Timeâ€“off awards are a unique form of award agencies can grant Federal employees. (The other forms of awards areÂ cash, honorary items, and informal recognition items). Agencies decide when and how to use timeâ€“off awards toÂ enhance their overall awards program and support the achievement of the agencyâ€™s goals and mission. Major featuresÂ of time-off awards include the following: `
â€¢ Timeâ€“off awards do not require additional funding or cash disbursement by agencies. Because the form of theÂ award is time off from duty and it does not have explicit cash value, agencies do not have to provide additionalÂ funding or disburse additional cash. However, they do need to remember these are salary dollars being paid forÂ time not worked, so there is a cost involved.
â€¢ Agencies cannot convert timeâ€“off awards to cash under any circumstances. Agencies need to ensureÂ employees will value, and are able to use, these awards. For example, if an agency grants a timeâ€“off award toÂ an employee who plans to leave 2 months later, the agency cannot convert the award to cash, even though theÂ employee might not be able to use the timeâ€“off award before leaving the agency.
â€¢ OPM does not set Government wide limits on the amount of time off an employee may receive. Agencies mustÂ establish their own guidelines and limitations on how much time off is appropriate for various employeeÂ contributions. Such guidelines should also contain any timeframes within which employees must use theÂ award, which the agency determines are appropriate.
â€¢ Agencies may combine timeâ€“off awards with other forms of awards. Agencies may grant time-off awardsÂ along with other forms of awards as long as the total value of the awards given is commensurate with theÂ contribution being recognized. For example, an employee might receive an award consisting of both a 1â€“dayÂ timeâ€“off award and $50 as recognition for a single contribution as long as the combined â€œvalueâ€ of the awardsÂ is commensurate with the employeeâ€˜s contribution.
â€¢ Timeâ€“off awards are among the awards prohibited for certain employees during Presidential electionÂ periods. Section 4508 of title 5, United States Code, prohibits nonâ€“career Senior Executive Service employeesÂ or appointees in confidential or policy determining (Schedule C) positions from receiving certain awardsÂ during a Presidential election period. This period is from June 1 of any year in which there is a PresidentialÂ election through January 20 of the following calendar year.
Most Federal employees are eligible for inclusion in a timeâ€“off award program. Federal agencies may grant timeâ€“offÂ awards to any Federal civilian employee, either as an individual or member of a group, who meets the definition ofÂ employee in Section 2105 of title 5, United States Code. This definition includes an individual appointed in the civilÂ service by:
â€¢ The President,
â€¢ A member of Congress,
â€¢ A member of a uniformed service,
â€¢ An employee,
â€¢ The head of a Government-controlled corporation, or
â€¢ An adjutant general designated by the Secretary concerned under section 709c of title 32.
In addition, to meet the definition of employee, the individual must perform a Federal function and be subject to theÂ supervision of an individual cited above while performing official duties. The definition of employee also includesÂ employees who are individuals employed at the U.S. Naval Academy in specific jobs (see 5 U.S.C. 2105 for a moreÂ detailed description).
Basis for Granting Timeâ€“off Awards
Agencies may grant time-off awards for:
â€¢ a suggestion, invention, superior accomplishment, productivity gain, or other personal effort that contributes toÂ the efficiency, economy, or other improvement of Government operations or achieving a significant reductionÂ in paperwork; or
â€¢ a special act or service in the public interest in connection with or related to official employment.