Motivating and recognizing employees is vital to employee engagement and a healthy, fun work environment. Recognition program requirements are described in and must follow the following Procurement Services Center (PSC) procedural statements:

Do I need a recognition program and who approves them? 

Section A. Recognition Grid of the PSC Procedures on Recognition and Training outlines if a program is required and what approvals are needed.  The following is guidance provided to CU Boulder departments based on PSC procedures: 

I am awarding: 

1. If you are awarding cash of any value to a CU employee (faculty or staff): 

  • Is a recognition program required?
    • Yes
  • Who reviews and approves program? 
    • Reviews: Human Resources
    • Approves:
      • Org Fiscal Principal/ Dept. Head
      • Human Resources
      • Officer (an official designation at the university usually at the Associate Vice Chancellor level or above)
  • Is Recognition Reporting Form required? 
    • No. Cash awards to employees are processed through Employee Services, in HCM, using One-Time Payment with earnings type of Award (AWR).
  • Who retains a copy? 
    • Human Resources retains copies of approved programs that require HR/officer approval
  • Payment Method? 
    • Cash awards to employees are processed through Employee Services, in HCM, using One-Time Payment with earnings type of Award (AWR).

2. If you are awarding cash-like (gift cards) of any value to a CU employee (faculty or staff): 

  • Is a recognition program required?
    • Yes
  • Who reviews and approves program? 
    • Reviews: Human Resources
    • Approves:
      • Org Fiscal Principal/ Dept. Head
      • Human Resources
      • Officer (an official designation at the university usually at the Associate Vice Chancellor level or above)
  • Is Recognition Reporting Form required? 
    • Yes. However CU Boulder Human Resources does not sign. Please complete and send directly to payroll@cu.edu
  • Additional Required Form: 
  • Who retains a copy? 
    • Human Resources retains copies of approved programs that require HR/officer approval
  • Payment Method? 
    • Any allowable procurement process, such as Procurement Card

1. If you are awarding cash of any value to a Non-CU employee:

  • Is a recognition program required?
    • Yes
  • Who reviews and approves program? 
    • Org Fiscal Principal/ Dept. Head
  • Is Recognition Reporting Form required? 
    • No. Cash awards to non-employees are processed through the Procurement Service Center using the Payment Authorization (PA) form.  PSC issues 1099-MISC if $600 or more in calendar year
  • Who retains a copy? 
    • The department retains a copy. 
  • Payment Method? 
    • Cash awards to non-employees are processed through the Procurement Service Center using the Payment Authorization (PA) form.

2. If you are awarding cash-like (gift cards) of any value to a Non-CU employee

  • Is a recognition program required?
    • Yes, if >$100 individually or in aggregate during calendar year
    • No, if up to $100 individually or in aggregate during calendar year
  • Who reviews and approves program? 
    • Org Fiscal Principal/ Dept. Head
  • Is Recognition Reporting Form required? 
    • >$100 individually or in aggregate during calendar year. However, CU Boulder Human Resources does not sign. Please complete and send directly to payroll@cu.edu. PSC issues 1099-MISC if $600 or more in calendar year
  • Additional Forms: 
  • Who retains a copy? 
    • The department retains a copy. 
  • Payment Method? 
    • Any allowable procurement process, such as Procurement Card

1. If you are awarding a non-cash gift that the awardee name is engraved on the award and the award item (plaque, trophy, or medal) is not made of precious metal or stone to a employee (faculty or staff) or non-employee (students):

  • Is a recognition program required?
    • No
  • Who reviews and approves program? 
    • N/A
  • Is tax reporting/Recognition Reporting Form required? 
    • No
  • Who retains a copy? 
    • N/A
  • Payment Method
    • Any allowable procurement process, such as Procurement Card

2. If you are awarding a non-cash to an employee (faculty or staff) that is not in the category above: 

  • Is a recognition program required?
    • No, however must be an associated with an annual employee evaluation program during the calendar year​
  • Who reviews and approves program? 
    • N/A
  • Is tax reporting/Recognition Reporting Form required? 
    • Yes, however Human Resources does not sign the form for the Boulder campus. Please complete the form and send directly to payroll office. 
  • Who retains a copy? 
    • N/A
  • Payment Method
    • Any allowable procurement process, such as Procurement Card

3. If you are awarding a non-cash to an employee (faculty or staff) during the calendar year and not associated wth an annual employee evaluaiton program:

