6.451.1  Policies, Authorities, Categories, and Approvals

Manual Transmittal

October 04, 2011

Purpose

(1) This transmits a correction to IRM 6.451.1, Employee Performance and Utilization - Awards and Recognition, which provides Servicewide awards and recognition policy, standards, requirements, procedures, and guidance.

Material Changes

(1) Paragraph 6.451.1.11(2), Managers’ Awards, had been cleared through normal IRM procedures; however it was inadvertently omitted from IRM 6.451.1, dated May 20, 2011. This transmittal corrects the omission by adding Paragraph 6.451.1.11(2).

Effect on Other Documents

(1) IRM 6.451.1, Employee Performance and Utilization - Awards and Recognition, dated May 20, 2011, catalog no. 30095H.

Audience

All Operating Divisions and Functions.

Effective Date

(10-04-2011)

Richard J. Cronin
Director, Workforce Progression and Management Division

6.451.1.1  (05-20-2011)
Program Objectives and Components

  1. The objectives of the IRS awards and recognition program are to reward and retain competent and talented employees by appropriately recognizing their achievements and contributions to the Service’s mission and to promote an organizational culture where managers recognize and appreciate their employee’s contributions and achievements. Awards and recognition programs shall be administered consistent with these objectives in an inclusive environment in which employees know they are treated with equity, fairness, dignity and respect. See the Service-wide Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Strategic Plan for detailed information.

  2. Positive feedback is always welcomed by employees and is consistently cited by recognition professionals as an extremely powerful workforce motivator. The IRS awards and recognition program provides the means to assure that employees know that their contributions are valued and to recognize and award them, on the basis of merit, for commendable job performance, special acts or services, or other notable contributions to Government operations. Employees may be recognized individually, or as part of a group or team.

  3. Recognition can take many forms ranging from a "Thank You!" for a specific accomplishment to monetary incentives or formal honors under an established awards program. Managers should utilize the form of recognition that is both appropriate to the situation and valued by their employees. Some pertinent questions that supervisors should consider follow:

    • Did my employees go out of their way to support their teammates or other colleagues?

    • Did my employees demonstrate the Service’s values and contribute to the mission and strategic plan?

    • Did my employees go above and beyond normal expectations?

    • Have I heard positive feedback from others about my employees’ performance?

  4. At management discretion, an award may be granted to an IRS employee on the basis of:

    1. performance as reflected in the employee's most recent rating of record; or

    2. a special act or service in the public interest in connection with or related to official employment; or

    3. a suggestion, invention, superior accomplishment, productivity gain, or other personal effort that contributes to the efficiency, economy, or other improvement of Government operations or achieves a significant reduction in paperwork.

  5. Awards and recognition program components include:

    1. performance awards - to recognize individual employees' performance as reflected in the most recent rating of record,

    2. special act and managers awards - granted for commendable individual employee or group achievements in connection with or related to official employment or otherwise in the public interest,

    3. suggestion awards - based on the adoption of employee suggestions to improve the efficiency or effectiveness of Government operations,

    4. time-off awards - at management’s discretion, any monetary award may be granted to an employee in the form of time-off from duty, without charge to leave or loss of pay,

      Note:

      Under the Service’s procedures, a time-off award is the conversion of a monetary award to time-off from duty, without charge to leave or loss of pay. In this chapter the term “monetary award” includes time-off awards granted in this manner.

    5. Quality Step Increases (QSIs) - increases in eligible employees' rates of basic pay from one step of the grade to the next higher step of that grade,

    6. honorary awards - formally recognize significant employee contributions to the IRS mission, strategic goals, balanced measures, or other commendable accomplishments,

    7. informal recognition of employee accomplishments, and

    8. public and private sector awards sponsored by external organizations.

6.451.1.2  (05-20-2011)
Supplemental Guidance on Program Operations

  1. Additional guidance regarding IRS recognition program procedures is posted on the Human Capital Office (HCO) Awards and Recognition web site. The posted information supplements this chapter. To provide more detailed references, hyperlinks are included to supporting documents and additional information.

  2. IRS operating divisions (Wage & Investment, Small Business/Self-Employed, Large Business & International, and Tax Exempt & Government Entities) and principal offices (See IRM 1.1.1, Organization and Staffing, IRS Mission and Basic Organization) may establish recognition policies, programs, and procedures and issue guidance which supplements the provisions of this chapter. These offices may consult with the Performance Management Branch staff as they develop unit specific recognition programs. When proposed changes to awards or recognition programs would affect bargaining unit employees, advice should also be sought from the initiating office’s human capital or employee relations staff and/or the HCO Workforce Relations Division before implementation.

  3. General information on federal awards programs may be found at the Office of Personnel Management Rewarding web site. This information is guidance which does not supplement this chapter

6.451.1.3  (05-20-2011)
Authorities

  1. IRC 7804(a), 5 USC 43 and 45, and 5 CFR 451, Subpart A authorize agencies to grant monetary, honorary, or informal recognition awards or time-off, without charge to leave or loss of pay, to employees as individuals or members of a group or team. 5 USC 53 and 5 CFR 531, Subpart E authorize agencies to grant Quality Step Increases. Treasury Personnel Management Manual, Chapter 451, Incentive Awards Program, describes the Department-wide awards program.

  2. The IRS awards and recognition program is administered under authority delegated by the Department of the Treasury in Treasury Order 102-01, Delegation of Authority Concerning Personnel Management.

6.451.1.4  (05-20-2011)
IRS/NTEU National Agreement II

  1. Awards and recognition requirements of the IRS/NTEU National Agreement II take precedence if they conflict with provisions of this chapter or supplemental guidance, except when the conflicting provisions are mandated by U. S. Office of Personnel Management Government-wide rules or regulations or Department of the Treasury directives. See also National Agreement II Questions and Answers, Article 18.

6.451.1.5  (05-20-2011)
Documenting Awards

  1. With the exceptions noted below, monetary and time-off awards may be initiated, approved, certified, and authorized through HR Connect, IRS’ human resource service delivery program. The use of HR Connect meets all documentation requirements for these awards. Pending the mandatory use of HR Connect, use of Form 9127, Recommendation for Recognition, (or other locally authorized equivalent award approval document) is optional. (Exception: centralized procedures are used to document Quality Step Increases, 3% of salary awards paid in lieu of QSIs, and bargaining unit performance awards granted under the National Performance Awards Agreement. See also 6.451.1.24 Authority to Approve Awards.)

