Usps employee awards

Usps employee awards DEFAULT

Should the Postal Service be allowed to freely award employees for a job well done? The Postal Service operates as a businesslike entity, but it is also part of the government. Appearances count — particularly in tough economic times. The Postal Service has an interest in recruiting and retaining talented employees to remain competitive, but what is appropriate? Competitors of the Postal Service are free to award employees with pricey gifts, tickets to major events, conferences held at resorts and other perks. These are rarely subject to scrutiny by Congress or provoke significant comment in the media. The Postal Service also uses incentives to reward employees for good job performance. While most Postal Service awards have been modest, Postal Service managers have authorized designer watches, espresso machines, global positioning systems, box seat tickets to sporting events, and personal computers as awards for their employees. [poll id=39] [poll id=40] Tell us what you think about spending of this type. Is this acceptable spending for the Postal Service? How should the Postal Service recognize employees' good performance during these tough economic times? This topic is hosted by the OIG’s Suspicious Expenditures team.

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496 Special Awards

496.1 Overview

The characteristics of Special Awards are as shown in Exhibit 496.1.

Exhibit 496.1 

Special Awards

 

Type

Who Is Eligible

Description

Approval Authority

Basis

Limit

Team Award

Nonbargaining, Non-Inspection Service career employees

Cash, cash equivalent item, or noncash tangible item

Vice President

Recognizes superior team contribution or achievement deserving of system-wide recognition.

Cash, from $50 to $2,000 per team member, Cash equivalent, from $100 to $2,000 per team member, or noncash tangible item valued from $100 to $2,000 per team member. Limit of $2,000 per employee, per fiscal year.

Vice President Award

All career employees

Cash

Vice President

Recognizes superior individual contribution or achievement deserving of system-wide recognition.

Cash, up to $5,000 per award. Limit of $10,000 per employee, per fiscal year.

Postmaster General Award

All career employees

Cash

Postmaster General, executive committee members, and senior vice presidents

Recognizes exceptional individual contribution and achievement deserving of system-wide recognition.

Cash, up to $12,500 per award. Limit of $12,500 per employee, per fiscal year.

ELT Award

All career employees

Cash

ELT members

Recognizes superior individual contribution or achievement deserving of system-wide recognition.

Cash, up to $10,000 per award. Limit of $10,000 per employee, per fiscal year.

Benjamin Franklin Award

Designated by the Postmaster General

Plaque showing a bust of Benjamin Franklin and a canceled 1847 issue of a 5-cent stamp

Postmaster General

The highest award given by the Postal Service, reserved for employees in highly responsible Postal Service positions to recognize unusually significant service.

Noncash award.

496.2 Team Award

496.21 Purpose

The purpose of the Team Award is to reward superior team contribution or achievement deserving of system-wide recognition.

496.22 Description

The Team Award can be any of the following:

  1. A check from $50 to $2,000 issued by Accounting Services given to an individual team member. (See 491.31 for an explanation of cash awards.)
  2. A cash equivalent product valued from $100 to $2,000, given to an individual team member. (See 491.32 for an explanation of cash equivalent awards.)
  3. A noncash tangible item valued from $100 to $2,000, given to an individual team member. (See 491.33 for an explanation of noncash tangible awards.)

The amount of the award should be commensurate with the magnitude of the team achievement.

Note: Noncash tangible awards valued at $100 or more, and all cash equivalent awards must be reported in eAwards.

496.23 Eligibility

All career nonbargaining employees are eligible for the Team Award. Eligibility for the Team Award is without regard to:

  1. Race, color, sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender identity, including transgender status), national origin, religion, age (40 or over), genetic information, disability, or retaliation for engaging in EEO-protected activity as provided by law; or
  2. Other non-meritorious factors, such as political affiliation; marital status; status as a parent; and past, present, or future military service.
496.24 Limits

The maximum amount for an individual Team Award is $2,000, whether it is cash, a cash equivalent item, or a noncash tangible item. The minimum cash award amount is $50. The minimum award amount for noncash tangible items is $100. The minimum cash equivalent award is $100. An employee may receive up to $2,000 in Team Awards in a fiscal year (independent of other awards received).

496.25 Approval Authority

Only vice presidents can approve Team Awards, and they are responsible for establishing administrative procedures for issuing these awards within their respective organizations.

496.26 Processing

The official who is recommending the Team Award initiates the request for a cash award in eAwards. All cash equivalent and noncash tangible Team Awards must be purchased locally in accordance with Postal Service and local purchasing guidelines and reported in eAwards under the appropriate award category. The reporting of these items in eAwards should occur in the same pay period the award is presented to the recipient. Reporting must take place in the same calendar year as the award is presented to avoid tax reporting discrepancies. Cash equivalent and noncash tangible awards are automatically grossed up by eAwards so that the Postal Service assumes the tax liability for the recipient. The additional tax liability for grossed up awards is charged to the finance number indicated in eAwards.

496.3 Vice President Award

496.31 Purpose

The Vice President Award is cash recognition to acknowledge and reward superior individual contribution or achievement deserving of system-wide recognition. It is intended to recognize contributions not encompassed by basic salary, merit salary adjustments, or formal pay for performance programs.

496.32 Description

The Vice President Award is a cash award (check issued by Accounting Services) valued at up to $5,000. The amount awarded should be commensurate with the magnitude of the effort or achievement.

The Vice President Award is considered ordinary income for tax purposes (see 491.32).

496.33 Eligibility

All career employees are eligible for the Vice President Award. Eligibility for the Vice President Award is without regard to:

  1. Race, color, sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender identity, including transgender status), national origin, religion, age (40 or over), genetic information, disability, or retaliation for engaging in EEO-protected activity as provided by law; or
  2. Other non-meritorious factors, such as political affiliation; marital status; status as a parent; and past, present, or future military service.
496.34 Approval Authority

Vice presidents must approve these awards, and they are responsible for establishing administrative procedures for issuing this award within their respective organizations.

496.35 Processing

The Vice President Award is submitted by the intended recipient’s manager or functional area executive and approved via eAwards. When the award is approved, Accounting Services generates a check and mails it to the official Postal Service address indicated in eAwards.

496.4 Postmaster General Award

496.41 Purpose

The Postmaster General Award is a cash payment to acknowledge and reward superior individual contribution or achievement that deserves system-wide recognition. It is intended to recognize contributions not encompassed by basic salary, merit salary adjustments, or formal pay for performance programs.

496.42 Description

The Postmaster General Award is a one-time cash award (a check issued by Accounting Services) valued at up to $12,500. The amount of the award should be commensurate with the magnitude of the effort or achievement.

The Postmaster General Award is considered ordinary income for tax purposes (see 491.32).

