Can the government grant cash awards for performance?

Yes. An agency may pay a ratings-based award as is a lump-sum cash payment up to $10,000 without Office of Personnel Management approval and up to $25,000 with OPM approval. It requires only the most recent rating of record as the sole justification for the award. Agencies may calculate the awards as a lump-sum dollar amount, a percentage of base pay, or may use some other method such as assigning shares to rating levels.

Senior Executive Service, Senior Level and Senior Scientific and Technical employees are eligible for annual awards of 20 or 35 percent of basic pay, although these top awards go to relatively few. Senior executives are also eligible for performance bonuses of up to 20 percent of their basic pay, although in practice the percentage typically is far lower.


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