U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.


Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock () or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Was this page helpful?

Guidelines for Senior Employees Special Act Award Nominations

Special Act Awards for Senior Employees

Background Information

The Chief Financial Officer and Assistant Secretary for Administration (CFO/ASA) approves all requests to grant Special Act Awards to members of the Senior Executive Service (SES) and Senior Level (SL) and Scientific or Professional (ST) employees.  For SES members, only those serving on a career, limited term, or limited emergency appointment are eligible for a Special Act Award. 

Requests for Special Act Awards for career senior executives and SL/ST employees are rare since the primary vehicle for recognizing SES/SL/ST accomplishments is the end-of-year bonus process. If the nominee received either a performance bonus or pay adjustment, it is highly unlikely that the award would be recommended for approval. 

In those rare instances when a request is submitted for review and approval, the accomplishments are reviewed against goals documented in the performance plan and appraisal to determine the extent to which the accomplishments cited in the award justification are also addressed in the performance plan and appraisal. A senior employee is prohibited from being recognized twice for the same accomplishment, either as an individual or as a member of a group. This prohibition also applies to non-monetary and honorary recognition (e.g., Gold, Silver and Bronze Medals).  It should be noted that Special Act Awards are designed to recognize a specific accomplishment covering a finite period of time, and not performance covering the entire appraisal cycle. 

Guidelines for Completing an Award Recommendation

In the award justification (a minimum of one page) you must list the context in which the nominee addressed the following:

  • What was the specific goal, challenge, or problem? 
  • What was the context in which the nominee addressed the goal, challenge, or problem?
  • What specific actions did the nominee take to address the goal, challenge, or problem?
  • What were the results of the actions in either quantifiable or qualitative terms?

Then, sum it up with a case why the nominee deserves the award. Note: Not being eligible for a bonus (e.g., limited term SES appointees) is not a valid reason. 

You must submit form CD-326, Recommendation for Recognition, including all signatures (blocks 7, 9, and 10). Be aware that the period of recognition (block 3) must be a specific period of time related to the accomplishment. Insert the following in block 9:

 Name, Chief Financial Officer and Assistant Secretary for Administration

You should attach the award justification to the CD-326. The Department’s Incentive Awards Officer will review the justification and get back to the author with comments on whether it warrants consideration and if so, what needs to be revised in order to strengthen the justification and make it worthy of a recommendation. 

You should attach a copy of the nominee’s current and previous year’s performance plan and appraisal, as well as the following:

  1. Date the employee appointed/converted to the SES/SL/ST, if applicable
  2. Current SES/SL/ST salary
  3. Any awards, bonuses, or pay adjustments received in last 2 years

All the above documents must be submitted before the start of the review. Following any revisions to the award justification, an analysis and recommendation (if warranted) will be prepared for the CFO/ASA. 

If you need additional information or have questions, please contact your servicing Executive Resources office.