496.43 Eligibility

All career employees are eligible for the Postmaster General Award. Eligibility for the Postmaster General Award is without regard to:

  1. Race, color, sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender identity, including transgender status), national origin, religion, age (40 or over), genetic information, disability, or retaliation for engaging in EEO-protected activity as provided by law; or
  2. Other non-meritorious factors, such as political affiliation; marital status; status as a parent; and past, present, or future military service.
496.44 Approval Authority

The Postmaster General, executive committee members, or senior vice presidents must approve Postmaster General Awards, and they are responsible for establishing administrative procedures for issuing these awards within their respective organizations.

496.5 ELT Award

496.51 Purpose

The ELT Award is cash recognition to acknowledge and reward superior individual contribution or achievement deserving of system-wide recognition. It is intended to recognize contributions not encompassed by basic salary, merit salary adjustments, or formal pay for performance programs.

496.52 Description

The ELT Award is a cash award (check issued by Accounting Services) valued at up to $10,000. The amount awarded should be commensurate with the magnitude of the effort or achievement.

The ELT Award is considered ordinary income for tax purposes (see 491.32).

496.53 Eligibility

All career employees are eligible for the ELT Award. Eligibility for the ELT Award is without regard to:

  1. Race, color, sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender identity, including transgender status), national origin, religion, age (40 or over), genetic information, disability, or retaliation for engaging in EEO-protected activity as provided by law; or
  2. Other non-meritorious factors, such as political affiliation; marital status; status as a parent; and past, present, or future military service.
496.54 Approval Authority

ELT members must approve these awards, and they are responsible for establishing administrative procedures for issuing this award within their respective organizations.

496.55 Processing

The ELT Award is submitted by the intended recipient’s manager or functional area executive and approved via eAwards. When the award is approved, Accounting Services generates a check and mails it to the official Postal Service address indicated in eAwards.

496.6 Benjamin Franklin Award

496.61 Description

The Benjamin Franklin Award, the highest award given by the Postal Service, is a plaque showing a bust of Benjamin Franklin and a canceled 1847 issue of a 5-cent Benjamin Franklin stamp. An engraved metal plate is attached to the plaque.

496.62 Eligibility

The Postmaster General designates those to be honored and does not accept recommendations. Eligibility for the Benjamin Franklin Award is without regard to:

  1. Race, color, sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender identity, including transgender status), national origin, religion, age (40 or over), genetic information, disability, or retaliation for engaging in EEO-protected activity as provided by law; or
  2. Other non-meritorious factors, such as political affiliation; marital status; status as a parent; and past, present, or future military service.
496.63 Basis

This award is reserved for employees serving in highly responsible Postal Service positions who meet either of these criteria:

  1. The employee’s accomplishments have had a unique impact on major Postal Service programs.
  2. The employee’s accomplishments have resulted in an unusually significant improvement in service to the public or in general operations.
496.64 Approval Authority

The Postmaster General has sole authority to approve this award.




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495 Formal Awards

495.1 Overview

The characteristics of Formal Awards are shown in Exhibit 495.1.

Exhibit 495.1 

Formal Awards

 

Type

Who Is Eligible

Description

Approval Authority

Basis

Limit

Spot cash

Non-Inspection Service, career employees

Check issued by Accounting Services.

Manager or Postmaster EAS-22 or higher

Recognizes sustained high-quality performance that is likely to continue or a specific action or accomplishment beyond normal work requirements.

From $50 to $3,000 per award. Limit is $3,000 per employee per fiscal year.

Spot Cash Equivalent

Non-Inspection Service, career employees

Cash equivalent item purchased locally from authorized vendor.

Manager or Postmaster EAS-22 or higher

Recognizes sustained high-quality performance that is likely to continue or a specific action or accomplishment beyond normal work requirements.

From $100 to $3,000 per award. Limit is $3,000 per employee per fiscal year.

Spot Noncash Tangible

Non-Inspection Service, career employees

Merchandise item, clothing, etc., purchased locally.

Manager or Postmaster EAS-22 or higher

Recognizes sustained high-quality performance that is likely to continue or a specific action or accomplishment beyond normal work requirements.

From $100 to $3,000 per award. Limit is $3,000 per employee per fiscal year.

Spot Gift Certificate

Non-Inspection Service, career emplyeess

Gift card or certificate purchased locally from an authorized vendor.

Manager or Postmaster EAS-22 or higher

Recognizes sustained high-quality performance that is likely to continue or a specific action or accomplishment beyond normal work requirements.

From $1 to $3,000 per award. Limit is $3,000 per employee per fiscal year.

Noncareer Gift Certificate

Noncareer employees

Gift card or certificate purchased locally from an authorized vendor.

Manager or Postmaster EAS-22 or higher

Recognizes sustained high-quality performance that is likely to continue or a specific action or accomplishment beyond normal work requirements.

From $1 to $100 per award. Limit is $500 per employee per fiscal year.

Quality Step Increase (QSI)

Career bargaining unit employees

Change in base pay.

See 495.4

See 495.4

Step increase (see 495.4).

495.11 Presenting Awards

Whenever possible, an award should be presented by the installation head or designee, in front of coworkers, with the appropriate amount of ceremony. The award may be presented along with a letter of appreciation describing the reason for the award to the recipient on Postal Service letterhead in an official service award folder. Folders may be ordered from the Material Distribution Center under the following item number:

 

495.2 Spot Award

495.21 Purpose

The purpose of a Spot Award is to provide immediate recognition for a specific action or achievement beyond what is normally expected of an employee. It is not to be used as an incentive for pre-established goals or objectives. A Spot Award may be used to recognize a wide range of performance or actions.

495.22 Description

A Spot Award is one of the following:

  1. A check issued by Accounting Services (see 491.31).
  2. A cash equivalent product that can be immediately converted to cash. (See 491.32 for an explanation of cash equivalent awards.)
  3. A merchandise item of at least $100 in value (see 491.33).
  4. A gift certificate (see 491.34).

A Spot Award is always considered ordinary income for tax purposes. Depending on the award type and amount, cash equivalent items, gift certificate, and noncash tangible awards may be grossed up for income tax purposes. (See 491.3 for more information on the tax impact of awards and grossing up for tax purposes.)

Note: Cash awards are not grossed up.

495.23 Eligibility

All career employees excluding Inspection Service and PCES employees are eligible to receive Spot Awards. Eligibility for Spot Awards is without regard to:

  1. Race, color, sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender identity, including transgender status), national origin, religion, age (40 or over), genetic information, disability, or retaliation for engaging in EEO-protected activity as provided by law; or
  2. Other non-meritorious factors, such as political affiliation; marital status; status as a parent; and past, present, or future military service.
495.24 Basis

The basis for presenting a Spot Award is an employee contribution (sustained performance, achievement, invention, special act, or service) that exceeds usual work requirements. (See 495.442 for comparison with Quality Step Increase.) The employee must:

  1. Exceed requirements in one or more important job elements for 12 months or more.
  2. Devise new or improved methods that save manpower, space, materials, equipment, or other cost items.
  3. Contribute to outstanding economy, efficiency, added income, or measurably improved service to the public.
  4. Break production records or inspire others to improve quantity and quality of work.
  5. Risk life or personal safety in an act of heroism.
  6. Maintain work schedule in absence of supervisor or meet unusual demands of higher level duties on one’s own initiative.
495.25 Approval Authority
495.251 Headquarters and Headquarters–Related Field Units

Officers, PCES executives, and their designees who are EAS-22 and above may approve Spot Awards for eligible Headquarters and Headquarters-related field unit employees.

