed to compensating for extended work schedules.
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  • No. A rating of record does not change when an employee moves to another agency or organization, whether or not they use a different summary pattern. However, an employee will not know how many years of additional service credit will be given for a specific rating of record until an agency is getting ready to run a reduction in force.
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  • The minimum period is the shortest length of time established by the agency that an employee must perform under assigned elements and standards before a performance rating can be prepared.  The appraisal period is length of time designated by the agency (usually one year) that is the basis for the rating of record.
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  • If neither the performance standards nor the retention level communicated to the employee at the start of the PIP have changed, the agency should be able to proceed with the opportunity period or PIP. However, a substantive change in standards or the retention level would require that the current PIP end.
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  • Agencies are encouraged to involve employees in the design and implementation of their appraisal programs, award programs, and employee performance plans.  Of course, where a union has been granted exclusive recognition, such involvement for bargaining unit employees must be through their elected union representatives.
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  • Yes. An agency can design procedures for deriving a rating of record that assign greater weight to non-critical elements (which may be used to measure team performance and may affect the rating of record) than to critical elements.  If desired, in summarizing overall performance at or above the "Fully Successful" level, agencies can make distinctions on the basis of team performance alone.
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  • No employee has an entitlement to an award. An agency's policy must include the criteria to be considered when making award recommendations and decisions.
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  • Governmentwide regulations specify three types of performance elements:
    • critical elements
    • non-critical elements
    • additional performance elements
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  • Statute restricts performance awards to no more than 10 percent of the employee's annual rate of basic pay, except that a rating-based award may exceed 10 percent if the agency head determines that an employee's exceptional performance justifies such an award. However, in no case may a rating-based award exceed 20 percent of the employee's annual rate of basic pay.
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  • The term has no precise definition in policy or practice, but "forced distribution" generally is associated with the idea of limiting awards to a certain number or percentage of employees. Relative comparisons among individuals or groups, such as rank ordering or categorizing employees, can be used for making decisions about distributing awards. For example, agencies may limit awards to the top three producers or teams, or limit awards to those individuals or groups that exceeded certain goals. Agencies can also establish criteria for categories of awards that are given only to a selected number of recipients who best fit the criteria, although the criteria might have been met by more than one person or team.
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  • In some limited circumstances merchandise items could be used as an honorary award or informal recognition award. Merchandise may be used for awards purposes if and only if the item meets the criteria for an honorary award or an informal recognition award. Agencies need to be aware that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) considers merchandise to be a taxable fringe benefit that must be taxed on its fair market value. Further questions on taxable fringe benefits should be directed to the IRS.
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  • Ideally, an agency would close out the current appraisal period and issue ratings of record at the time specified under the existing appraisal program and then begin the next appraisal period under the terms of the new program.
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  • No. The regulations require that agency officials evaluate employee performance periodically against agency-assigned elements and standards. Since agencies cannot assign union work, this work cannot be included as elements and standards and is not subject to appraisal. As a result, employees who spend 100 percent of their time as employee representatives cannot receive a rating of record. Subsequently, since a rating of record is the basis for a performance or rating-based award, these employees are not eligible for performance awards.
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  • Additional years of service credit are added to an employee's length of service based on the employee's three most recent ratings of record during the four years prior to the reduction in force. In a competitive area where all the ratings of record being credited were done under a single pattern of summary levels, the additional service credit is computed by averaging the three most recent ratings of record given in the previous four years using the following values: 20 years of service for each Level 5 (Outstanding or equivalent rating); 16 years of service for each Level 4; and 12 years of service for each Level 3 (Fully Successful or equivalent rating). In an agency where employees in a competitive area have ratings of record being credited for reduction in force that were done under more than one pattern of summary levels, the agency can establish the values for the summary levels (within 12 to 20 years) so that performance crediting will be as fair and equitable as possible. Within a competitive area, the agency must use the same number of years additional retention service credit for all ratings of record with the same summary level in the same pattern of summary levels.
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  • Yes.  The individual critical element must describe performance that is reasonably measured and controlled at the individual employee's level.  Such performance includes individual contributions to the team, but does not include team performance.
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Total Count: 135, Number of Pages: 7, Page: 3
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