6.451.1.6  (05-20-2011)
Program Coverage

  1. Unless otherwise noted in this chapter, the provisions of this program are applicable to all IRS employees with the exception of employees of the Office of Chief Counsel, and Senior Executive Service and Critical Pay Executives, politically appointed employees, and other employees serviced by the Office of Executive Services. (Refer to IRM 6.250.1.5(2)g).

  2. Employees of other Federal agencies may be granted awards for contributions that benefit the Service and meet its awards criteria.

  3. The IRS may not directly pay but may recommend a monetary award to the Department of Defense for a member of the armed forces for an adopted suggestion that benefits the Service and meets its suggestion award criteria. The Service does not have the authority to grant any other type of award to a member of the armed forces for contributions made during active duty with the armed forces.

  4. Former Federal employees and their legal heirs or estates, if deceased, may be granted awards for contributions made during Federal employment that benefited the Service and meet its awards criteria. Similarly, the IRS may not directly pay but may recommend a monetary award to the Department of Defense for a former armed forces member for an adopted suggestion, made during active duty with the armed forces that benefits the Service and meets its suggestion award criteria.

  5. Other persons and organizations not described in paragraphs 6.451.1.6(1) through (4) including volunteers, employees of private contractors, and private organizations may not be granted awards under the authorities cited in paragraph 6.451.1.3. The prohibition regarding contract employees includes those who may work side-by-side with IRS employees as members of the same overall work teams. The contract employees’ employment, including pay, awards, and discipline, is handled by their employer, who is the contractor, not by the IRS. However, these persons and organizations may be presented unframed Certificates of Recognition to recognize significant, non-routine, contributions to the Service such as volunteer service performed on behalf of IRS through activities such as the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs.

6.451.1.7  (05-20-2011)
Funding Awards

  1. Monetary awards and necessary expenses for the recognition of employee contributions will be paid from the funds or appropriations available to the Service, consistent with applicable financial management controls and delegations of authority. See IRM 1.33.4,Financial Operating Guidelines, issued by the Chief Financial Officer, for budget execution guidance.

  2. When an award is approved for an employee of another Federal agency, arrangements should be made to transfer funds to the employing agency. If the administrative costs of transferring funds would exceed the amount of the award, the employing agency should absorb the award costs. For example, it would not be practical to transfer funds when an award is $200 or less. When another agency approves an award for an employee of the Service, arrangements should be made to transfer funds in the same manner.

6.451.1.8  (05-20-2011)
Restrictions on Retroactive Quality Step Increases

  1. In accordance with decisions of the Government Accountability Office, a QSI may not be granted retroactively. This means that a QSI may not be made effective before the date it was approved by the official with the authority to approve it – the IRS Human Capital Officer or designee. For example, delay in the assignment or approval of an “Outstanding” performance rating of record in HR Connect/ePerformance because a QSI cannot be finally approved before the rating is assigned. However, delay beyond normal processing time in making an approved QSI effective, due to human or computer error, may constitute an administrative error which prevented a properly and finally approved QSI from being made effective promptly after it was approved.

6.451.1.9  (05-20-2011)
Performance Awards

  1. Performance awards are monetary awards that may be granted only to individual employees. When granted, these awards must be based on an employee's performance as reflected in the employee’s most recent rating of record, provided that the rating is at the “Fully Successful" or "Met" level or above. The employee’s officially approved rating of record provides sufficient basis and justification for granting a performance award. Programs for granting performance awards as designed and applied, must make meaningful distinctions based on levels of performance. This means that employees with higher ratings of record must receive larger performance awards than those with lower ratings of record. Under IRS policy, an employee who is granted a Quality Step Increase or a 3% of salary award in lieu of a QSI is not eligible for a performance award for the same rating period. (See Exhibit 6.451.1-3, QSI Program Procedures.)

    Note:

    Not all performance appraisals are ratings of record. See IRM 6.430.1Performance Management, Exhibit 6.430 1-1, Glossary of Performance Management Terms, for the definition of a rating of record.

    1. Bargaining unit employees' performance award eligibility and amounts are determined in accordance with the National Agreement II and the National Performance Awards Agreement (see the Human Capital Office Bargaining Unit Performance Awards for program information).

    2. Non-bargaining unit employees who are not compensated under the IR Pay System may be granted performance awards at management discretion under performance award programs that are developed and administered by the operating divisions and principal offices. For example, an employee in the Wage and Investment Division is covered by that division's program. Non-bargaining unit employees requiring information about their office’s performance awards program should contact their supervisor or their office’s human capital/human resource or finance staff.

    3. Employees compensated under the IR Pay System are not eligible for performance awards; however, they may be eligible for performance bonuses. For additional information, see the HCO Payband Resource Center.

    4. Performance award/performance bonus certificates are printed 6-8 weeks after awards are paid and are distributed on a monthly basis to the employee’s supervisor of record or other point of contact identified by the employee’s office. Bargaining unit performance award certificates may take longer to distribute because of the large number of employees receiving awards on the same effective date. For more information see performance award certificates.

  2. Under Article 18, Section 2.G of the National Agreement II, bargaining unit employees who perform work at a grade higher than specified in their official position descriptions during a rating period ending on or after September 30, 2009, may be eligible for increased performance awards. Please see Human Capital Office - Bargaining Unit Performance Awards for information on eligibility requirements and procedures.

  3. Monetary Limitations on Performance Awards.

    1. Under 5 U.S.C. 4505a(a)(2)(A), a monetary performance award shall not be more than 10% of the employee's annual rate of basic pay which must include any applicable locality payment under 5 CFR 531, Subpart F; special rate supplement under 5 CFR 530, Subpart C (special salary rate schedules); or similar payment or supplement under other legal authority. For an employee receiving a retained rate under 5 CFR 536, Subpart C (or similar authority, such as 5 CFR 359.705), the rate of basic pay is the maximum payable rate for the employee's grade or level, rather than the retained rate.

    2. As an exception to the 10% limitation, a performance award of not more than 20% of the employee's annual rate of basic pay may be approved by the Commissioner for exceptional performance. Requests for exception to the 10% limitation for employees who are not compensated under the IR Pay System and are not Senior Executive Service members (or other employees serviced by the Office of Executive Services) should be forwarded to the Director, Workforce Progression and Management Division. See also 6.451.1.24(6), Authority to Approve Awards, for additional limitations on award amounts.