495.252 Areas

Area vice presidents, area managers, and their designees who are EAS-22 and above, may approve Spot Awards for eligible area employees, in accordance with Postal Service and area office policy.

495.253 Field

District managers, senior plant managers, postmasters, and other managers who are EAS-22 and above may approve Spot Awards for eligible employees under their jurisdiction in accordance with Postal Service and local guidelines for employee recognition.

495.26 Recommending an Award

The recommendation for a Spot Award is initiated in eAwards by the immediate supervisor, postmaster, or management official with knowledge of the employee or group contribution. The recommendation is initiated promptly, but no later than 1 year after the date of the achievement, act, or period covering the performance.

The recommending official reviews the employee’s job description, assigned duties, and performance requirements and decides to what degree the contribution exceeds average requirements by:

  1. Measuring the amount of savings or degree of improvement realized in relation to job responsibilities. (Savings alone cannot be used to determine an award. Higher-level employees are expected to effect more significant improvements and benefits than employees at lower levels.)
  2. Determining the extent of contribution and benefits outside the employee’s immediate installation.
  3. Considering the degree of ingenuity, magnitude of accomplishment, and nonmonetary benefits represented by the contribution.

Note: The nominee should not be advised of the recommendation in advance of its approval.

495.27 Evaluating and Approving the Award

The approving official evaluates the recommendation, decides if an award is warranted, and approves the recognition in eAwards.

When, in the opinion of the approving official, the accomplishment fails to meet the outlined criteria for Spot Award recognition or if the award amount needs to be modified, the award submission is returned to the recommender via eAwards, with comments as to why it is being returned and any further handling instructions.

495.28 Processing

All Spot Cash Awards are requested, approved, and generated via eAwards. When a Spot Cash award submission is approved, eAwards will generate a check that is mailed to the official Postal Service address provided when the award request was entered.

The recommending official is responsible for obtaining or purchasing locally any cash equivalents, noncash tangible merchandise items, and gift certificates to be used as recognition. Purchasing must be done in accordance with established Postal Service and local policies.

Noncash tangible awards, valued at $100 or more, and all cash equivalent and gift certificate awards must be reported in eAwards as income received so that:

  1. Appropriate payroll deductions can be made from the recipient’s normal pay, and
  2. The award amount may be grossed up, if necessary.

The reporting of these items in eAwards should occur in the same pay period the award is presented to the recipient. Reporting must take place in the same calendar year to avoid tax reporting discrepancies.

495.3 Noncareer Gift Certificate

495.31 Purpose

The purpose of the Noncareer Gift Certificate Award is to provide immediate recognition for a specific action or achievement beyond the normal work requirements of a noncareer employee. It is not to be used as an incentive for achievement of pre-established goals or objectives. The Noncareer Gift Certificate Award may be used to recognize a wide range of performance or actions.

495.32 Description

A Noncareer Gift Certificate Award consists of a gift certificate not greater than $100 in value purchased locally in accordance with Postal Service and local purchasing rules and regulations. Eligible employees may receive up to $500 in gift certificate awards in a fiscal year.

The Noncareer Gift Certificate Award, regardless of dollar value, is considered taxable income. Noncareer Gift Certificates valued at $50 or more are grossed up for tax purposes. (See 491.34 for more information on the tax impact of awards and grossing up for tax purposes.)

A Noncareer Gift Certificate Award may be presented along with a letter of appreciation on official Postal Service letterhead in an official service award folder.

495.33 Eligibility

The following provisions apply:

  1. All noncareer Postal Service employees are eligible to receive Noncareer Gift Certificate Awards. Eligibility for the Noncareer Gift Certificate Award is without regard to:
    1. Race, color, sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender identity, including transgender status), national origin, religion, age (40 or over), genetic information, disability, or retaliation for engaging in EEO-protected activity as provided by law; or
    2. Other non-meritorious factors, such as political affiliation; marital status; status as a parent; and past, present, or future military service.
  2. The Noncareer Gift Certificate Award is the only formal award that noncareer employees are eligible to receive.
  3. Contractors are not eligible to receive any type of formal award.
495.34 Basis

The basis for presenting a Noncareer Gift Certificate Award is an employee contribution (sustained performance, achievement, invention, special act, or service) that exceeds usual work requirements.

495.35 Approval Authority
495.351 Headquarters and Headquarters-Related Field Units

Officers, PCES executives, and designated managers EAS-22 and above may approve Noncareer Gift Certificate Awards for eligible Headquarters and Headquarters-related field unit employees.

495.352 Areas

Area vice presidents, area managers, and their designees EAS-22 and above may approve Noncareer Gift Certificate Awards for eligible employees, in accordance with Postal Service and area office policy.

495.353 Field

District managers, senior plant managers, postmasters, and other managers EAS-22 and above may approve Noncareer Gift Certificate Awards for eligible employees under their jurisdiction in accordance with Postal Service and local guidelines for employee recognition.

495.36 Recommending an Award

The recommendation for a Noncareer Gift Certificate Award is initiated in eAwards by the immediate supervisor, postmaster, or management official with knowledge of the employee or group contribution. The recommendation should be initiated promptly, but no later than 1 year after the date of the achievement, act, or period covering the performance.

Note: The nominee should not be advised of the recommendation in advance of its approval.

495.37 Evaluating and Approving the Award

The approving official evaluates the recommendation, decides if an award is warranted, and approves recognition in eAwards.

When, in the opinion of the approving official, the accomplishment fails to meet the outlined criteria for Noncareer Gift Certificate Awards recognition or if the award amount needs to be modified, the award submission is returned to the recommender via eAwards, with comments as to why it is being returned and any further handling instructions.

495.38 Processing

The recommending official is responsible for purchasing gift certificates to be used as recognition. Purchasing must be done in accordance with established Postal Service and local policies.

All Noncareer Gift Certificate Awards are reported in eAwards as income received so that the appropriate payroll deductions can be made from the recipient’s pay. The reporting of these items in eAwards should occur in the same pay period the award is presented to the recipient. Reporting must take place in the same calendar year to avoid tax reporting discrepancies.

