In a bid to cut costs, the White House is planning to temporarily suspend a bonus program that awards large, one-time bonuses to top-performing senior civil service employees, The Wall Street Journal reported
The presidential-level program, established in the 1970s, was designed to reward top federal employees for distinguished service. In 2012, 122 civil service employees won bonuses, ranging from 20 percent to 35 percent of their salaries. More than double that number have received awards in past years.
Citing unnamed people familiar with the decision, the Journal reported that the suspension is largely based on budget constraints, as many agencies struggle to avoid or limit employee furloughs due to the sequester.
"The president is committed to recognizing excellence," an administration official told the Journal. "However, in light of the reduced budgetary resources, expending funds on employee performance awards at this time would in many circumstances not be the most effective way to protect agency mission to the extent practicable."
The bonuses are considered the nation's highest honor for civil service employees and are usually offered once a year. But until the bonus awards are resumed, the official told the Journal, the administration intends to find other means "to acknowledge excellence in non-monetary ways."
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