6.451.1.10  (05-20-2011)
Special Act or Service Awards

  1. Special act or service awards are monetary awards that may be granted at management discretion to recognize a superior accomplishment, productivity gain, or other personal effort, in connection with or related to official employment, that contributes to the efficiency, economy, or other improvement of Government operations; achieves a significant reduction in paperwork, or represents an accomplishment in the public interest. These awards may be granted to employees as individuals or members of a group or team. There is no limit to the number of special act awards that an employee may receive for accomplishments either as an individual or a member of a group or team. Written justification is required for each special act award granted as described in AWSS Standard Operating Procedure 451-1, Processing Awards in HR Connect. Guidance on determining the amount of a special act award is provided in Form 9127, Recommendation for Recognition., Form 9093, Special Act Award Certificate is available for presentation with the award.

6.451.1.11  (10-04-2011)
Manager's Awards

  1. Managers’ awards are a type of IRS special act or service award granted for more immediate recognition. These awards may be used to recognize an achievement performed in an exemplary manner that is more limited in scope than a special act or service award. Managers’ award amounts are limited to a minimum of $50 and a maximum of $500, and approval and processing procedures are more streamlined than for other special act or service awards. Form 9094, Managers’ Award Certificate is available for presentation with the award.

  2. Supervisors may approve managers’ awards up to $250 without higher level management review or approval (but subject to any management or financial coordination required by operating divisions and principal offices.)

6.451.1.12  (05-20-2011)
Bilingual Awards

  1. Bargaining unit employees, who on a regular basis, rather than occasionally:

    1. utilize their bilingual skills;

    2. whose performance is currently rated at least "Fully Successful" ; and

    3. who are not otherwise compensated through a performance award or superior accomplishment award based on use of their bilingual skill shall receive a special act award of $350.

  2. Employees will be eligible to receive one such award per calendar year.

  3. Bargaining unit employees’ bilingual awards are subject to prorating based on employee time spent during the rating period in certain situations or positions that is not creditable for an award under the National Performance Awards Agreement. For example, time spent on leave without pay, in a non-pay status, as a part time employee, or in a non-bargaining unit position is not creditable and may require prorating of a bilingual award. Supervisors should check with their office’s human capital/human resource or finance staff for guidance on prorating bilingual awards.

  4. Management may approve bilingual awards of up to $350 for non-bargaining unit employees, who on a regular basis, rather than occasionally, utilize their bilingual skills. The non-bargaining unit employee’s performance must be at least fully successful (a “Met” or “Fully Successful” rating or higher) and the employee may not otherwise be compensated through another award based on the use of a bilingual skill. Non-bargaining unit employees will be eligible to receive one such award per calendar year.

6.451.1.13  (05-20-2011)
Suggestion Awards

  1. Suggestion awards are based on the adoption of employee suggestions to improve the efficiency or effectiveness of Government operations. Detailed suggestion award program information can be found at the Employee Resource Center.

6.451.1.14  (05-20-2011)
Time-Off Awards

  1. Time-off awards are monetary awards that may be granted in the form of time-off from duty, without charge to leave or loss of pay at management discretion. The purpose of the IRS time-off awards program is to increase employee productivity and creativity by rewarding their contributions to the quality, efficiency, or economy of Government operations; to enhance the quality of work life for employees; and to encourage and recognize accomplishments beyond normal job requirements. Not more than 40 hours of time-off may be granted to any full-time employee for any single contribution and not more than a total of 80 hours of time-off may be granted to any full-time employee during a leave year. Time-off awards shall be granted in a fair, consistent, and objective manner without discrimination.

  2. At management's sole discretion, any monetary award may be paid in one of three forms:

    1. as a monetary payment only

    2. as time-off only, or

    3. as a combination of a monetary payment and time-off as determined by management.

      Note:

      As an exception to this general policy, combination monetary and time-off performance awards are not permitted under the National Performance Awards Agreement unless a time-off award would exceed the 40 or 80 hour time-off award limitations.

  3. Detailed time-off award procedures are described in Exhibit 6.451.1-2 Time-Off Award Program Procedures.

6.451.1.15  (05-20-2011)
IRS Employee Recognition Program

  1. The IRS Employee Recognition Program is the Service’s exclusive non-monetary honorary recognition program which provides an important way to recognize individual and team accomplishments and contributions in support of the IRS mission, strategic goals and values. This Service-wide program provides multiple opportunities for employees to be recognized for exemplary service by various levels of management and by their peers. The program has four basic elements: Commissioner Awards and Recognition, Head of Office Awards and Recognition, Executive and Manager Awards and Recognition, and Peer-to Peer Recognition. Among the honors that can be bestowed are the Commissioner’s Award, the IRS Excellence Award, the Horizon Award, and the Vision Award. Check the hyperlink above for complete program details.

6.451.1.16  (05-20-2011)
IRS Federal Career Service Recognition Program

  1. The IRS Federal Career Service Recognition Program conveys appreciation by recognizing milestones of employees’ creditable Federal service. At key points during their careers, IRS employees shall be awarded Federal career service recognition items to emphasize appreciation for their service to the IRS and to the Federal Government. Exhibit 6.451.1-1, IRS Federal Career Service Recognition Program, provides program information.

6.451.1.17  (05-20-2011)
Secretary of the Treasury Honor Awards Program

  1. The Secretary of the Treasury Honor Awards Program is designed to bestow honor on selected individuals as an official recognition of achievement at the conclusion of their Treasury career or as recognition for a special accomplishment during their Treasury career. These awards are the Secretary’s way of acknowledging extraordinary dedication to public service and substantial contribution to Treasury’s mission. See Secretary of the Treasury Honor Awards for more information on these awards and the nomination process.

6.451.1.18  (05-20-2011)
Albert Gallatin Award

  1. The Albert Gallatin Award is the Department of the Treasury’s highest honorary career service award. It is conferred by the Secretary upon the retirement or death of a federal employee who served twenty or more years in the Department and whose record reflects fidelity to duty. The HCO Benefits and Services Team provides guidance and procedures regarding employee eligibility and the distribution of Gallatin Awards.

6.451.1.19  (05-20-2011)
Informal Recognition

  1. Informal recognition affords a way to provide more frequent and timely acknowledgement of notable individual or group accomplishments. This form of recognition is appropriate for achievements that may not meet the criteria described for other awards and might otherwise go unrecognized. A simple expression of appreciation or other positive feedback is one of the most effective ways to recognize employee accomplishments. Recognition items of nominal value (such as mugs, pins, note pads, mouse pads, or other similar low cost items) may be utilized as informal recognition. These items should take an appropriate form to be purchased with public funds and should preserve the credibility and integrity of the IRS recognition program.

