U.S. Department of Commerce - Office of the Secretary U.S. Department of commerce seal

HR Practitioners banner

Home > HR Practitioners > Performance Management & Awards

Performance Management Handbook (Recognition Section) Appendix C

Printable View

APPENDIX C. Scale for Tangible and Intangible Benefits

(Awards as a Percentage of Pay)

The amounts listed below apply to individuals and individual members of a group or team. However, if the total award amount for the entire group or team exceeds $50,000, the award recommendation must be forwarded to the Director for Human Resources Management for concurrence. We need to be aware that high dollar awards may be subject to public scrutiny. Consequently, we need to balance the total award amounts against the need for recognition.

While an employee is eligible to receive an award at the Distinguished and Extraordinary level, award amounts above $7,500 (individuals and individual members of a group or team) must be reviewed by the operating unit's Performance Review Board as specified in Chapter 3, Delegations of Authority. Award amounts at those levels should be considered rare and should be reviewed in light of available resources. Most awards are appropriate for the Noteworthy and Significant levels.





$50 - $2,000

$2,001 - $4,500

$4,501 - $7,000

$7,001 - $10,000

4 - 8 hours

9 - 16 hours

17 - 32 hours

33 - 40 hours


  • Noteworthy - an accomplishment that has aided in meeting organizational goals; deserving of recognition because the employee has exceeded expectations for his or her position. Impact: limited to an office or part of an organization.

  • Significant - an accomplishment that has substantially contributed to achieving organizational objectives or resulted in a marked change in organizational policies or procedures. Impact: an organization or a bureau.

  • Distinguished - an accomplishment that effects a total change in policies or procedures that cross bureau lines and/or is exceptional in advancing multiple bureaus/Departmental objectives. Impact: more than one bureau.

  • Extraordinary - a rare level of achievement characterized by the initiation of innovative policies or procedures and substantial promotion of Departmental or Administration goals. Impact: Department-wide, Government-wide, or Partnerships with the Private Sector.

A - Z HR Policy Library for HR Practitioners