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Performance Management Handbook (Recognition Section) Chapter 6

Performance Recognition

Chapter 6. Superior Accomplishment Awards (Special Act, Suggestion, or Invention)


A superior accomplishment award is a monetary or nonmonetary award for a contribution resulting in tangible benefits or savings or intangible benefits to the Government. There are three types of superior accomplishment awards: special act awards, suggestion awards, and invention awards. Suggestion awards are given through suggestion programs developed and implemented by individual operating units. Invention awards are covered in DAO 202-452.


To be eligible for a special act or service award, an employee must have a current rating of record of at least Level 3 or higher.

Group Awards

When a cash award is granted to a group for superior accomplishments, the following provisions apply:

  • The accomplishments must have substantially exceeded normal expectations for the group as a whole;

  • All employees to whom the accomplishment or contribution is creditable, including a supervisor, may share in the award;

  • A cash award may be divided in equal shares or allotted to each member in proportion to his or her share of credit for the contribution;

  • Separate justifications for each member of the group must be included with the overall description of the accomplishment if the members of the group receive different dollar amounts; and

  • The total amount of a cash award to a group should be based solely on the value of tangible and intangible benefits accruing from the contribution; the total amount of the award may not exceed the amount that would be authorized if the contribution had been made by one individual; and exceptions should be justified in writing.

Scale of Tangible and Intangible Benefits

The award scales in Appendix C offer guidelines for determining awards based on tangible and intangible benefits to the Government.