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 race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, or presence of physical or mental disability.

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 race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, or presence of physical or mental disability.

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 race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, or presence of physical or mental disability.

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 race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, or presence of physical or mental disability.

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 race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, or presence of physical or mental disability.

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.