495.4 Quality Step Increase Award

495.41 Description

The Quality Step Increase (QSI) is an increase in basic pay that recognizes sustained high-quality performance. The total dollar benefit usually exceeds that of a one-time cash award and is granted only when the level of performance is likely to continue.

495.42 Eligibility

All career bargaining unit employees not already at the top step for their pay grade are eligible to receive the QSI. An employee cannot receive more than one QSI in any 52-week period. Eligibility for the QSI is without regard to:

  1. Race, color, sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender identity, including transgender status), national origin, religion, age (40 or over), genetic information, disability, or retaliation for engaging in EEO-protected activity as provided by law; or
  2. Other non-meritorious factors, such as political affiliation; marital status; status as a parent; and past, present, or future military service.
495.43 Basis

High-quality performance can be determined only after a thorough review of position requirements, duties, and responsibilities. Consideration must be given to the quality and quantity of work, demonstrated professional and technical knowledge, manual skills, and other evidence of superior competence. Performance criteria include one or more of the following:

  1. The most important function of the job is being performed in a manner that substantially exceeds normal requirements.
  2. Another function of the job is being performed in a manner that is better than satisfactory.
  3. A specific job was sustained at a high level during the preceding year and gives promise of continuing.
495.44 Comparisons
495.441 Comparison to Regular Within–Grade Increases

A QSI requires exceptional authorization by management and is always in addition to regular pay adjustments (such as general increases, cost of living adjustments, and/or regular within-grade increases) required by the labor contracts. Any employee below the highest step is eligible to receive a QSI.

A bargaining unit employee cannot receive more than one QSI in any 52-week period (see 495.42). An employee who receives a QSI may advance by one or two steps, as determined by the procedure described below. The QSI may also change the due date for advancement to the next higher step.

The step and next step date for the QSI action are determined as follows:

  1. If the number of weeks served before the QSI is greater than the number of weeks that would be required to progress from the QSI step to the next step, the employee is advanced two steps as the result of the QSI. The next step date is then set to allow for a complete waiting period following the QSI.

Example: Before the QSI, Employee A completed 38 weeks in step I in RSC M. The labor contract requires 34 weeks to progress from step J to K. Because the time served in step I is greater than the time required to progress from step J to K, Employee A is given an additional step and placed directly into step K as the result of the QSI. He then must wait the full contractual period (34 weeks) before he reaches the next step, step L.

  1. If the number of weeks served before the QSI is less than or equal to the number of weeks required to progress from the QSI step to the next step, the employee is advanced only a single step. The next step date is then determined by subtracting the waiting period weeks required by the labor contract to progress from the QSI step to the next step by the weeks already served before the QSI.

Example: Before the QSI, Employee B completed 22 weeks in step I in RSC M. The labor contract requires 34 weeks to progress from step J to step K. Because the time served in step I is less than the time required to progress from step J to K, Employee B is advanced just a single step, to step J, as the result of the QSI. The next step is determined by taking the waiting period required between steps J and K (34 weeks) and subtracting from it the weeks served in step I before the QSI (22 weeks). The next step, to step K, occurs 12 weeks after the QSI (34 weeks 22 weeks = 12 weeks).

495.442 Comparison to Spot Awards

The standards for a QSI and a Spot Award are similar. Employee performance is evaluated according to the conditions required under both awards to see which award is more appropriate (see 495.24). The primary difference is that the QSI changes the employee’s base salary, while the Spot Award is a one-time, lump-sum, cash award. The Spot Award may be preferable when (a) the employee is at the top of the grade or (b) group recognition is desired.

495.45 Approval Authority
495.451 Headquarters and Headquarters–Related Field Units

Officers, PCES executives, and designated managers EAS-22 and above may approve QSIs for eligible Headquarters bargaining unit employees.

495.452 Areas, Districts, and Plants

Area vice presidents, district managers, senior plant managers, postmasters, and other managers EAS-22 and above may approve QSIs for eligible employees under their jurisdiction in accordance with Postal Service and local guidelines for employee recognition.

495.46 Recommending an Award

Normally, the employee’s supervisor initiates the recommendation for a QSI; however, such recommendations may be initiated by others with the concurrence of the employee’s immediate supervisor or manager.

495.47 Initiating Documentation

The official who is recommending the QSI award initiates the request by completing PS Form 1727, Award Recommendation/Authorization (Quality Step Increase), and submitting it to the appropriate manager for approval.

495.48 Initiating a Personnel Action

When the award is approved, the recommending official forwards PS Form 1727 to the Human Resources Shared Service Center (HRSSC) for completion of PS Form 50, Notification of Personnel Action, via the address below:

HRSSC
BENEFITS & COMPENSATION
PO BOX 970400
GREENSBORO NC 27497-0400

The personnel action is effective the first day of the first pay period beginning on or after the completion of the PS Form 50 by the HRSSC.




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Employees

NOTICE

Recognition and Awards Program: Available Certificates

Compensation at Headquarters has received inquiries regarding how to obtain certificates related to the Recognition and Awards Program. The best method to obtain certificates is to create them locally using the templates available through the eAwards application at https://eawards.usps.gov/eawards/main/index.pge.

If your office instead wishes to order preprinted certificates from the Material Distribution Center (MDC), the following certificates and certificate folders are available:

PSNPSINDescriptionQuick Pick NumberUnit of MeasureMinimum Order QuantityBulk Pack Quantity

Price
7510-02-000-8761O-1100-FAward, Certificate of Appreciation386Each114000.1002
7510-02-000-8762O-1100-HAward, Service Folder
(1 window)
387Each1302.112
7920-05-000-5071O-1100-ISBInspection Service (Seal Only) Blank CertificateN/AEach112000.100
7920-05-000-5070O-1100-ISTInspection Service Certificate of AppreciationN/AEach115000.3079
7510-02-000-8763O-1100-KAward, Service Folder
(2 window)
388Each1252.867
7510-02-000-8764O-1100-NAward, Service RetirementN/AEach114000.1051
7510-02-000-8765O-1100-PAward, Service, PosthumousN/AEach116000.1648

You may order these certificates from the MDC and use touch tone order entry (TTOE): Call 800-332-0317, option 2.

Note: You must be registered to use TTOE. To register, call 800-332-0317, option 1, extension 2925, and follow the prompts to leave a message. (Wait 48 hours after registering before placing your first order.)

Use the relevant PSN and PSIN when ordering the appropriate award certificate.

Effective April 14, 2005, the following Postal ServiceTM award certificates will be discontinued and no longer stocked at the MDC:

PSNPSINDescription
7510-02-000-8760O-1100-BAward, Special Achievement
7510-02-000-8767O-1100-TAward, Meritorious Service
7510-04-000-4293O-1100-VAward Certificate

The certificates for special achievement and meritorious service are discontinued because the awards tied to these certificates were discontinued on July 22, 2004 (see Postal Bulletin 22133, pages 16-33). The generic award certificate (O-1100-V) is discontinued because it duplicates the certificate of appreciation (O-1100-F), which should be used instead.

