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Performance management handbook (recognition) - chapter 12

Chapter 12. Cash-in-Your-Account Award Program


The purpose of this award is to provide supervisors with a means of recognizing employees for going the extra mile in getting the job done. This small monetary award provides immediate recognition with minimal documentation and serves as a means of giving employees recognition for nonrecurring contributions.


Cash-in-Your-Account (CIYA) Awards recognize accomplishments representing steps toward achievement of organizational goals or purposes, but for which higher level recognition such as honor awards, performance awards, or special act awards are not appropriate. Awards may be granted for noteworthy contributions benefiting the individual's employing office, bureau or the Department. This program does not replace other traditional methods of recognition, but rather increases the supervisors' options in rewarding and reinforcing employee excellence.


All Commerce employees, except Presidential Appointees, Political Appointees and Senior Executive Service (or equivalent) employees are eligible for consideration for awards under this program.

Examples of Eligible Contributions

  • Completion of a short-term project or significant milestone in less time than expected or where there were unusual difficulties to overcome; 
  • Development of new or revised procedures or other contributions toward improvement of office productivity;
  • Handling an unusually heavy workload, such as when coworkers are absent or when vacant positions are not filled immediately;
  • Completion of a significant special assignment that is outside normal job responsibilities; 
  • Planning a special event that is particularly successful because of the employee's personal efforts; 
  • A contribution that improves public awareness and/or understanding of Department/Operating Unit programs. 

Award Amounts

Under this program, an employee may receive instant awards in net amounts beginning at $25, and in increments of $25 up to $1,000 (e.g., $25, $50, $75, $100, $125, etc.). An employee, either as an individual or part of a group, may not receive awards under this program, which exceed a net total of $2000 in a single calendar year. It is the responsibility of the supervisor to ensure that the $2000 limit is not exceeded. (Cumulative amounts should be tracked by individual supervisors; however, they may be verified through the appropriate record system or the servicing human resources office).

Nomination and Approval Procedures

  • The supervisor prepares a CD-326, Recommendation for Recognition, including a written recommendation describing the basis for the award and the net amount of the award. 
  • The supervisor prepares and signs Form CD-326, Recommendation for Recognition. The supervisor must include the total dollar amount of Cash-in-Your-Account Awards that the employee has received during the current calendar year. The current dollar amount being recommended is not included in that total.
  • The supervisor submits an original CD-326 for each employee nominated to the servicing human resources office, for a technical review and verification of year-to-date total.
  • Upon approval by the servicing human resources office, the award will be inputted into the National Finance Center (NFC) system for payment on or before the next paydate.
  • The servicing human resources office should notify the approving official by e-mail (when feasible) of the effective date of the award so that he or she can notify the employee in advance of the award being deposited in his or her account.


  • All awards granted under this program are subject to federal, state and local, and FICA (including Medicare) taxes. Awards are granted in net amounts. The NFC system then calculates and reports the gross amount of the award to include the required federal income and FICA tax withholdings on the employee's next Statement of Earnings and Leave. All awards will be included in gross annual wages on the employee's Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement. 
  • Awards may be granted any time during the year, except during the last two pay periods (usually 25 and 26) of the year due to IRS tax provisions. 

Taxes for Cash-in-Your-Account Awards given to Foreign Service Nationals should be worked out by the overseas servicing personnel office based on local compensation laws.

How to Establish a Cash-in-Your-Account Award Program 

To establish a Cash-in-Your-Account Award Program, prepare a program plan which addresses the following: 

  • The purpose of the program; 
  • Who is eligible to participate in the program; 
  • The delegations of authority under the program, including supervisory authorities; 
  • A description of how the servicing human resources office will exercise oversight of awards to ensure compliance with the technical requirements of the program; 
  • The procedures for documenting awards on Form CD-326, Recommendation for Recognition. 

The program plan must be described in a document, approved by the head of the operating unit or Departmental Office, the Principal Human Resources Manager, and it must contain at least the information prescribed in "How to Establish a "Cash-in-Your-Account Award Program."