  2. Guidance on purchasing informal recognition items can be found in the IRS Managers' Recognition Toolkit. See IRM 6.451.1.22.

6.451.1.20  (05-20-2011)
Externally Sponsored Awards

  1. These prestigious honors are sponsored by agencies or organizations outside of IRS in recognition of notable achievements in the public sector. The external awards program is administered by the Human Capital Office. Additional information may be found at the Employee Resource Center and IRS division and office web sites.

6.451.1.21  (05-20-2011)
Quality Step Increase

  1. It is the policy of IRS to provide incentives and recognition for excellence in individual employee performance. The IRS Quality Step Increase policy supports Human Capital Office initiatives to make IRS the best place to work in government, provides consistency and transparency in implementation, and reduces management burden.

  2. A Quality Step Increase is a faster than normal within-grade pay increase from one step of an employee’s GS, GM, or GL grade to the next higher step of that grade. Employees whose current performance rating of record is “Outstanding” and who meet all of the IRS and regulatory criteria are eligible to be granted a QSI or alternative 3% of salary award, however, the Service retains the discretion to either grant or deny a QSI. The final authority to grant a QSI or alternative 3% of salary award rests with the IRS Human Capital Officer, or designee.

  3. QSI requirements and procedures are described in Exhibit 6.451.1-3, QSI Program Procedures.

6.451.1.22  (05-20-2011)
IRS Managers' Recognition Toolkit

  1. The IRS Managers' Recognition Toolkit is designed to be a handy managers' guide to new or seldom used employee recognition tools. Many of these tools are of little or no cost to the manager or the IRS and do not require complicated procedures. These recognition tools can be powerful ways to recognize employee accomplishments and provide incentives for high performance and serve as vehicles to increase employee engagement. Check the toolkit periodically for updates.

6.451.1.23  (05-20-2011)
Travel Gainsharing Awards

  1. This is a voluntary program administered by the Chief Financial Officer that rewards employees who save the IRS money while on official travel. Employees share in the savings from the use of less expensive lodging and/or use of frequent flyer benefits to purchase airline tickets for official travel. For a full description of this program see IRM 1.32.1, 12, Official IRS Travel Guide. Note: Some operating divisions and principal offices require that Form 9127, Recommendation for Recognition, be completed and routed through the appropriate officials. Other offices process gainsharing awards through HR Connect. Employees should contact their supervisors or finance staff for applicable procedures.

6.451.1.24  (05-20-2011)
Award Presentation Ceremonies

  1. Responsible officials should publicly recognize employees as they reach significant career milestones or are granted other awards. Supervisors may determine the nature (formal or informal), frequency, and similar details of recognition events. Recognition events should be coordinated with appropriate IRS officials.

  2. When a proposed recognition event would affect a bargaining unit employee, advice should also be sought from the initiating office’s human capital or employee relations staff and/or the HCO Workforce Relations Division regarding the negotiated obligation to advise the National Treasury Employees Union in advance of the event. See also, the National Agreement II Questions and Answers, Article 18.

  3. Presentations shall be made in an appropriate and dignified setting, such as group or staff meetings or scheduled employee recognition ceremonies. Ideally, presentations should be made as close to the anniversary date of the career milestone or grant of the award as possible. However, supervisors may determine that periodic ceremonies where large numbers of eligible employees may be honored, are also appropriate.

  4. The IRS Managers' Recognition Toolkit and IRM 1.32.20, Servicewide Financial Policies and Procedures - Using Appropriated Funds to Purchase Meals and Light Refreshments provide guidance on purchasing light refreshments for employee recognition events.

6.451.1.25  (05-20-2011)
Pay and Tax Considerations

  1. Monetary awards are in addition to the regular pay of the recipient, and are subject to required deductions including those for Federal, state, and local income taxes.

    Note:

    Some non-monetary awards and monetary equivalent awards such as gift certificates, vouchers, and charge, credit, or gift cards are taxable. See Tax Issues for Awards, jointly issued by IRS and the Office of Personnel Management, and IRS Publication Pub 15-B, Employer’s Tax Guide to Fringe Benefits for detailed guidance on the tax treatment of non-monetary awards.

  2. Monetary awards do not affect the computation of salary differentials.

  3. Monetary awards are not basic pay for any purpose.

  4. Individual monetary awards are subject to the limitation on pay described in IRM 500.1.2.1, Administration of the Aggregate Limitation on Pay.

    Note:

    Under 5 CFR 451.104(g) when granting any award paid as a percentage of basic pay, the rate of basic pay used must include any applicable locality payments and other payments described in paragraph 6.451.1.9(3)a.

6.451.1.26  (05-20-2011)
Authority to Approve Awards and Quality Step Increases

  1. IRM 1.2.45, Delegations of Authority for Human Resource Management Activities, Exhibit 2, identifies the Service officials delegated the authority to approve monetary awards (and time-off award equivalents) and the amounts which they may approve for both individual and group awards. IRS operating divisions and principal offices may issue subordinate delegation orders documenting any authorized re-delegations of this authority.

  2. All monetary awards (with the exception of Managers’ Awards in amounts not greater than $250 (see paragraph 6.451.1.11(2)) must be approved by a Service official at a management level higher than the individual who initiated the award recommendation.

  3. Eligible employees are considered for Quality Step Increases and alternative 3% of salary awards in lieu of QSIs under the IRS QSI Program procedures described in Exhibit 6.451.1-3. These awards shall not be initiated or approved outside of the IRS QSI Program. Employees are eligible for a QSI only if they meet all IRS QSI criteria; however, the Service retains the discretion to either grant or deny a QSI. The final authority to grant a QSI or 3% of salary award rests with the IRS Human Capital Officer, or designee.

  4. Bargaining unit employees’ performance awards are approved in accordance with the National Agreement II and the National Performance Awards Agreement and are not subject to any other approvals. These awards must be initiated, approved, or adjusted in compliance with NPAA program requirements.

  5. Honorary awards and informal recognition may be approved by the employee’s immediate supervisor subject to provisions of the IRS Employee Recognition Program, paragraph the 6.451.1.15, and any coordination required by operating divisions and principal offices.

  6. IRS has the authority to approve an award of up to $10,000 to an individual employee. Under 5 USC 9508(c)(2) the Treasury Department has the authority to approve an award larger than $10,000 up to $25,000 to an IRS employee. Any award that would grant more than $25,000, up to a limit of $50,000 requires interim approval by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management and submission to the President for final approval. These limitations apply to the amount of an award to be granted to any individual employee, not to the total amount of a group award.