- Compensation, Employee Resource Management, 4-14-05

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Employee awards usps

Link to "485 Stay of Collection of Debt"Link to contents for "4 Pay Administration"      Link to "492 Certificate of Appreciation"

490 Recognition and Awards

491 Overview

491.1 Policy and Scope

491.11 Scope

This subchapter establishes the conditions and procedures for the recognition of all Postal Service employees except the following:

  1. Executives and officers assigned to the Postal Career Executive Service (PCES). (Recognition award policy for PCES employees can be found in Handbook EL-380.)
  2. Employees of the Office of Inspector General.
  3. Employees of the Postal Regulatory Commission.
491.12 Policy

The Recognition and Awards Program is intended to recognize employees who have achieved outstanding performance, have superior competence, or have performed some other significant accomplishment. The program is not intended to provide incentives to employees to meet predetermined goals. The program has been broadly designed to ensure that the recognition and award needs of all organizations and functional areas are met. The awards offered range from a letter of appreciation to $12,500 in cash.

Recognition falls into seven broad categories:

  1. Certificate of Appreciation.
  2. Service Awards, for which noncash recognition items, such as Service Award Pins, Retirement Recognition, and Posthumous Service Certificates are awarded.
  3. Informal Awards, limited to noncash tangible items valued at less than $100.
  4. Formal Awards, including cash, cash equivalents, gift certificates, and noncash tangible items.
  5. Special Awards, including but not limited to, the Vice President Award, the Postmaster General Award, and the Benjamin Franklin Award.
  6. Other Awards, including the Contest Award for officially sanctioned Postal Service contest winners, and the Safety Award.
  7. Inspection Service Awards, including cash and noncash awards specially designed for employees of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

Exhibit 491.1 provides a summary of service recognition and incentive rewards.

Exhibit 491.1 

Service Recognition and Incentive Awards

 

Category ELM Reference Employees Eligible Others Eligible Description

Certificate of Appreciation

492

All

Contractors and customers

Noncash recognition.

Service Awards

Service Award Pin

493.2

Career

None

Noncash recognition.

Service Award Certificates for Retirement and Posthumous Service Recognition

493.3

Career

None

Noncash recognition.

Informal Award

494

All

Contractors

Noncash tangible item, less than $100 in value.

Formal Awards

Spot Award

495.2

Non-Inspection Service, career employees

None

Cash, cash equivalent, gift certificate, or noncash tangible item, up to $3,000 in value.*

Noncareer Gift Certificate

495.3

Noncareer

None

Gift certificate valued from $1 to $100.

Quality Step Increase

495.4

Career bargaining unit on step schedule

None

Change in base pay.

Special Awards

Team Award

496.2

Nonbargaining, Non-Inspection Service career employees

None

Cash, cash equivalent, or noncash tangible item, from $50 to $2,000 in value.

Vice President Award

496.3

Career

None

Cash, up to $5,000 per award.

Postmaster General Award

496.4

Career

None

Cash, up to $12,500 per award.

ELT Award

496.5

Career

None

Cash, up to $10,000 per award.

Benjamin Franklin Award

496.6

Designated by the Postmaster General

None

Noncash recognition.

Other Awards

Contest Award

497.2

All

None

Noncash items, up to $500 in value (see 497.23 and 626.1).

Safety Award

497.3

Career

None

Noncash items, up to $500 in value (see 843).

Inspection Service Awards

Informal Award

498.2

Career Inspection Service

None

Cash equivalent, gift certificate, or noncash tangible item, up to $3,000 in value.

Nonexecutive Award

498.3

Career Inspection Service

None

Cash award up to $5,000.

*See 491.3 for descriptions of cash equivalent, gift certificate, and noncash tangible awards.

491.2 Management Control

 

Postal Service managers must use appropriate review and control procedures to identify the superior work of individuals, programs, and operational areas. Managers must ensure that related actions, such as performance evaluations, are fully considered to maintain compatibility between awards and other relevant factors. All levels of management are responsible for ensuring that all employees are treated fairly and equitably and for providing a workplace environment characterized by recognition and celebration of business success. Vice presidents, district managers, senior and lead plant managers, and the chief Human Resources officer periodically audit the awards process.

491.3 Awards

491.31 Cash Awards

A cash award is issued in the form of a check by Accounting Services. All cash awards are considered ordinary income and are subject to the following deductions: (a) federal, state, Medicare, and Social Security (if applicable); and (b) involuntary deductions such as child support and tax levies. (Various other payroll deductions are not withheld from the cash award.) Since these payroll deductions are made from cash awards, the net amount of the check will be less than the requested dollar amount.

491.32 Cash Equivalent Awards

A cash equivalent award is a product purchased from an authorized Postal Service supplier, which is immediately convertible to cash, such as a gift check. All cash equivalent awards, regardless of value, are considered ordinary income and are subject to income tax. All cash equivalent awards must be reported in eAwards under the award category appropriate for the type of employee and reason for the award. Reporting of cash equivalents should occur in the same pay period in which they are received by the employee, but must occur in the same calendar year to avoid tax reporting discrepancies. Cash equivalent awards are automatically grossed up by eAwards so that the Postal Service assumes the tax liability for the recipient. The additional tax liability is charged to the finance number indicated in eAwards when reported.

491.33 Noncash Tangible Awards
491.331 Authorized

Noncash tangible awards authorized by the Postal Service are described below. See 491.332 for noncash tangible awards that are prohibited.

  1. Informal Recognition, such as pins, pen and pencil sets, coffee mugs, apparel, plaques, event tickets, etc., valued at less than $100.
    1. Reporting. Individual noncash tangible award items valued at less than $100 are not normally considered taxable income and are not reported in eAwards. However, management must track all noncash tangible items valued at less than $100 received by an employee during the calendar year. If the aggregate total of all noncash tangible items valued at less than $100 received by an employee in a calendar year meets or exceeds $100, the total amount must be reported in eAwards under the appropriate noncash tangible award type for the employee category and reason for the award.
    2. Event tickets. Tickets to a specific event, game, play, concert, movie, etc., for a definite time and place that cannot be exchanged for another event, time, or place, etc., and are valued at less than $100 are informal awards and do not constitute reportable income. However, any of the preceding items valued at $100 or more, or any certificate that can be exchanged or redeemed for a ticket or tickets to an event at the time and place of the recipient’s choice, regardless of value, are considered gift certificates and must be reported in eAwards under the appropriate noncash award type (see 491.34).
  2. Formal Noncash Tangible Recognition, such as clothing, event tickets, merchandise, electronics, and other personal property valued at $100 or more (see 491.332). The market value of formal noncash tangible award items may range from $100 up to $3,000 depending on the reason for the award (Spot Award, Team Award, Contest Award, etc.). Individual noncash tangible items valued at $100 or more are always considered taxable income, and should be reported in eAwards in the same pay period in which they are received under the appropriate noncash award type for the employee category and reason for the award. Reporting must take place in the same calendar year to avoid tax reporting discrepancies. Noncash tangible awards are automatically grossed up by eAwards so that the Postal Service assumes the tax liability for the recipient. The additional tax liability for grossed up awards is charged to the finance number indicated when reported in eAwards.
491.332 Prohibited

The purchase of any season or partial season sporting or entertainment ticket is prohibited. The purchase of any single event ticket (sporting events, movies, and concerts, etc.) that costs $100 or more requires advance approval, in the form of an email or letter, from the Vice President, Controller.

