Referral Bonus Award for Army Civilian Recruitment and Hiring

Employees may be granted up to $1,000 and/or 20 hours time off as an award for helping the agency recruit new talent by referring someone for an advertised, vacancy. A referral bonus is offered at the discretion of management, subject to availability of funds, and may be paid after the individual is hired by the agency and performs successfully in the job for a minimum period of 90 calendar days.


All Army civilian employees who meet the definition of “employee” in Title 5, United States Code (U.S.C.) 2105 may be eligible for a Referral Bonus Award with the exception of:

• Employees whose regular, recurring job duties include the recruitment of employees.

• Employees who are excluded from the receipt of monetary or time off awards by statute or applicable Department of the Army regulations.

• Selecting officials or any other persons associated with the selection of the candidate.

• Any of the following relatives of the employee recruited: father, mother, son, daughter, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, first cousin, nephew, niece, husband, wife, father-in-law, mother-in-law, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, stepfather, stepmother, stepson, stepdaughter, stepbrother, stepsister, half brother or half sister, and any individual related by blood or affinity whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship.

• Any other individual when it is determined that there is an appearance of or actual conflict of interest in receiving the award. (The organization that funds the award shall make the conflict of interest determination in writing.)


• The award is restricted to the recruitment for hard-to-fill, mission critical positions and shall only be granted when the organization has encountered difficulty in recruiting high quality candidates after the vacancy has been announced for open competition. The following factors should be considered in determining whether a position is hard-to-fill:

o The success of recent efforts to recruit candidates and retain employees in the same or similar positions.

o The availability in the labor market of highly qualified candidates.

o Recent turnover in the same or similar positions.

o Special qualifications needed for the position.

o Other unique factors that contribute to the difficulty in filling the position.

• The candidate referred must be external to Department of the Army.

• A Referral Bonus Award may not be approved or paid in the referring employee unless the referred employee has satisfactorily served in the position for 90 calendar days.

• A referring employee may receive no more than five (5) Referral Bonus Awards, in any 12-month period.

• Vacancy announcements used to solicit candidates for hard-to-fill, mission critical positions in which a Referral Bonus Award is offered shall include the following statement: (If such statement is not included in the vacancy announcement, a Referral Bonus Award is not authorized.)

“An authorized management official has determined that this is a hard-to-fill, mission critical position. A Referral Bonus Award in the amount of up to $________ and/or ____ hours time off [identify either dollar amount, hours, or combination of both] may be awarded to eligible Army employees who refer a candidate external to the Department of the Army, who is subsequently selected for and satisfactorily performs in this position for a minimum period of 90 calendar days."

• Commanders of the ACOMs, ASCCs, DRUs, and the AASA shall establish additional criteria for positions under their purview within the constraints of the provisions in the SAMR-PO, July 8, 2009 policy guidance.

Content last reviewed: 7/23/2009-RJL

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This page was last revised: 8/6/2009