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MAINE BULLETIN NO. ME 360-10-9

 

                                                                                                September 30, 2010
 

Subject: PER – FY2010 Performance Awards

Purpose. To outline the types of awards and processes used to submit employees for awards
under the NRCS awards system. Supervisors and managers must follow these
guidelines to ensure that their employees’ awards are submitted correctly.

Expiration Date: October 31, 2010

TYPES OF AWARDS:

SPOT AWARD:
Recognizes employees either individually or as a group for special accomplishments outside the employee(s) normal scope of assigned duties, i.e., assisting another division by completing a significant task, acting in a higher capacity for a considerable duration, etc. This award is a cash award specifically for a one-time achievement and is processed in such a way that the employee receives the entire award amount. Submissions for this award should be submitted within a reasonable time of the act. All amounts over $500 must be accompanied with a justification clearly outlining the accomplishment for which the employee(s) is nominated.

EXTRA EFFORT AWARD:
Recognizes employees either individually or as a group for performance above and beyond the normal call of duty within their assigned functions, i.e., processing excessive transactions within a specific timeframe, developing a more efficient process for streamlining duties, etc. This award is a cash award generally for achievement(s) that require substantial effort and significantly contributes to the mission of the agency. Extra Effort Awards are processed so that all applicable taxes are subtracted from the award amount. Submissions for this award should be submitted within a reasonable time of the act. All amounts over $500 must be accompanied by a justification clearly outlining the act for which the employee(s) is nominated.

TIME OFF AWARD:
Recognizes employees either individually or as a group for special or above and beyond efforts on a particular project or assignment, or for performance/commitment for regular and recurring efforts. This award is given in time off increments of one to forty hours. Submissions for this award should be submitted within a reasonable time of the act. All time off requests that exceed $500 when calculated by the employee’s hourly rate must be accompanied by a justification clearly outlining the act for which the employee(s) is nominated.

PERFORMANCE AWARD:
Recognizes employees for their overall performance as provided on their year-end performance appraisal. These awards are cash awards and are given based upon the level of performance indicated in the following increments:

Outstanding:

  • GS-1 through GS-4, 10 percent of base pay
  • GS-5 through GS-10, 5 percent of base pay
  • GS-11 through GS-14, 3 percent of base pay

Superior:

  • GS-1 through GS-14, $1000

*Meritorious Fully Successful:

  • GS-1 through GS-14, $500

Supervisors and managers must submit a signed copy of the employee’s year-end performance appraisal as justification for this award along with the recommended award amount.

NOTE: Employees may only receive one performance award within any 52 week period.

*To be eligible, the employee must have at least one element that meets exceeds or higher if three or four total elements are being rated, and two elements rated as exceeds or higher if five or six elements are being rated. No element may be rated as “Does Not Meet Fully Successful”.

QUALITY STEP INCREASE (QSI):
Recognizes employees for an “Outstanding” performance appraisal as provided on their year-end performance appraisal. This award is given as a within-grade step increase. Supervisors and managers must submit a signed copy of the employee’s year-end performance appraisal as justification.

A QSI does not affect the normal waiting period for the employee’s next scheduled step increase, but it could put them into a new waiting period category (e.g. step 4 or step 7). Supervisors/managers should first check to see if the employee is eligible for a QSI (i.e., they are not already at the step 10 of their grade, or that they have not had another performance award within the past 52 weeks) prior to submission. It is also appropriate to ask the employee if they have a preference regarding receipt of a QSI or a one-time cash performance award. QSI awards must be approved by the State Conservationist, and approval must be obtained prior to notifying the employee.

PROCESSING:

• Awards up to $500 may be submitted directly by the supervisor or manager through EmpowHR. However, nominations will be reviewed by the State Administrative Officer or higher management official to ensure the accomplishment(s) warrant the prescribed amount.
• Awards above $500 and QSI’s must be pre-approved by the State Conservationist prior to being processed into EmpowHR.
• All performance awards will be pre-screened by the State Conservationist before submitting to Human Resources for processing.

The Maine Awards Guide can be found on the Maine Shared Documents under “General Documents for Statewide Use/Award Documents”.

Contact: If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Brian Vigue, State Administrative Officer at 207-990-9567 or email brian.vigue@me.usda.gov.


/s/  Juan C. Hernandez

JUAN C. HERNANDEZ
State Conservationist