  • Is a recognition program required?
    • >$100 individually or in aggregate per program during calendar year and not associated with an annual employee evaluation program: Yes
    • up to $100 individually or in aggregate during calendar year and not associated with an annual employee evaluation program: No
  • Who reviews and approves program if >$100 and required? 
    • Reviews: Human Resources
    • Approves:
      • Org Fiscal Principal/ Dept. Head
      • Human Resources
      • Officer (an official designation at the university usually at the Associate Vice Chancellor level or above)
  • Is tax reporting/Recognition Reporting Form required? 
    • Yes, if >$100, however Human Resources does not sign the form for the Boulder campus. Please complete the form and send directly to payroll office. 
  • Who retains a copy if required? 
    • Human Resources retains copies of approved programs that require HR/officer approval
  • Payment Method
    • Any allowable procurement process, such as Procurement Card

4. . If you are awarding a non-cash to a non-employee: 

  • Is a recognition program required?
    • >$100 individually or in aggregate per program during calendar year: Yes
    • up to $100 individually or in aggregate during calendar year: No
  • Who reviews and approves program if >$100 and required? 
    • Approves:
      • Org Fiscal Principal/ Dept. Head
  • Is tax reporting/Recognition Reporting Form required? 
    • PSC issues 1099-MISC if $600 or more in calendar year
  • Who retains a copy if required? 
    • Department retains a copy.
  • Payment Method
    • Any allowable procurement process, such as Procurement Card

A staff appreciation meal is an infrequent, unique, official function that is hosted and attended by the head of an organizational unit for the purpose of showing appreciation to a continuing or departing staff member, or a group of staff members.

Generally, such events should be associated with a specific performance trigger and would not be expected to occur more often than quarterly.

Staff appreciation meals must adhere to the following:
Other than the meal itself, a staff appreciation meal includes no additional recognition awards, rewards, or prizes. (If a staff appreciation meal involves an additional recognition award, reward, or prize, it is considered to be an employee recognition event, and is subject to the award guidelines stated in this document.). Approval procedures set forth in the PSC Procedural Statement Official Functions ; and, If alcoholic beverages are served at the staff appreciation meal, then the Administrative Policy Statement Alcoholic Beverages Purchased for University Events and related procedures must be followed.

Recognition events are official functions and, therefore, the PSC Procedural Statement Official Functions and the PSC Procedural Statement Sensitive Expenses are applicable. As specified in the PSC Procedural Statement Official Functions, certain costs require additional approvals. If alcoholic beverages are served at the recognition event, then the Administrative Policy Statement Alcoholic Beverages Purchased for University Events and related procedures must be followed.

As stated in the PSC Procedural Statement Sensitive Expenses, attendance at recognition events should be limited to those necessary to recognize the individual(s) receiving the award, reward, or prize. In certain circumstances – e.g., retirement functions – it may be appropriate for one or more immediate family members to attend the recognition event

Recognition Limits

1. Employees

  • Length of Service awards may not exceed $400.
  • Any award, reward, or prize that is greater than $2,000 requires appropriate officer approval.

2. Associates/Other Individuals and Supporting Organizations

  • The recognition must be directly related to the instructional, research, or public service mission of the university.
  • Recognition can be in the form of honoraria.
  • Any award, reward, or prize that is greater than $2,000 requires appropriate officer approval. 

 

Recording Recognition Awards, Rewards, and Prizes

1. Cash Awards, Rewards, and Prizes

Cash awards to employees are processed through Employee Services, in HCM, using One-Time Payment with earnings type of Award (AWR).

Cash awards to non-employees are processed through the Procurement Service Center using the Payment Authorization (PA) form.

2. Accounting Entries and Account ChartFields

Awards, rewards and prizes may be acquired through purchase or donation. If purchased through an approved procurement method, the following accounts are used

  • 550101 – Performance/Support Awards Cash/Non-Employees
  • 550105 – Performance/Support Awards Non-Cash/Non-Employees
  • 550106 – Non-Cash Recognition Employees
  • 550108 – Non-Cash Participation/Recognition Non-Employees

If an award, reward, or prize is donated, then the value of the award is recorded in Fund 34 as a Gift-in-Kind. Debit the appropriate account from above (550105, 550106, or 550108) and credit account 240606 Gifts In Kind less than $5,000. Include a full description, including the business purpose, on the transaction used to record the acquisition of the award, reward, or prize.

The PSC sets forth university rules and requirements for using university funds to pay for recognition and training for employees, associates, and other individuals (including students); and, (b) is designed to provide reasonable assurance that recognition awards, rewards, and prizes distributed by the University are properly captured and subject to appropriate tax reporting.If you are recognizing an employee on the Boulder campus, you should work with the PSC and Campus Controller’s Office for program compliance.