Bonuses, Rewards, and Recognition
Rewards & Recognition
An employee may receive more than one bonus in a fiscal year; however, the total amount of the bonuses received for the fiscal year may not exceed $3,000.
State, federal, and other sources of revenue may be used to award bonuses.
Agencies using federal funds for bonuses must show that the use of these funds is in compliance with federal law.
The Agency Director is the final authority responsible for approving employee bonuses.
All permanent and probationary employees in full-time equivalent positions are eligible to receive a bonus under these provisions.
Agency Directors are not eligible to receive bonuses.
Employees earning $100,000 or more are not eligible to receive bonuses.
Temporary grant and time-limited project employees are eligible to receive bonuses within the Appropriations Act guidelines for employee bonuses. The bonuses must be funded by the grant or time-limited project.
Bonuses may be awarded to recognize the accomplishments and contributions of individual employees. Examples of appropriate reasons for awarding bonuses are:
- Contributions to increased organizational productivity,
- Development and/or implementation of improved work processes,
- Exceptional customer service,
- Realized cost savings, or
- Other specific contributions to the success of the organization.
Agencies must develop a plan for awarding bonuses to employees and keep such plan on file at the agency.
Agencies must also make available to employees the plan that explains the criteria for awarding bonuses.
Agencies should submit plans to the Division of State Human Resources (DSHR) for information.
Agencies must document the reason for any bonus payments awarded.
Agencies must report the following information to DSHR regarding the payment of a bonus to any employee:
Source of funds
Reason for Awarding Bonus
Amount of Bonus
Each agency can develop recognition programs that meet its needs. S.C. Code Sections 8-1-180 and 8-11-190 allows State agencies and institutions to spend public funds on employee recognition. There is a $50 limit on the amount that can be spent on each employee per award. The Annual Appropriation Act, Section 117.59, provides authority to fund employee award programs.
All Internal Revenue Services (IRS) regulations must be adhered to when implementing a program. Under IRS regulations, all cash or gift certificate awards are taxable income unless considered a de minimis fringe benefit. The IRS has provided a list of FAQ's for government entities regarding de minimis fringe benefits at the link provided: https://www.irs.gov/government-entities/federal-state-local-governments/de-minimis-fringe-benefits
If an agency wants to develop a rewards and recognition program, agencies can contact the Division of State Human Resources to find out more details about the type of help available.
Each agency is responsible for administering the State service pin awards. The link to the State’s vendor for State service pins is: http://procurement.sc.gov/webfiles/MMO_spo/Contracts/pins-p2.pdf
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