OPM Issues New Guidance for Bonuses in FY 2020

OPM issued two memos with guidance on bonuses and performance standards in the upcoming fiscal year.

The Office of Personnel Management recently issued two memos regarding awards paid to federal employees in the upcoming fiscal year.

OPM is directing agencies to make sure that awards are skewed in favor of the highest performing employees. OPM said that “agencies should allocate awards in a manner that provides meaningfully greater rewards to top performers” and that agencies “should ensure only employees who have demonstrated the highest levels of individual performance receive the highest annual ratings of record and the highest performance awards.”

In achieving this objective, OPM encouraged agencies to develop rigorous performance standards that “make clear distinctions among what is required to achieve performance at the various performance levels.”

The memos rescind all prior guidance on issuing awards and said that agencies are expected to honor all collective bargaining agreements and obligations.

OPM said that agencies are expected to review and update their current awards spending plans to guide agency spending with respect to issuing awards.

The memos note that President Obama’s 2010 memo that freezes discretionary awards remains in effect with these new memos.

Links to the two new memos from OPM are included below.

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Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of FedSmith.com. He has over 20 years of combined experience in media and government services, having worked at two government contracting firms and an online news and web development company prior to his current role at FedSmith.