Employee Recognition

Policy no. III-5
Effective Date: 01/01/2002
Scope: faculty, executive staff, senior staff, and staff
Exclusions: temporary employees

Policy Statement

The university seeks to encourage and recognize outstanding performance by employees. Officially approved recognition programs currently in place include the President's Award for Distinguished Service, the Staff Service Award, the Hovorka Prize, and various awards to recognize outstanding teaching, such as the Wittke Award and the Deikhoff Award. Nominations of persons to be recognized through these programs are solicited annually and award recipients are announced through the university News Center and other campus communications.

Supplemental Recognition Opportunities

Outstanding Performance: Supervisors are encouraged to develop meaningful, yet simple, recognition opportunities in their area of responsibility. Departments may establish recognition systems for contribution, effort and accomplishment. Recognition may be in the form of announcements, both personal or public, or in the form of reward(s). Refer to Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidelines below.

Additional forms of recognition for outstanding performance by employees are periodically proposed or reviewed by the Human Resources Department, the office of the provost, and by other administrative offices throughout the university. The provost and chief finance and administration officer are authorized to approve employee recognition programs for academic and administrative areas respectively.

Employee Involvement

Supervisors and the Human Resources Department will actively encourage and recognize employees who participate in activities of the university. Such opportunities include:

  • Employee participation and support of the Staff Advisory Council (SAC)
  • Employee involvement on search committees
  • Employee involvement on panels and task forces

Personal and Professional Development

The Human Resources Department will work with supervisors and trainers to provide acknowledgement or certificates when employees have worked to develop their skills or increase their qualifications. These opportunities include:

  • Participation in supervisory briefing sessions for supervisors
  • Participation in the excellence in leadership program
  • Completion of software tutorials and courses

Supervisors will forward copies of certifications from training taken externally to the Records office for inclusion in the personnel file.

IRS Guidelines

Payments or reimbursements for employee recognition awards, including non-cash gifts, and any costs associated therewith are allowable only if such payments or reimbursements are made in the context of a university-approved award program. Departments should forward the paperwork verifying approval along with the request for payment or reimbursement to the Controller's office.

Under IRS regulations, all cash or gift certificate awards are taxable income to the recipient. Certain non-cash gifts are excludable from income if they meet the IRS's stringent requirements.

In order for the university to be in compliance with the aforementioned IRS regulations regarding the reporting of wages, cash payments to faculty and staff as part of authorized employee recognition programs should be paid via payroll voucher so the proper taxes can be withheld and reported on the recipient's W-2. If the recipient is a student or is not a university employee, the award should be paid via disbursement order and will be reported as miscellaneous income on IRS form 1099-misc.

Policy Administration: Employee Relations office and office of the Controller