491.34 Gift Certificates

The value of gift certificate awards may range from $1 to $3,000 depending on the reason for the award (Spot Award, Contest Award, etc.) and employee category (career, noncareer).

  1. All gift certificates, regardless of dollar value, are considered taxable income by the Internal Revenue Service and should be reported in eAwards in the pay period they are received under the appropriate noncash award category for the type of employee and reason for the award. Reporting must take place in the same calendar year to avoid tax reporting discrepancies.
  2. The eAwards system withholds appropriate payroll deductions from the recipient’s paycheck relevant to the pay period the gift certificate is reported in eAwards.
  3. Gift certificates valued at $50 or more presented to all employees are grossed up by eAwards so that the Postal Service assumes the tax liability for the recipient. The additional tax liability is charged to the finance number indicated when reported in eAwards.

491.4 Privacy Act Considerations

Award records contain personal information; therefore, such records must be handled and disclosed only as stipulated in the Privacy Act and implementing instructions (see Handbook AS-353, Guide to Privacy, the Freedom of Information Act, and Records Management). Records of awards received by employees are maintained in the Postal Service Privacy Act system of records, as follows: 100.000, General Personnel Records; 100.200, Employee Performance Records; 100.400, Personnel Compensation and Payroll Records.

491.5 Presentation Ceremonies

Whenever feasible, installation heads should (a) coordinate publicity with communications staff or the area communications program specialist, and (b) provide an appropriate ceremony for each award in the presence of the employee’s managers and coworkers.

491.6 Documenting Awards

Cash, cash equivalent, gift certificate, and reportable noncash tangible awards are documented electronically in eAwards for 7 years after processing. In addition, awards may be documented by a record (e.g., copy of the nomination, letter to the recipient, copy of a certificate) filed in the recipient’s electronic official personnel folder (eOPF).




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Benjamin Franklin Award

The Benjamin Franklin Award, the highest award given by the Postal Service, dates back to 1960, when Postmaster General Summerfield approved a Benjamin Franklin Award for presentation to members of special advisory groups, members of Congress, or employees making a contribution not connected with official employment or beyond that recognized in the existing awards program. 

On December 15, 1960, Summerfield presented the Benjamin Franklin Award, in the form of a certificate, to the 12 members of the Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee:  William H. Buckley, Arnold J. Copeland, Ervine Metzl, Franklin R. Bruns Jr., Bernard Davis, Sol Glass, Harry Lindquist, Abbott Washburn, Robert Sivard, C. Robert Payne, Roberts E. Fellers, and Donald R. McLeod.  Summerfield also presented the award to his liaison to the committee, L. Rohe Walter, the Special Assistant to the Postmaster General, Public Information.

In 1962, Summerfield’s successor, Postmaster General J. Edward Day, approved the Benjamin Franklin Award for appointed (non-career) postal officials who demonstrated outstanding and unusual leadership.  The major purpose of the award was to honor officials who could not be considered for the Department's regular awards, which were limited to career postal employees.  On November 2, 1962, in Headquarters Circular 62-42, Day announced the establishment of the Benjamin Franklin Award and outlined the following criteria:

a.    Recipient will have served at least two years in a responsible position in the Department.

b.   His accomplishments will have had a unique impact on major programs of the Post Office Department.

c.   His accomplishments will have had one or both of the following effects, to an unusual degree: significant improvement of service to the public or general overall improvement of operations.

d.   His accomplishments are within the personal knowledge of the Postmaster General.

The Postmaster General designates persons to be honored by this award; nominations are not made to him.

Frederick C. Belen, Assistant Postmaster General, Operations, received the first Benjamin Franklin Award under the new guidelines on February 25, 1963.  The award was described as "a walnut plaque, appropriately routed to hold a Parian Ware bust of Benjamin Franklin, an original 1847 issue of a five-cent Benjamin Franklin stamp, and an engraved metal plate. Parian ware is a hard white porcelain resembling marble.

In 1965, the two-year employment requirement was waived when the award was issued to Ira Kapenstein, and on July 8, 1969, revised instructions eliminated this requirement.  Since 1971, the non-career requirement has no longer been applicable, as all postal officials appointed since Reorganization have been career employees.  

Photograph of Postmaster General Albert V. Casey holding his Benjamin Franklin Award.
Postmaster General Albert V. Casey.  Casey received the Benjamin Franklin Award shortly before he resigned in August 1986.  He was the first Postmaster General to receive the award while still in office. Postmasters General Anthony Frank (1992),  Marvin Runyon (1998), and John Potter (2010)  also received the award near the end of their terms. 

Benjamin Franklin Award Recipients

(in the format recipient name, recipient title, name of awarding Postmaster General, and date of award) 

Name and Title

Postmaster General

Date

Franklin R. Bruns, Jr.