  7. Settlement agreements, memorandums of understanding, letters of understanding, third party decisions, and other legal documents which commit the IRS to grant any Quality Step Increase, 3% of salary award in lieu of a QSI, monetary award, or time-off award must be coordinated with the Associate Director, Performance Management Branch, Workforce Progression and Management Division, before they are executed.

6.451.1.27  (05-20-2011)
Award Processing

  1. Award processing is administered by the AWSS Philadelphia Payroll Center in accordance with procedures published by that office. See AWSS Standard Operating Procedure Document 451-1, Rev 2, Processing Awards in HR Connect.

Exhibit 6.451.1-1 
IRS Federal Career Service Recognition Program

1. Background. The IRS values each employee as a vital member of the organization. The IRS Career Service Recognition Program has been established as a means to convey appreciation by recognizing milestones of creditable Federal service. At key points during their careers, IRS employees shall be awarded Federal career service recognition items described in this exhibit to emphasize appreciation for their service to the IRS and to the Federal Government.

2. Definitions.

  1. Creditable Federal Service (Eligibility). IRS uses the Leave Service Computation Date, as captured in the Treasury Integrated Management Information System (TIMIS), to determine eligibility for a Career Service Recognition Award. All civilian service for departments or agencies of the Federal Government and only military service that is creditable for service computation date purposes is used when determining Federal career service recognition eligibility. Service credit granted for prior non-federal work experience and experience in a uniformed service for the purpose of determining the annual leave accrual rate of a newly appointed employee is not creditable to determine eligibility for a Career Service Recognition Award.

  2. Career Service Emblems consist of Federal career service certificates and the IRS career service plaques.

    1. Career Service Certificates. The Great Seal of the United States of America is embossed in bronze on the career service certificates with the attained milestone year identified (5, 10, or 15 years) to recognize Federal civilian and honorable military service for these milestones. Career service certificates are imprinted with the employee’s name of record and the signature of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue.

    2. Career Service Plaques recognize creditable Federal civilian and honorable military service for 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55 and 60 years of service. Career service plaques are standardized throughout the Service. Plaques are engraved with the employee’s name of record and indicate the specific milestone year.

3. Recognition presentation events are discussed in IRM 6.451.1.24.

4. Program Coordination. In partnership, the Human Capital Office (HCO) and Agency-Wide Shared Services (AWSS) are responsible for managing the IRS Career Service Recognition Program. HCO is responsible for the overall program policy and AWSS is responsible for the administration of the program. AWSS provides guidance and procedures regarding employee eligibility and the ordering, stocking, distribution, and replacement of career service certificates and plaques.

Exhibit 6.451.1-2 
Time-Off Award Program Procedures

1. General Provisions.

  1. Definition and eligibility. In these procedures "time-off" refers to a monetary award granted in the form of time-off from duty, without charge to leave or loss of pay. All employees are eligible for time-off awards (either as individuals or as members of a group), except; Presidential Appointees, members of the Senior Executive Service, Schedule C Appointees, and employees who received a leave restriction letter fewer than 12 months before the award effective date.

  2. Form of Awards. It is within management's sole discretion to grant any monetary award as a monetary payment, as time-off only, or as a combination of a monetary payment and time-off as determined by management.

    Note:

    As an exception to this general policy, combination monetary and time-off performance awards are not permitted under the National Performance Awards Agreement.

  3. Employee Performance Award Elections in ePerformance. GS, GM, and GL employees who are assigned “Met,” “Fully Successful,” “Exceeds Fully Successful” or “Exceeded” overall annual performance ratings whose supervisors have approved the option of a time-off award in lieu of a monetary performance award, will see a screen in the HR Connect/ePerformance system which allows them to request either a monetary award or a time-off award, in the event that they are approved for a performance award.

    Note:

    This screen does not confirm approval of a performance award. It indicates only that the supervisor has approved the option of a time-off award if a performance award is approved. Final performance award determinations are made in accordance with current IRS policy and any applicable negotiated agreements. See IRS - Employee Resource Center for more details.

    Note:

    Manual awards election procedures (See instructions for Part B, Form 6850-BU, Bargaining Unit Performance Appraisal and Recognition Election, regarding bargaining unit employee elections of either monetary or time-off performance awards.) may be utilized for employees without an IRS-issued computer or on-site access and/or on a case-by-case basis where an employee is otherwise unable to make elections in ePerformance.

  4. Award Approval Includes the Form of the Award. The award approving official's determination signifies approval of both the amount (where applicable) and the form of the award. The receipt of a time-off award does not prevent an employee from receiving any other award and receiving prior awards does not prevent granting a time-off award.

  5. Single Time-Off Award Limitation. Not more than 40 hours of time-off may be granted to any full-time employee for any single contribution. (Similarly, a part-time employee, or an employee with an uncommon tour of duty may be granted a number of hours which is not greater than one-half of the average number of hours in the biweekly scheduled tour of duty.) The minimum amount of time-off which may be granted for any contribution is one hour.

  6. Leave Year Time-Off Award Limitation. During a leave year, not more than a total of 80 hours of time-off may be granted to any full-time employee. (Similarly, during a leave year, a part-time employee, or an employee with an uncommon tour of duty may be granted a total number of hours which is not greater than the average number of hours in the biweekly scheduled tour of duty.)

    Note:

    See Supplemental Monetary Awards, paragraph 3.b, for procedures applicable when a time-off award would exceed the 40 or 80 hour limitation.

2. Time-Off Award Determinations.

  1. When an award is to be recommended, the initiating official shall determine the amount of the award in accordance with IRS procedures and any applicable negotiated provisions. (Exception: under the National Performance Awards Agreement the performance award amounts are computed under negotiated procedures, and not determined in advance by the initiating official.)

  2. The initiating official shall also determine the form of the award - whether it is to be granted as a monetary payment only, as time-off only, or as a combination of a monetary payment and time-off. If a combination award is recommended, the initiating official shall determine the monetary and time-off components of the award. See paragraph 3, Calculating Time-Off and Supplemental Monetary Awards, for guidance. (Exception: under the National Performance Awards Agreement, combination monetary and time-off awards are not permitted.)

  3. This determination shall be documented to clearly indicate the recommended monetary and time-off components of the award.

