Effective immediately, the Employee and Labor Relations Manual (ELM), subchapter 470, Recognition and Awards, is revised to state that:
n The purchase of any season or partial season sporting and entertainment ticket is prohibited.
n The purchase of any single sporting or entertainment ticket that costs $50.00 or more must be approved in advance by the Vice President, Controller.
Employee and Labor Relations Manual (ELM)
4 Pay Administration
470 Recognition and Awards
471.31 Cash Awards
[Revise 471.31 to read as follows:]
A cash award is issued in the form of a check by Accounting Services. All cash awards are considered ordinary income and are subject to the following deductions: (a) federal, state, Medicare, and Social Security (if applicable); and (b) involuntary deductions such as child support and tax levies. (Various other payroll deductions are not withheld from the cash award.) Since these payroll deductions are made from cash awards, the net amount of the check will be less than the requested dollar amount.
471.32 Cash Equivalent Awards
[Revise 471.32 to read as follows:]
A cash equivalent award is a product purchased from an authorized Postal Service supplier, which is immediately convertible to cash, such as a gift check. Cash equivalent awards, regardless of value, are considered ordinary income and are subject to income tax. Cash equivalent awards must be reported in eAwards under the award category appropriate for the type of employee and reason for the award. Reporting of cash equivalents should occur in the same pay period in which they are received by the employee, but must occur in the same calendar year to avoid tax reporting discrepancies. Cash equivalent awards are automatically grossed up by eAwards so that the Postal Service assumes the tax liability for the recipient. The additional tax liability is charged to the finance number indicated in eAwards when reported.
471.33 Noncash Tangible Awards
[Revise 471.33 to read as follows:]
Noncash tangible awards authorized by the Postal Service are described below. See 471.332 for noncash tangible awards that are prohibited.
a. Informal Recognition, such as pins, pen and pencil sets, coffee mugs, apparel, plaques, event tickets, etc., valued at less than $50.
1. Reporting. Individual noncash tangible award items valued at less than $50 are not normally considered taxable income and are not reported in eAwards. However, management must track all noncash tangible items valued at less than $50 received by an employee during the calendar year. If the aggregate total of all noncash tangible items valued at less than $50 received by an employee in a calendar year meets or exceeds $50, the total amount must be reported in eAwards under the appropriate noncash tangible award type for the employee category and reason for the award.
2. Event tickets. Tickets to a specific event, game, play, concert, movie, etc., for a definite time and place that cannot be exchanged for another event, time, or place, etc., and are valued at less than $50 are informal awards and do not constitute reportable income. However, any of the preceding items valued at $50 or more, or any certificate that can be exchanged or redeemed for a ticket or tickets to an event at the time and place of the recipient’s choice, regardless of value, are considered gift certificates and must be reported in eAwards under the appropriate noncash award type (see 471.34).
b. Formal Noncash Tangible Recognition, such as clothing, event tickets, merchandise, electronics, and other personal property valued at $50 or more (see 471.332). The market value of formal noncash tangible award items may range from $50 up to $3000 depending on the reason for the award (Spot Award, Team Award, Contest Award, etc.). Individual noncash tangible items valued at $50 or more are always considered taxable income, and should be reported in eAwards in the same pay period in which they are received under the appropriate noncash award type for the employee category and reason for the award. Reporting must take place in the same calendar year to avoid tax reporting discrepancies. Noncash tangible awards are automatically grossed up by eAwards so that the Postal Service assumes the tax liability for the recipient. The additional tax liability for grossed up awards is charged to the finance number indicated when reported in eAwards.
The purchase of any season or partial season sporting or entertainment ticket is prohibited. The purchase of any single event ticket (sporting events, movies, and concerts, etc.) that costs $50.00 or more requires advance approval, in the form of an email or letter, from the Vice President, Controller.
474 Informal Award
[Revise 474.1 to read as follows:]
Characteristics of this award are as follows:
[Revise 474.3 to read as follows:]
The Informal Award is a noncash tangible item of less than $50 in value obtained or purchased locally, such as a plaque, a coffee mug, an article of clothing, tickets to a specific entertainment event, or similar item. (Purchasing and reporting requirements pertaining to event tickets and noncash tangible items less than $50 in value are set forth in 471.331; prohibited purchases in 471.332.)
[Revise 474.7 to read as follows:]
Management must track all informal awards presented to employees. If the aggregate amount of informal awards received by an employee during a calendar year meets or exceeds $50, the total amount of informal awards must be reported as income in eAwards under the appropriate noncash award category. (See 471.331b for reporting requirements.) The value of informal awards presented to contractors should never meet or exceed $50 in a calendar year.
We will incorporate these revisions into the next printed version of the ELM and into the next online update, available on the Postal Service™ PolicyNet website: