Departmental Recognition Policy
It is Carolin’a practice to encourage and promote programs that motivate and enhance employee morale. Departments should foster award programs that recognize employees for extraordinary work performance and collaboration, as well as outstanding service within the University and in the community.
This document applies to all UNC-Chapel Hill departments.
It is the policy of UNC-Chapel Hill to promote programs that enhance employee morale by motivating employee initiative and excellence. Departments are encouraged to develop programs that recognize extraordinary work performance and collaboration as well as outstanding service within the University and in the community.
Departmental recognition programs for employees must be written, with copies provided to/or publicly accessible by, all covered employees. All departmental recognition programs must be registered on the University’s Awards Registry administered through the Benefits & Leave Administration Department in the Office of Human Resources.
Programs that include monetary awards or paid time off awards must be approved by the Benefits Services Department prior to the implementation of the program. To register a program, complete a Recognition and Awards Registry Data Form.
Employee participation in designing recognition programs is strongly encouraged. At a minimum, descriptions of recognition programs must include:
- purpose of the recognition program
- awards categories
- awards eligibility
- frequency of award
- nomination procedures
- selection procedures
- type/amount of award given (both cash and non-cash items)
Awards may be designed to recognize extraordinary achievements by an employee or group of employees and may highlight performance, customer service, initiative, innovation, teamwork, career milestones, or other important accomplishments.
Guidance for developing a recognition program is available in the Employee Recognition Program Handbook.
State budget guidelines preclude the use of State-budgeted funds for employee awards. If permitted by the individual funding authority, awards may be made from non-State funds. Within any calendar year, an individual employee shall not receive more than $2,000 (gross) in cash and non-cash awards through University department recognition award programs. Employee monetary awards (both cash and non-cash awards) are considered taxable income.
Please read the Policy on Taxation of Gifts, Prizes, and Awards for more information.
Under State policy, an employee may receive up to 24-hours of leave as part of an award given under the university program that supports the statewide Governor’s Award for Excellence Program.
Any combination of awards within a 12-month period must not exceed 24-hours of paid time off and must be used within 12-months following the receipt of the award or shall be forfeited.
SHRA monetary awards may be submitted only using the ConnectCarolina Lump Sum Payment form. If the awarded employee is on payroll outside of awarding department, the awarding department must contact the employee’s home department and request completion of the form.
Benefits Services will approve SHRA monetary awards only for departmental award programs that are registered on the University’s Awards Registry. Awards submitted for an unregistered program will not be approved. On the Lump Sum Payment form, departments must specifically identify the name of the applicable awards program as it is appears in the Awards Registry.
The Benefits Services Department will review all SHRA monetary award requests for approval prior to forwarding the request to payroll for processing. Awards processed through the Lump Sum Payment form will be referred to the Benefits Services Department without further action required by the awarding department. Departments should allow at least five business days for Benefits Services to review the request in addition to the regular processing time through Payroll.
Paid time off awarded through these programs is in addition to the vacation leave that permanent SHRA employees accrue and may be used in the same manner as vacation leave. The recipient’s department must maintain a separate record of awarded paid time off. This time is not counted as part of the maximum annual vacation leave accumulation.
For both SHRA exempt and non-exempt employees, Paid Leave Awards must be used within 12 months of receipt of the award, or the leave is forfeited. If an employee leaves the department in which the Leave Award was earned, the leave award is forfeited. Departments should make every effort to grant such paid time off awarded to employees at the employee’s option. See the TIM Website for information on recording Paid Leave Awards.
Accrual and use of Paid Leave Awards shall be recorded and tracked by the department’s School/Division HR Office or TIM Administrator.
- North Carolina Office of State Human Resources – Special Leave Awards Policy
- North Carolina Office of State Budget and Management, State Budget Manual – 6.1.6: Use of State Funds for Recognition of Individuals