  4. Determinations regarding the time-off or monetary form of awards shall be based on operational requirements. Managers should consider factors such as the employee's and the organization's present and projected workloads and deadlines, processing cycles, and the need to utilize the employee's skill and expertise to meet foreseeable operational requirements. If necessary, advice from the next higher level of management may be sought. However, where an employee requests time-off in lieu of a monetary award, the request will normally be granted absent workload demands.

  5. Both the recommended award and the form of the award are subject to final approval by the approving official (unless the exception to higher level approval described in paragraph 2.f. applies).

  6. Supervisory approval of not more than 8 hours of time-off. Supervisors may approve up to 8 hours of time-off without higher level management review or approval (but subject to the documentation, processing, and cost accounting requirements described in these procedures).

3. Calculating Time-Off and Supplemental Cash Awards.

Note:

For bargaining unit employees, time-off award and supplemental monetary award calculations are computed within the National Performance Awards Program. The following calculations are required when other types of time-off awards (for example, time-off awards in lieu of monetary special act awards) have been approved.

  1. Time-off Awards. When time-off has been approved as an award or as a component of a combination monetary and time-off award, the time-off hours shall be calculated as follows.

    1. The value of the time-off component is divided by the employee's hourly rate of pay, rounded to the nearest dollar. The result is rounded to the nearest hour. As an example, if an employee who earns $15.72 an hour is granted a $700.00 monetary award with a $200.00 monetary component and a $500.00 time-off component; the $500.00 value of the time-off component is divided by $16.00 (the $15.72 hourly rate of pay, rounded to the nearest dollar). The result of 31.25 hours is rounded to 31 hours of time-off.

    2. For the purpose of calculating time-off, the hourly rate of pay is determined by the employee's basic annual salary on the date the award is approved. The annual rate of basic pay used must include any applicable locality payment under 5 CFR 531, Subpart F; special rate supplement under 5 CFR 530, Subpart C (special salary rate schedules); or similar payment or supplement under other legal authority. For an employee receiving a retained rate under 5 CFR 536, Subpart C (or similar authority, such as 5 CFR 359.705), the rate of basic pay is the maximum payable rate for the employee's grade or level, rather than the retained rate.

    3. Hourly rates of locality pay for employees paid under the General Schedule are posted on the U. S. Office of Personnel Management locality pay tables web site. Hourly rates for employees paid under the IR Pay System are posted on the IRS intranet at the HCO Payband Resource Center.

  2. Supplemental Monetary Awards. If the time-off component of an award (calculated as described in paragraph 3.a.) results in a number of hours which exceeds the 40 or 80 hour limitation described in paragraphs 1.d. or e., a supplemental monetary award shall be paid for the value of the excess hours. This award is paid because the employee is not authorized to receive time-off hours in excess of the limitation.

    Note:

    Management computation of time-off awards and supplemental monetary awards is subject to verification and processing by AWSS.

4. Scheduling and Taking Time-Off.

  1. Employees may not take time-off before it has been processed and posted to the Single Entry Time Reports System (SETR).

  2. Time-off is not annual leave; however, local practices used for requesting, scheduling, and approval of annual leave shall be followed for time-off. For example, employees are responsible for obtaining supervisors' approval for the use of time-off hours in the same manner as for annual leave.

  3. Time-off may be taken in a single block of time or in one hour increments.

  4. Timekeeping procedures regarding time-off are described on the SETR web site.

  5. The granting of time-off does not increase an employee's "use or lose" annual leave and time-off should be scheduled so as not to conflict with existing "use or lose" annual leave. Time-off absence is not justification for the restoration of forfeited annual leave.

  6. Because time-off is not annual leave it shall not be transferred to another Federal employee under the Voluntary Leave Transfer Program.

  7. If an employee transfers from IRS to another Federal agency, the gaining agency is not obligated to "honor" any time-off award balance the employee may have. Therefore, any unused time-off awards are not transferable, unless a special arrangement is made with the receiving agency to honor the time-off award granted by IRS. Also, IRS may not convert the time off to a monetary payment to the employee. See paragraph 6, below.

  8. Time-off must be scheduled and taken within one year after the effective date of the award unless one of the exceptions in this paragraph applies. Time-off that is not taken within one year (26 pay periods) and not subject to one of the exceptions shall be forfeited and shall not be restored. For example, a time-off award made available effective September 25, 2011 must be used by September 24, 2012. In response to an employee’s request made before expiration of the one year limitation, the second level supervisor may grant written exception to the limitation in the following situations:

    1. if an employee is granted extended annual or sick leave or leave without pay at a later date which would prevent taking the time-off within one year,

    2. if an employee receives a leave restriction letter at a later date which would prevent taking the time-off within one year, or for any similar reason.

  9. When physical incapacitation for duty occurs during a period when an employee is taking time-off, sick leave may be granted for the period of incapacitation (medical certification may be required upon the employee's return to work). Time-off should then be scheduled for another time, subject to the supervisor's approval.

    Note on military service: An exception to the one year time limitation will be granted for military service for which military leave, military leave without pay, annual leave, or sick leave was approved and used. In this situation, leave granted for military service after the effective date of the time-off award and before the employee returns to duty with IRS, shall extend the one year time limitation on the basis of an eight hour workday. For example, if a total of 200 hours of this type of leave was approved and used for military service, the one year limitation shall be extended by five calendar weeks.

    Extension of the one year time limitation will be granted if the employee provides the immediate supervisor with a copy of the orders directing the employee to active duty and a copy of the certificate on completion of such duty. This information should be provided to the supervisor upon the employee’s return to duty with IRS and before expiration of the extended period. Higher level approval is not required for this exception. Supervisors shall contact their SETR representative promptly to have the expiration date of the time-off award extended.

  10. Time-off shall not be used:

    1. to reduce an outstanding leave deficit such as advanced sick leave,

    2. as a substitute for other personnel or pay actions, or

    3. in lieu of payment for overtime worked.

5. Information on Time-Off Balances. When a time-off award is approved, time-off hours are posted on SETR. Employees who have access to SETR may view time-off balances under the Time Entry, Leave Balances tab. Time-off balances are also posted in HR Connect, IRS’ human resource service delivery program, under My Information, Leave. Employees who do not have access to SETR or HR Connect should contact their supervisor for time-off award balance information. Additionally, time-off awards are documented on Standard Form (SF) 50, Notification of Personnel Action. SF-50s are issued to each employee and are available through HR Connect to provide official individual notification that a time-off award has been granted and the effective date of the award. Supervisors can access time-off awards reports through the IRS Human Resource Reporting Center via the Secured Business Unit Sites tab. Supervisors can print these reports as a tool to help ensure that employees use time-off awards timely.