Member, Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee

Summerfield

12/31/1960

William H. Buckley

Member, Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee

Summerfield

12/31/1960

Arnold J. Copeland

Member, Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee

Summerfield

12/31/1960

Bernard Davis

Member, Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee

Summerfield

12/31/1960

Robert E. Fellers

Member, Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee

Summerfield

12/31/1960

Sol Glass 

Member, Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee             

Summerfield

12/31/1960

Harry Lindquist

Member, Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee

Summerfield

12/31/1960

Donald R. McLeod

Member, Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee

Summerfield

12/31/1960

Ervine Metzl    

Member, Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee

Summerfield

12/31/1960

C. Robert Payne          

Member, Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee

Summerfield

12/31/1960

Robert Sivard            

Member, Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee

Summerfield

12/31/1960

Abbott Washburn            

Member, Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee

Summerfield

12/31/1960

L. Rohe Walter           

Special Assistant to the Postmaster General             

Summerfield

12/15/1960

Frederick C. Belen

Assistant Postmaster General, Operations

Day

2/25/1963

James F. Kelleher       

Special Assistant to the Postmaster General for Public Information  

Day

8/8/1963

Ralph W. Nicholson

Assistant Postmaster General, Finance and Administration  

Gronouski

9/17/1964

Ira Kapenstein          

Special Assistant to the Postmaster General for Public Information       

Gronouski

8/27/1965

Richard J. Murphy          

Assistant Postmaster General, Personnel

O'Brien

11/4/1966

William M. McMillan         

Assistant Postmaster General, Operations

O'Brien

11/3/1967

Timothy J. May           

General Counsel

Watson

1/17/1969

Frederick E. Batrus        

Assistant Postmaster General, Transportation

Watson

1/17/1969

David A. Nelson          

General Counsel                                         

Blount

7/24/1969

Paul N. Carlin          

Executive Assistant to the Postmaster General              

Blount

9/25/1970

E. T. Klassen        

Deputy Postmaster General                                  

Blount

11/12/1970

Frank Nunlist              

Assistant Postmaster General, Operations

Blount

6/4/1971

James W. Hargrove          

Senior Assistant Postmaster General, Finance            

Klassen

3/1/1972

Edward Dorsey     

Senior Assistant Postmaster General, Operations         

Bolger

6/2/1979

James V. P. Conway          

Deputy Postmaster General                               

Bolger

7/11/1980

Myron A. Wright                   

Chairman, Board of Governors

Bolger

2/6/1981

Emmett E. Cooper, Jr.       

Regional Postmaster General, Southern Region            

Bolger

1/26/1983

Carl C. Ulsaker                   

Senior Assistant Postmaster General, Special Projects   

Bolger

2/4/1983

C. Neil Benson                   

Deputy Postmaster General                               

Bolger

5/30/1983

Robert L. Hardesty             

Chairman, Board of Governors

Bolger

9/10/1984

Warren M. Bloomberg                       

MSC Manager/Postmaster, Baltimore, Maryland             

Bolger

10/11/1984

William F. Bolger                

Postmaster General                 

Carlin

1/4/1985

Joseph F. Morris                 

Senior Assistant Postmaster General, Employee and Labor Relations               

Carlin

3/1/1985

Francis X. Biglin                  

Senior Assistant Postmaster General, Administration     

Carlin

5/22/1985

Albert V. Casey                    

Postmaster General

Strange (Deputy Postmaster General)

8/7/1986

Jackie A. Strange                

Deputy Postmaster General                               

Tisch

12/8/1986

Louis A. Cox                        

General Counsel                        

Frank

3/6/1990

William Ford                        

Chairman, Committee on Post Office and Civil Service, U.S. House of Representatives

Frank

1/31/1991

Anthony M. Frank

Postmaster General

Coughlin (Deputy Postmaster General)

2/27/1992

Marvin Runyon    

Postmaster General

Board of Governors

5/4/1998

Michael S. Coughlin           

Deputy Postmaster General

Henderson

5/18/1999

Clarence E. Lewis, Jr.       

Chief Operating Officer

Henderson

3/20/2000

Richard Porras   

Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President

Henderson

3/20/2000

James F. Van Loozen        

Manager, Public Policy Communications

Henderson                    

10/13/2000

Richard J. Strasser, Jr.      

Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President

Potter

     11/18/2004

Patrick R. Donahoe

Deputy Postmaster General

Potter

10/19/2009

John E. Potter

Postmaster General

Board of Governors

11/12/2010

Megan J. Brennan

Former Postmaster General

DeJoy

6/15/2020

HISTORIAN
UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE
JUNE 2020

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493 Service Awards

493.1 Overview

The characteristics of Service Awards are shown in Exhibit 493.1:

Exhibit 493.1 

Service Awards

 

Type

Who Is Eligible

Description

Approval Authority

Basis

Service Award Pin (milestone years)

All career employees

Emblem pin and letter of appreciation

Installation head, district manager, senior plant manager, or designee

Recognizes employees with 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, and 50 years of federal service, including military service.

Service Award Certificate
(retirement)

All career employees

Certificate (retirement) and letter of appreciation

Installation head, district manager, senior plant manager, or designee

Recognizes employees at time of retirement.

Service Award Certificate (posthumous)

All career employees

Certificate (posthumous) and letter of appreciation

Installation head, district manager, senior plant manager, or designee

Recognizes employees with 5 or more years of creditable federal service who die while still employed.

Presented to nearest relative.

493.2 Service Award Pin

493.21 Description

The Service Award Pin, a noncash recognition award given at milestone years, consists of an emblem pin and a letter of appreciation issued in recognition of government service.

The letter of appreciation is:

  1. Signed by the installation head or functional organization head for an employee with 25, 30, 35, 40, or 45 years of service.
  2. Signed by the Postmaster General for an employee with 50 years of service.
  3. Presented in an official service award folder.
493.22 Basis

The Service Award Pin is presented to career employees who have completed 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, or 50 years of creditable service to the government. All federal civilian and military service is considered creditable. Eligibility for the Service Award Pin is without regard to:

  1. Race, color, sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender identity, including transgender status), national origin, religion, age (40 or over), genetic identification, disability, or retaliation for engaging in EEO-protected activity as provided by law; or
  2. Other non-meritorious factors, such as political affiliation; marital status; status as a parent; and past, present, or future military service.
493.23 Responsibility
493.231 Headquarters

The manager of Corporate Personnel Management is responsible for:

  1. Administration of the Service Award Pin program for Headquarters and Headquarters-related field units.
  2. Oversight of the 50-year Service Award Pin program service-wide.
493.232 Areas

The area vice president is responsible for administration of:

  1. The Service Award Pin program for personnel on area rolls and employees reporting directly to the area office.
  2. The 50-year Service Award Pin program for eligible employees within the area (see 493.26 for instructions).
493.233 Districts and Plants

District managers are responsible for the administration of the Service Award Pin program for district and plant employees (see 493.26 for instructions).

493.234 Inspection Service

The chief postal inspector is responsible for the administration of:

  1. The Service Award Pin program for Inspection Service employees.
  2. The 50-year Service Award Pin program for all eligible Inspection Service employees (see 493.26 for instructions).
493.24 Providing Lists of Eligible Employees

Before the end of each quarter, a list of all employees who, based on their retirement computation date, will achieve sufficient government service to qualify for a Service Award Pin during the next quarter, will be made available to the officials responsible for the administration of the program at each district, area, Headquarters, and Headquarters-related field unit office.

Note: To determine an individual’s eligibility for the Service Award Pin, federal civilian and military service that is not creditable for retirement purposes must be added to service indicated by the retirement computation date.

493.25 Ordering Pins and Service Award Folders

Pins and folders may be requisitioned from the Material Distribution Center under the following item numbers:

 

Normally the single window service award folder is sufficient for Service Pin Awards, unless the office decides to include a locally produced certificate with the letter of appreciation. The Material Distribution Center does not stock certificates for Service Pin Awards.

493.26 Preparing Letters of Appreciation

For an employee with 25, 30, 35, 40, or 45 years of combined postal, federal civilian, and/or military service, the responsible installation or functional organization head prepares a letter of appreciation to accompany the Service Award Pin. (See Exhibit 493.27a for a sample letter.) Letters of appreciation to accompany Service Award Pins for up to 45 years of service may be created using eAwards.

