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SES Awards and Incentives

The three SES award programs are:
• Performance Awards;
• Presidential Rank Awards; and
• Other Awards 

Performance Awards: 

Recognize high quality performance during a 1-year appraisal period. The individual must be:

  • An SES career appointee as of the end of the performance appraisal period and have at least a “Meets Expectations” rating as the most recent annual summary rating.
  • A former SES career appointee who elected to retain award eligibility under 5 CFR part 317, subpart H (If the level of basic pay of the individual is higher than the maximum rate of basic pay for the applicable Executive Schedule Level of pay, the maximum rate of that SES rate range is used for creditin the agency award pool and the amount the individual may receive.).
  • A reemployed annuitant with an SES career appointment.
  • An individual who is no longer in the SES at the time the performance.
  • Award decision is made, but who was an SES career appointee at the end of the appraisal period.

A career SES appointee on detail to another agency is eligible in his/her official employing agency.

SES performance awards are 5 to 20 percent of the SES’ base salary; payment is a lump sum. If the amount brings total compensation for the
calendar year over the Vice President’s pay for executives covered by a certified appraisal system or over the rate of pay for Executive Schedule
Level I for executives not covered by a certified appraisal system, the excess is rolled over to the next caleandar year.

Presidential Rank Awards:

Each year, the President recognizes and celebrates a small group of career Senior Executives and senior career employees by awarding the  Presidential Rank Award.  The Presidential Rank Awards  are the highest honor that career members of the SES may be granted.   Recipients of this prestigious award are strong leaders, professionals, or scientists who achieve results and consistently demonstrate strength, integrity, industry and a relentless commitment to excellence in public service.  There are four types or rank awards:

  • The Distinguished Executive Rank Award
  • The Meritorious Executive Rank
  • The Distinguished Senior Professional Rank Award and
  • The Meritorious Senior Professinal Rank Award

For a Distinguished Rank Award, the SES member receives 35 percent of his/her annual basic pay, a gold lapel pin, and a Presidential certificate.     For a Meritorious Rank Award, the SES member recieves 20 percent of his/her annual basic pay, a silver lapel pin and a Presidential certificate.

To be eligible for a Distingusihed and Meritorious Award Nominees Must:
• Hold a career appointment in the SE.
• Be an employee of the nominating agency.
• Have at least 3 years of career-type Federal civilian service at the SES level. (Service does not have to be continuous).

There are Governmentwide limitations on the number of SES members who can receive Presidential Rank Awards each year.  Only one percent of career SES can receive the Distinguished Rank; five percent of the career SES can receive the Meritorious Rank.

Other Awards: 

Other forms of recognition are available to recognize a single, significant act or contribution that is not tied to voerall performance.  Examples include suggestion, invention, superior accomplishmnet, productivity gain, or other personal effort that contributes to the efficiency, economy, or other improvement of Government operations or achieves a significant reduction in paperwork or a special act or service in the public interest in connection with/related to official employment.

The agency approves up to $10,000; OPM approves up to $25,000; and the President approves any higher amount.  Payment is a lump sum and is subject to the applicable aggregate pay limitation; the same as for the performance and rank awards. 

All awards must be approved by the DOE Executive Resources Board.
Presidential Rank Awards (OPM)  
Performance Awards (OPM)