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Establishing or Issuing an Award

Programs may be established to recognize:

  • Outstanding accomplishments or performance in the areas of scholarship, research, creative achievement, teaching or professional discipline.
  • Outstanding service to the university, commonwealth, or nation consistent with the university’s instructional, research, and outreach missions.
  • Employee achievements that contribute to the mission, goals, and objectives of the university, college or administrative area, or department.
  • Administrative excellence, leadership, customer service, workplace safety, or other qualities that support university goals.

Generally, programs should be designed and administered consistently across all departments within the college or administrative area.

Award programs must be submitted by a dean or vice president to the compensation area within the Division of Human Resources. The compensation team will review the proposal for adherence to state and university policies, and will forward the proposal to the provost or president as appropriate for approval. The president must also approve all university-wide awards programs.

Refer to University Policy 4335: Employee Awards and Recognition Programs for specific requirements and procedures.

Programs may be established as annual programs, or may be created as a one-time program to recognize extraordinary performance under unique circumstances. Individual or team awards may be established.

  • Both monetary and non-monetary awards may be provided.
  • Salaried staff employees are also eligible for recognition leave.
  • State policy restricts staff awards to a maximum cumulative amount of $5,000 for monetary and non-monetary awards in a fiscal year, and up to 40 hours of recognition leave in the calendar/leave year. HRIS web reports will track the awards so that management can ensure award limits are not exceeded.
  • In addition to private sources of funding, state funds may now be used for monetary and non-monetary awards and recognition events.
  • The source of funding charged for awards must be appropriate for the employee so as not to create any questionable or disallowed charges.
  • Non-monetary awards may not be charged to a grant or contract; however, overhead funds may be charged.
  • Use of sponsored funds for monetary awards must have prior approval by the Office of Sponsored Programs.
  • University funds may not be used to subsidize gifts or social gatherings, other than the recognition programs and events approved under this policy

Because state funds can be used to procure a variety of items to be used as non-monetary awards, the university’s Purchasing Department has established special procedures and contracts with several vendors for the procurement of non-monetary awards. With the exception of flowers, non-monetary awards must be procured through the approved vendor contracts. Departments must maintain records of all non-monetary awards provided to employees.

Although certain annual university-level awards, such as the President’s award for Excellence, the Wine and Sporn Awards, and certain Alumni Awards, have prior approval to be paid directly to the recipient using checks issued by the Foundation, all other award checks must be issued through the university’s payroll process. Monetary awards using Foundation funds must be charged to the department and handled as an expense reimbursement. 

In accordance with Internal Revenue Code, all monetary awards, regardless of amount or funding source, and non-monetary awards exceeding $75, are taxable. Certain exceptions apply to plaques and flowers.

Related policies and procedures

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