OPM and OMB Release Draft Guidance on SES Performance Awards

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) recently distributed a draft document that directs heads of executive branch agencies to review a "guidance memorandum" that limits performance awards for Senior Executive Service (SES) and non-SES personnel. The memo states, "For awards granted based on performance cycles ending in 2011 and 2012, agencies must reduce total spending on individual performance awards for members of the Senior Executive Service (SES) to no more than five percent of aggregate salaries." The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) recently distributed a draft document that directs heads of executive branch agencies to review a "guidance memorandum" that limits performance awards for Senior Executive Service (SES) and non-SES personnel.

The memo states, "For awards granted based on performance cycles ending in 2011 and 2012, agencies must reduce total spending on individual performance awards for members of the Senior Executive Service (SES) to no more than five percent of aggregate salaries. Agencies must also reduce award spending for non-SES employees to no more than one percent of their aggregate salaries during calendar year 2012, with significant progress toward that level in 2011."

OPM Director John Berry and OMB Deputy Director for Management and Chief Performance Officer Jeffrey Zients wrote the memo based on the administration's dissatisfaction with the current distribution of awards. They said some federal employees have begun to see the awards as entitlements, while others believe that the current performance management system does not accurately reflect performance levels and awards are broadly and inconsistently distributed.

Agency heads were to provide any comments on the draft by May 3.

The policy would not limit the number of individuals who could receive the awards or the individual amount of an award. Additionally, it would not affect time-off awards but does request that time off awards are not increased because of the limitation on monetary bonuses.

The award limits and award amounts negotiated with labor unions could conflict; however, agencies are reminded to honor all collective bargaining agreements associated with non-SES awards.

The policy is still currently under review and not yet final.

Posted in General News

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