Restricting Federal Employee Awards for Fiscal Year 2017

OMB and OPM have released authorization levels for specified employee awards for the current fiscal year. Caps have also been removed for payment of other awards that were capped at fiscal year 2010 levels.

A memorandum on awards from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) restricts awards for federal employees for fiscal year 2017. (October 1, 2016 through September 30, 2017).

A caveat is that, “In exercising their discretion in this area, agencies should honor all collective bargaining obligations and agreements prior to implementation.”

Applicability of Restrictions

The restrictions apply to agency spending for positions that are not in the Senior Executive Service, senior level positions or scientific and technical positions.

The restrictions apply to individual monetary awards only. Individual monetary awards includes rating-based performance awards and individual contribution (e.g., special act) awards.

Spending Limits on Awards

Agencies will be authorized to spend up to 1.5 percent of the aggregate salaries at the end of the previous fiscal year. Aggregate salaries include a combination of individual performance awards and individual contribution awards.

The aggregate salary total will not include money spent for SES, senior level or scientific and technical positions.

Removing Caps on Other Awards

The awards authorization removes caps for other awards previously  frozen at FY 2010 spending levels. These awards include group awards, referral bonuses, and suggestion/invention awards; recruitment, relocation, and retention incentives; and Quality Step Increases.

The budgetary limits apply to all departments and agencies and includes General Schedule, wage grade and others. It does not apply to political appointees covered by the freeze on discretionary awards spending. The President’s August 3, 2010, memorandum freezing discretionary awards, bonuses, and similar payments for political appointees will remain in effect.

Guidance on individual awards for FY 2017

About the Author

Ralph Smith has several decades of experience working with federal human resources issues. He has written extensively on a full range of human resources topics in books and newsletters and is a co-founder of two companies and several newsletters on federal human resources. Follow Ralph on Twitter: @RalphSmith47