6. Conversion of a Time-Off Award to Cash is Prohibited. The Code of Federal Regulations (5 USC 451, Subpart A, Section 451.104 (f)) states that "A time-off award granted under this subpart shall not be converted to a cash payment under any circumstances." Consequently, once the processing of a time-off award has been completed by AWSS, a monetary payment shall not be made for any reason. For example, if an employee separates from IRS with a time-off balance, the employee shall forfeit the unused hours and no monetary payment shall be made.
Exception: If a time-off award is granted in error, and the error can be documented, correction of the error by reversing the time-off award and granting a monetary award is not a prohibited conversion described in the regulation. These corrections should be limited to cases that can be and are fully documented.

7. Accounting for Costs.

  1. When an employee is granted a time-off award under these procedures, the appropriate monetary awards budget shall be reduced by an amount which represents the monetary equivalent of the time-off. The Financial Plan Manager will accomplish this by reprogramming funds from the budget object class, cash awards, to another budget object class in the financial plan. This reprogramming will apply to the fiscal year in which the award is approved.

  2. Financial Plan Managers are responsible for tracking the amount of cash award funding that is reprogrammed in this manner.

  3. The responsible IRS Payroll Center will establish procedures (such as the forwarding of approved awards documents or the use of reports from the Treasury Integrated Management Information System or other systems) to ensure that Financial Plan Managers are promptly advised of the amounts which must be reprogrammed.

Exhibit 6.451.1-3 
IRS Quality Step Increase Program

1. Policy. The purpose of a QSI is to provide appropriate incentives and recognition for excellence in individual employees’ performance. As part of the Commissioner’s “Workforce of Tomorrow” initiative to make IRS the best place to work in government, QSIs play an important role in programs to provide meaningful recognition to superior performers. Under the IRS QSI program, employees whose current performance rating of record is “Outstanding” and who meet all of the IRS and regulatory criteria are eligible to be granted a QSI or alternative 3% of salary award. The Service retains the discretion to either grant or deny a QSI. The final authority to grant a QSI or alternative 3% of salary award rests with the IRS Human Capital Officer, or designee.

2. Definitions.

  1. Quality Step Increase. A faster than normal increase in an employee’s rate of basic pay (includes locality or special rate) from one step of an employee’s GS, GM, or GL grade to the next higher step of that grade.

    1. The pay increase that would result from the grant of a QSI can be determined by reference to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s Locality Pay Tables for Geographic Areas or, for law enforcement officers only (generally IRS Special Agents and Criminal Investigators) Locality Pay Tables for Law Enforcement Officers. A QSI would place an employee who is not at the highest step of the grade in the next higher step of that grade as reflected in the appropriate locality pay table.

    2. QSIs are granted in addition to regular within-grade increases and do not affect the timing of an employee’s next regular within-grade increase unless the QSI places the employee in step 4 or step 7 of the grade. In these cases, within-grade waiting periods are extended an additional 52 weeks and the time an employee has already waited counts towards the next increase. The employee receives the full benefit of a QSI at an earlier date and has not lost any time creditable towards his or her next within-grade increase.

  2. Rating of Record (also called summary, annual, or overall rating). An employee’s assigned overall performance rating that has been validly entered in HR Connect/e-Performance. For additional information see IRM 6.430.1, Performance Management, Section 1, Introduction to Performance Management, Exhibit 6.430.1-1, Glossary of Performance Management Terms.

  3. Three Percent of Salary Award.

    1. An employee who has been approved for a QSI under this policy may elect a 3% of salary award in lieu of the QSI.

    2. An employee who has been approved for a QSI who is paid at the highest step of the grade or who is receiving a retained rate (for example, under the pay retention provisions) cannot be granted a QSI under Federal regulations and will be granted a 3% of salary award.

    3. A 3% of salary award is calculated based on the employee’s annual rate of basic pay (includes locality or special rate) as shown in the Office of Personnel Management’s pay tables referenced in paragraph 2.a.1, above.

    4. For non-bargaining unit employees, the award amount is calculated based on the employee’s rate of basic pay on the effective date of the 3% of salary award. If the employee is serving under a temporary promotion to a non-bargaining unit position, the 3% of salary award is based on the rate of basic pay applicable to the temporary promotion.

    5. For bargaining unit employees, the award amount is calculated based the employee’s rate of basic pay as of the annual National Performance Awards Program calculation date. (The last day of the last pay period ending on or immediately before June 30.) If the employee is serving under a temporary promotion to a bargaining unit position on that date, the 3% of salary award is based on the rate of basic pay applicable to the temporary promotion. If the employee is serving under a temporary promotion to a non-bargaining unit position on that date, the 3% of salary award is based on the rate of basic pay for the employee’s permanent bargaining unit position of record.

    6. For the purpose of calculating 3% of salary awards, the rate of basic pay used must include any applicable locality payment under 5 CFR 531, Subpart F; special rate supplement under 5 CFR 530, Subpart C (special salary rate schedules); or similar payment or supplement under other legal authority. For an employee receiving a retained rate under 5 CFR 536, subpart C (or similar authority, such as 5 CFR 359.705) the rate of basic pay is the maximum payable rate for the employee’s grade or level, rather than the retained rate.

    7. Employees who qualify for 3% of salary awards will be paid either the amount of a 3% of salary award or the amount of a performance award (or the equivalent time-off award, if applicable) whichever is greater. If a performance award is paid because the amount is greater than a 3% of salary award, there is no impact on the employee’s QSI waiting period.

  4. Time-off award is a monetary award granted in the form of time-off from duty, without charge to leave or loss of pay. (See Exhibit 6.451.1-2, Time-Off Award Program Procedures.) An employee who has elected a 3% of salary award in lieu of a QSI as described in paragraph 2.c.2 may request payment of that award in the form of time-off, subject to supervisory review and approval or disapproval.

3. QSI Eligibility Criteria. Effective for appraisal periods ending on and after September 30, 2010, any employee whose official personnel records document that he or she meets all of the following criteria shall be eligible for a QSI.

  1. Compensated under the GS, GM or GL pay plan, and

  2. serving under a permanent appointment (includes full-time, part-time, seasonal, and intermittent employees), and

  3. currently assigned an IRS Performance Rating of Record of "Outstanding" for a performance rating period ending on or after Sept. 30, 2010, and

  4. was assigned "Outstanding" ratings for at least two of the preceding three IRS annual ratings of record, and

  5. it has been at least 78 pay periods since the end of the employee's most recent appraisal period for which the employee was granted a QSI or 3% of salary award in lieu of a QSl, and

  6. is not serving under a temporary or time-limited appointment and,

  7. is not compensated under the W&I Submission Processing incentive pay or gainsharing systems.

