Benefits Administration Manual - Merit Award Program
2101. General Information
The Merit Award Program (MAP) was established by the California Legislature in 1950 as an incentive award system to recognize employee's contributions to State government. The Employee Suggestion Program, Superior/Sustained Accomplishment Nomination and Special Act/Special Service Nomination (Medal of Valor) are three separate awards available under the MAP. All awards are funded by the agency/department that benefit from the idea or nomination.
The CalHR, Benefits Division, has administrative responsibility for the State's Merit Award Program.
All State Departments participate in the program with a designated employee responsible for the MAP activities.
2102. Forms Distribution
CalHR Rules 599.655 - 599.664, Government Code 19823
All part-time, seasonal, full time or retired employees in agencies/departments are eligible to participate except officers and employees of the Universities of California and California State Universities (CSU). Student assistants hired through the Hornet Foundation at CSU are not eligible. Employees designated Career Executive Assignments (CEA) or Exempt classifications are excluded from receiving a cash award per Merit Award Program Regulations 599.660 (b).
Employee Suggestion Program
An employee program to award state employees for their innovative ideas, which result in a direct benefit to the State's operations. Employees submit a form STD. 645 to participate. Cash awards range from $50 up to $50,000 for an implemented suggestion not within the Suggester's normal duties. The employing department determines the eligibility of the Suggester.
Superior/Sustained Accomplishment Nomination
A management tool to nominate an employee for an outstanding job performance within normal duties. Agencies/departments complete Form STD. 278 for each Superior/Sustained Accomplishment award. The Superior Accomplishment Awards are unlimited nominations, with a cash award for a Silver nomination from $25 up to $250 per individual or team and/or a Gold nomination from $50 up to $500 per individual or team.
Sustained Accomplishment Award requires a 24-month evaluation period and nominations are limited within each agency/department. Awards range from $25 up to $250 per individual or team. Nomination process, approval, funding, certificates or plaques for presentation are the responsibility of the nominating department.
Special Act/Special Service Nomination (Gold/Silver - Medal of Valor) An honorary award for an employee that performed an extraordinary act at great personal risk or safety to save another individual. Agencies/departments submit individual nominations on form CalHR. 012 to the State Merit Award Program at CaHR for final review. A Gold or Silver medal with lapel pin, certificate and citation are presented to the employee by the Governor in a public ceremony. The cost of the medals is reimbursable to the State Merit Award Program.
All names of employee's that submit an Employee Suggestion on form STD. 645 may remain confidential until the agency/department implements the suggestion. The names will be released to determine eligibility for an award.
2106. Resource Guide
A resource guide entitled Evaluator Handbook, and GuideBook is available through CalHR's Benefits Divisions, Merit Award Program Coordinator. Contact information can be found in Section 2108.
2107. Tax Withholding
For tax purposes, payments will be ordinary income in the month that payment is made. Tax withholding rates for this will be (a) Federal Tax, 25.0%; (b) State Tax, 6.0; (c) FICA, (if applicable), 6.2% and (d) MediCare, (if applicable), 1.45%.
Payroll process and procedural questions should be directed to SCO's Personnel/Payroll; Services Division (PPSD) Payroll Liaison Unit (916) 323-3081 or CALNET 473-3081 or PPM
Manual revised 4/2003 Section G 100 and revised 3/2003 Awards Section G 105 Form 674.
Additional information on the Awards and Merit Award Program is available at CalHR's web site