Employee Suggestion Award Program

The employee suggestion awards program recognizes and rewards eligible staff and faculty for creative ideas that, when implemented, result in increased efficiencies, net savings, new revenue or significant improvements in operations.  This program contemplates contributions that may fall outside or beyond an employee’s normal job responsibilities.

Two types of rewards are granted—a lump-sum monetary award and time-off award.  Both awards are in addition to an employee’s regular pay, paid leave time or vacation.  The award ranges from $500 to $1,000 and the University pays the employee’s personal income taxes associated with the award.

The purpose of the employee suggestion awards program is to encourage and reward eligible staff and faculty whose creative ideas or suggestions that, when implemented, result in increased efficiencies, net savings, new revenue, and/or significant improvements in the operations of the University.  The terms “net savings or new revenue” shall mean the estimated permanent savings or permanent new revenue generated in the first fiscal year of full implementation of an employee suggestion for reducing expenditures or generating new revenue.

In order for an idea or suggestion to be considered the contribution must be a constructive proposal, submitted in writing by one or more employees, and result in one or more of the following outcomes:

  1. Net cost savings through the elimination or reduction of University expenditures not later than the end of the ensuing fiscal year without adverse, material effect on quality or scope of service.
  2. Generation of new net revenue (excluding student revenue, fees, or employee fines).
  3. Elimination of unnecessary processes, operations, or services that result in actual cost savings.
  4. Development of new tools, equipment, processes, or work methods that result in a significant savings to the University either in time or money, reduces waste, or stretches financial resources.
  5. Elimination of waste, misuse of resources, or even fraud that results in actual cost savings.

Generally excluded from consideration are suggestions that propose a change in the University’s employee benefits or compensation programs, routine care of buildings and grounds, routine safety practices, minor revisions to University forms, changes as a result of employee complaints and/or grievances, suggestions to outsource or restructure a unit or to enforce existing University policies and procedures or suggestions that relate to objectives or initiatives that are already in progress.

Who is Eligible?

All regular full-time and part-time staff and faculty, including employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement, are eligible to participate in the program.  Ineligible employees include temporary employees, adjunct faculty, and members of the academic and administrative leadership.  Awards are given throughout the year, with an annual awards ceremony held to publicly recognize employees whose creative ideas and suggestions help improve the operation and/or fiscal performance of the University.

All monetary awards are processed through the University’s payroll system for proper income tax withholdings and reported on employees’ W-2 forms at the end of the tax year.

Type and Size of Awards

The suggestion awards program provides two forms of recognition—a monetary award or time-off award.  Both types are appropriate for recognizing and rewarding an employee whose ideas and suggestions meet one or more of the awards criteria listed above.  A recipient, however, may prefer one type of award above the other.  Whenever feasible, the employee’s choice of award shall be honored.

Monetary Awards.  The amount of the monetary award ranges in size from a lump-sum payment of $500 to $1,000 depending on the tangible benefits of the employee’s idea or suggestion to the University.  Monetary awards are in addition to an employee’s regular pay and are subject to all applicable income taxes.  The University shall pay the employee’s personal income taxes associated with a monetary award.  Therefore, the award amount will be adjusted upward to cover awardees’ personal income taxes.

Time-Off Awards.  Time-off awards provide employees paid time off from work without a loss of pay or accrued paid leave time (PLT), vacation, or floating holidays.  In determining the amount of time-off to be granted, consideration shall be given to the tangible benefit realized by the University as a result of the employee’s suggestion or idea.

    • Full-time employees may be granted up to 40 hours of time off as recognition or reward for their contribution.  An employee may not receive more than 80 hours of time off in any one fiscal year.
    • The number of time-off hours a part-time employee may be awarded depends on the employee’s percentage of work effort, that is his/her full-time equivalency (FTE).  Part-time employees may not receive for a single suggestion or idea a time-off award greater than the total number of hours they typically work in a given pay period.  Likewise, part-time employees may not receive during any one fiscal year more than double that total number of hours as a time-off award.  For example, an employee who works 20 hours per week may receive up to 20 hours of paid time off for a single contribution and up to 40 hours in a given fiscal.

Submitting a Suggestion

Employees shall use the Employee Suggestion Awards Form, which provides general instructions for developing and submitting innovative ideas and suggestions.  The expectation is that employees will research and test their proposals and provide data that support and/or verify the proposed net savings, net revenue, or operations and service improvements.  Also included in the proposal is an analysis of the estimated costs of implementation.  Proposals are submitted to the Associate Vice President for Human Resources, who shall maintain a log of submitted proposals and forward them to the chairperson of the Employee Suggestion Awards Committee with proper notification to the appropriate member of the Academic and Administrative Leadership.