Note:

QSI eligibility criteria:

  • Criteria b. and f. - refer to the nature of the employee’s appointment to Federal service. For example, employees serving under Temporary or Term Appointments not to exceed 1 year or less (after which their employment with IRS would be terminated unless those appointments were extended) are not eligible under the IRS QSI policy, even if those appointments are subsequently extended so that the total time of the appointment exceeds 1 year.

  • Employees serving under temporary promotions or details remain eligible under the IRS QSI policy.

  • Criteria c. and d. - a rating of record is assigned when the rating has been approved and validly entered into the IRS HRConnect/e-Performance Module.

  • The criteria are applied and eligibility determinations are made based on official personnel records as of the ending date of employees’ most recent performance appraisal periods and on performance appraisals approved by management and validly entered into HR Connect/e-Performance.

4. Relationship to Performance Awards. An employee who is granted a QSI or a 3% of salary award in lieu of a QSI is not eligible for a performance award for the same rating period.

5. QSI Eligibility Determination, Approval, and Processing. An outline of the general process follows. These procedures may be adjusted when circumstances warrant.

  1. GS, GM, or GL employees who are assigned IRS Performance Ratings of Record of "Outstanding" are provided the opportunity to elect a QSI or a 3% of salary monetary award in lieu of a QSI, and, with supervisory approval, to elect a time-off award in lieu of a 3% of salary monetary award. Employees document these elections on appraisal forms 6850BU, 6850NBU, 12450B and 12450D templates in the HR Connect/ePerformance system, IRS’s online performance plan management system, or, in some cases, in response to official correspondence initiated by Agency-Wide Shared Services. Supervisors document approval or disapproval of time-off award options in the same manner. This procedure does not confirm approval of a QSI. Employee elections are subject to final approval of the QSI as described below.

    Note:

    Manual awards election procedures (for example, e-mail or U.S Postal Service communications to employees and/ or to their supervisors) may be utilized for employees without an IRS-issued computer or on-site access and/-or on a case-by-case basis where an employee is otherwise unable to make elections in ePerformance.

  2. AWSS, Philadelphia Payroll Center, reviews official personnel records of employees who have been assigned “Outstanding” performance ratings of record to determine whether they meet all of the QSI eligibility criteria described under paragraph 3, above. Eligibility determinations are made only after “Outstanding” ratings for employees’ most recent appraisal periods have been approved by management and validly entered into HR Connect/e-Performance.

  3. The grant of a QSI is subject to review and final approval by the IRS Human Capital Officer or designee. QSIs shall not be initiated or approved outside of the IRS QSI program.

  4. Notifications to Employees Approved for QSIs. Upon final approval of QSIs by the IRS Human Capital Officer or designee, employees will receive a system generated e-mail advising them of the approval and that they will be granted a QSI, or a 3% of salary monetary or time-off award (or a performance award, whichever amount is greater) in accordance with their documented QSI elections and any supervisory time-off award approval.

  5. Notifications to Employees Ineligible for QSIs. “Outstanding” rated employees who are not eligible for QSIs will receive a system generated e-mail within approximately 45 days after the rating has been approved in ePerformance advising them of the reason(s) for ineligibility, that they remain eligible for performance awards in accordance with current IRS policy and any applicable negotiated agreements, and, if they prefer a time-off award in lieu of any monetary performance award they may qualify for, to notify their supervisor within 15 calendar days of that preference. If they prefer a monetary award, no action need be taken. If they fail to notify their supervisors of a time-off preference, any performance award they may receive will be a monetary award.
    EXCEPTION: For employees who do not have IRS e-mail access, U.S. Postal Service notices and/or e-mail may be sent to employees or to their supervisors.

    Note:

    For “Outstanding” rated employees who are not eligible for QSIs who do not have e-mail access; supervisors should record the employee’s preference of a monetary or time-off performance award in the Award Election Report.

  6. Processing.

    1. The Philadelphia Payroll Center will process QSIs to be effective as soon as practicable after eligibility determinations and final QSI approval.

    2. Three percent of salary monetary awards (or time-off awards when supervisory approval has been secured) will be paid to eligible employees as follows:

    1. Bargaining unit employees will be paid either the amount of a 3% of salary award or the amount of a performance award as computed under the National Performance Awards Agreement (or the equivalent time-off award, if applicable) whichever amount is greater. The payment is subject to applicable provisions of the NPAA regarding the payment of bargaining unit performance awards in September of each year. (If a performance award is paid because the amount is greater than a 3% of salary award, there is no impact on the employee’s QSI waiting period.)

    2. Non-bargaining unit employees will be paid either the amount of a 3% of salary award or the amount of a performance award (or the equivalent time-off award, if applicable) whichever is greater. The payment will be made in accordance with procedures, including payment dates, administered by each operating division and principal office. (If a performance award is paid because the amount is greater than a 3% of salary award, there is no impact on the employee’s QSI waiting period.)

    3. Processing will be delayed if an employee does not make a valid QSI election or time-off award request in ePerformance or does not respond to follow-up inquiries.

    4. An employee who does not respond will be granted a QSI unless he or she cannot be granted a QSI under Federal regulations as described in paragraph 2.c.2. Non-responding employees who cannot be granted QSIs will be granted 3% of salary monetary awards. Time-off awards shall not be granted to non-respondents.

    5. Once an employee’s valid QSI, 3% of salary monetary award, or approved time-off award has been processed or a non-responding employee’s award has been processed it will not be changed unless a processing error is verified. Any changes to processed awards that IRS operating divisions and principal offices may propose must be coordinated in advance with the Philadelphia Payroll Center.

    6. Retroactive grant of QSIs before the date of final approval is prohibited. See IRM 6.451.1.8.

    7. QSI recognition certificates are distributed on a monthly basis to the employee’s supervisor of record or other point of contact identified by the operating division or office. Performance award recognition certificates are distributed to employees who are granted 3% of salary awards under these procedures. See IRM 6.451.1.9.d for more information.

    8. Additional information regarding the IRS QSI policy, the ePerformance process, frequently asked questions and answers and information regarding where employees may direct additional questions may be found at the Human Capital Office Quality Step Increase intranet site.


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