For an employee with 50 or more years of combined Postal Service and federal civilian or military service, the responsible vice president or district Human Resources manager drafts a letter of appreciation to accompany the Service Award Pin and forwards it electronically to Corporate Personnel Management for signature by the Postmaster General. (See Exhibit 493.27b for a sample letter.) The eAwards system is not used for letters of appreciation that accompany the 50-year pin.

493.27 Presenting Awards

The Service Award Pin (except for the 50-year pin) is presented by the installation or functional organization head, with appropriate ceremony and publicity, in the presence of top officials and coworkers. Responsibility for presenting 50-year pins remains with the vice president, who may delegate the responsibility.

Exhibit 493.27a

Sample Letter of Appreciation — Employee With 25, 30, 35, 40, or 45 Years of Service

To be signed by the installation or functional organization head.

USPS logo

Exhibit 493.27b

Sample Letter of Appreciation — Employee With 50 Years of Service

To be signed by the Postmaster General.

USPS logo

493.3 Service Award Certificates

493.31 Description

There are two types of Service Award Certificates: the Retirement Service Award, and the Posthumous Service Award. Both are noncash recognition items, printed on certificates that have the Postal Service corporate signature and the type of service award printed at the top. In addition:

  1. The Retirement Service Award Certificate states: “Given…on this occasion of your retirement.”
  2. The Posthumous Service Award Certificate states: “Given posthumously…”

Retirees receive a certificate and a letter of appreciation signed by the installation or functional organization head. Retirees with 50 or more years of service receive a certificate and a letter of appreciation signed by the Postmaster General. Retirement Service Award Certificates for less than 50 years of service can be created in eAwards.

Employees who die while still active with any amount of creditable service equal to 5 or more years receive a Posthumous Service Award Certificate. This certificate can be created in eAwards.

The certificate and the letter of appreciation that accompanies it are presented in an official double window service award folder (see 493.34 for ordering information).

493.32 Basis
493.321 Retirement

The following provisions apply:

  1. The Retirement Service Award Certificate recognizes employees who retire:
    1. Under the optional provisions of the applicable retirement law;
    2. Due to disability; or
    3. Under mandatory retirement for postal inspectors.
  2. Eligibility for the Retirement Service Award Certificate is without regard to:
    1. Race, color, sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender identity, including transgender status), national origin, religion, age (40 or over), genetic information, disability, or retaliation for engaging in EEO-protected activity as provided by law, or
    2. Other non-meritorious factors, such as political affiliation; marital status; status as a parent; and past, present, or future military service.
493.322 Death

To honor employees with 5 or more years of creditable service who die while still employed, the Posthumous Service Award Certificate is presented to the nearest relative. Creditable service is defined as service that qualifies for retirement under the procedures for the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) or Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS).

Eligibility for the Posthumous Service Award Certificate is without regard to:

  1. Race, color, sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender identity, including transgender status), national origin, religion, age (40 or over), genetic information, disability, or retaliation for engaging in EEO-protected activity as provided by law; or
  2. Other non-meritorious factors, such as political affiliation; marital status; status as a parent; and past, present, or future military service.
493.33 Responsibility
493.331 Headquarters

The manager of Corporate Personnel Management is responsible for:

  1. Preparing Service Award Certificates and letters of appreciation for Headquarters and Headquarters-related field unit employees.
  2. Administering the Retirement Service Award program for all Postal Service retirees with 50 or more years of creditable service, including the submission of requests to the Postmaster General to sign certificates and letters of appreciation from Headquarters, Headquarters-related field units, and district and area offices.
493.332 Areas

The area vice president is responsible for:

  1. Preparing Service Award Certificates and letters of appreciation for area office employees.
  2. Ensuring that the certificates and letters of appreciation for area office retirees with 50 or more years of creditable service, to be signed by the Postmaster General, are prepared and presented in accordance with established procedures (see 493.351 for more information).
493.333 Districts and Plants

District managers are responsible for:

  1. Administering the Service Award Program for district and plant employees.
  2. Ensuring that the certificates and letters of appreciation for district and plant retirees with 50 or more years of creditable service, to be signed by the Postmaster General, are prepared and presented in accordance with established procedures (see 493.351 for more information).
493.34 Ordering Certificates

Certificates and folders may be requisitioned from the Material Distribution Center under the following item numbers:

 

The double window service award folder should be used to present the certificate and letter of appreciation together.

493.35 Preparing Letters of Appreciation
493.351 Retiring Employees

For an employee retiring with up to 49 years and 11 months of creditable service, the responsible installation or functional organization head prepares a letter of appreciation to accompany the Retirement Service Award Certificate. (See Exhibit 493.351a for a sample letter.) Service Award Certificates for up to 49 years and 11 months of service can be created in eAwards.

For an employee retiring with 50 or more years of creditable service, the area or district manager of Human Resources drafts a letter to accompany the Retirement Service Award Certificate and forwards it electronically to Corporate Personnel Management for signature by the Postmaster General. (See Exhibit 493.351b for a sample letter.) Letters of appreciation or certificates for employees retiring with 50 or more years of creditable service should not be created using eAwards.

493.352 Deceased Employees

At the request of the responsible installation or functional organization head, those close to the deceased are most suitable for drafting a letter to accompany a Posthumous Service Award Certificate. Letters of appreciation to accompany Posthumous Service Awards for employees with 5 or more years of creditable service can be created in eAwards.

493.36 Presenting Awards
493.361 Retirement Award Certificates

Whenever possible, installation heads should coordinate publicity with communications staff and provide an appropriate ceremony for each award in the presence of the employee’s managers, coworkers, and family. Except in unusual circumstances, the award should not be mailed.

493.362 Posthumous Award Certificates

The presentation of posthumous awards must be tailored to the wishes of the family, as follows:

  1. The deceased employee’s supervisor, manager, or postmaster should contact the nearest relative to determine whether the recipient prefers to have the certificate presented formally in public or taken to the recipient’s home.
  2. At a formal ceremony, attendance should be limited to a few close friends and coworkers of the deceased.
  3. When the recipient prefers delivery to the home, the management representative should consider having coworkers who were close friends of the deceased accompany him or her.
  4. District, area, or Headquarters Human Resources personnel should mail the Posthumous Service Award Certificate only as a last resort, making certain that the award is carefully and securely wrapped before mailing.

Exhibit 493.351a

Sample Letter of Appreciation — Retiring Employee With Less Than 50 Years of Service

To be signed by the installation or functional organization head.

USPS logo

Exhibit 493.351b

Sample Letter of Appreciation — Retiring Employee With 50 or More Years of Service

To be signed by the Postmaster General.

USPS logo




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