Policy Number: 11-011

Employee Award and Recognition Programs

Category: Human Resources

Responsible Executive: Vice President for Human Resources

Responsible Office: Human Resources

1. Policy Statement

This policy clarifies Employee Award and Recognition Program as set forth in UF Regulation 3.040 – Employee Recognition Program. This policy provides additional information regarding the implementation of department level employee recognition and award programs designed to reward employees for superior performance. 

2. Scope

This policy applies to Academic Personnel, TEAMS, and USPS appointments. 

3. Definitions


4. Policy Specifics

Human Resources coordinates the establishment of department level employee recognition and award programs designed to reward employees for superior performance. These programs may award cash or other types of monetary awards. In addition, certificates, pins, plaques, and other tokens of recognition may be awarded.

According to the Internal Revenue Service, cash or cash equivalent awards, such as savings bonds or gift cards/certificates, are always taxable income to an employee. However, gift cards may not be purchased utilizing any University funding source. (The only exception to this policy that would allow the purchase of gift cards would be for a sponsored project that was using the gift cards for research participant payments.) To ensure accurate taxability, all cash and monetary awards should be processed through Payroll after approval by UF Human Resources.

Department recognition programs require pre-approval by the Vice President for UF Human Resource (UFHR) and must comply with the UF Regulation 3.040 – Employee Recognition Program.

To establish a new department level award program, please submit a detailed explanation of the program to compensation@ufl.edu.

Your request should include the following:

  • Overview – a description of the award program, the number of awards to be provided, and the behavior/performance to be recognized.
  • Eligibility – a description of the employees who will be eligible as well as criteria that may disqualify individuals from the award program.
  • Frequency – a description of the frequency of the award. For example, annually.
  • Award – a description of the type of award. Monetary awards should include the amount to be awarded.
  • Selection process – a description of the selection process used to identify the award winner(s).

Following approval by the Vice President for UFHR, Classification and Compensation will notify the department of the program’s approval and add the program to the list of University approved programs. While departments are not required to resubmit award programs annually, changes to the award program should be submitted to Classification and Compensation. This includes, but is not limited to, changes in the award criteria, frequency, or award amount.

To process a payment associated with a previously approved award program, departments should submit an additional pay ePAF in myUFL using the award (AWD) earnings code and reason code other (OTH).

For additional information on how to process additional pay ePAFs, please see UFHR – Hiring and Additional Pay myUFL Toolkits

5. Review and Adjudication

The following is the department is responsible for overseeing implementation of and assuring compliance with this policy. This is who to contact with questions about the policy or to report suspected violations:

UF Human Resources
Classification & Compensation
903 W. University Ave.
PO Box 115009
Gainesville, FL 32611-5009
(352) 273-2842

6. Policy Violations

Failure to comply with this policy could result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

Additional Resources

UFHR – Hiring and Additional Pay myUFL Toolkits
UF Regulation 3.040 – Employee Recognition Program


History:  Adopted 3-26-1980, Revised 10-10-2018