University of California Local Guidelines for the Staff Appreciation and Recognition Plan

These guidelines serve as a framework for implementation of cash recognition awards for employees under the Staff Appreciation and Recognition Plan (the “STAR Plan”) at UC Davis.

STAR Eligibility

  • Policy-covered career employees and MSP employees
  • Clerical Unit (CX) employees

Employees in the categories listed above are eligible for STAR Plan cash awards if, at the time of the award, they:

  • Have successfully completed their probationary period, if applicable;
  • Are on active pay status or on an approved unpaid leave; and,
  • Received a “Fully Achieved Expectations” or better overall rating on their most recent annual performance evaluation. (PPSM 23 requires that written performance evaluations be completed annually.) Policy-covered employees who have not yet received an annual performance evaluation may be eligible for an award if their manager confirms on the nomination form that they are “meeting expectations.”
  • Policy covered contract employees who have at least 6 months of continuous service on a single contract are also eligible to participate in STAR Award program at UC Davis pending HR approval and provided that they meet the above requirements.

Exclusively represented employees are eligible for recognition awards under the Plan only if the applicable collective bargaining agreement expressly authorizes participation in the STAR Plan.

An employee may not receive an award under the STAR Plan if the employee is a participant in an incentive award plan that prohibits the receipt of a recognition award.

An employee’s receipt of an award under the STAR Plan does not establish any right or guarantee that the employee will be eligible for or entitled to an award in any subsequent Plan year.

Award Limits and Restrictions

The following limitations apply to STAR Plan cash awards.

  • No single STAR Plan cash award may exceed 10% of the employee’s base salary or $10,000, whichever amount is lower.
  • Cumulative STAR Plan cash awards paid to an employee in a Plan year may not exceed 10% of the employee’s base salary or $10,000, whichever amount is lower.
  • STAR Plan cash awards over $500 require department head approval.  

  • STAR Plan cash awards are strictly discretionary and may not be promised or guaranteed in advance.

  • “Across-the-board” type awards (e.g., awards to a category of employees without regard to a recipient’s performance or relative contribution) are not allowed under the STAR Plan. Awards must be based on the recipient’s achievement as an individual or as part of a team.

Exceptions to the above monetary award limits will not be made except in rare circumstances. Any exception will require the approval of the Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO). If the CHRO approves, the CHRO will need to secure the approval of the Chancellor, the Administrative Oversight Committee (AOC) of the Plan, and the University President. Recommendations for an award that would be an exception to these limits must be submitted in writing to the CHRO and include a compelling justification for making the exception.

Nomination Process

The STAR Award Nomination Form must be used for every nomination (PDF)

  • Individual Award Nominations - Individual employees may be nominated for STAR awards based on one or more of the performance standards set forth in the STAR Plan. Input will be required from the employee’s manager/supervisor if someone other than the employee’s manager/supervisor is nominating the employee.
  • Team Award Nominations - Team Awards may be granted to teams of employees who meet one or more of the performance standards set forth in the STAR Plan for work on a project within the same department or for work on the development and/or implementation of inter-departmental projects. Input will be required from the team leader and each employee’s supervisor/manager if someone other than the manager/supervisor is nominating the team.

The employee’s department head is responsible for confirming that the employee is eligible for an award and must approve the employee’s award, regardless of the funding source for the award.

Award Review and Approval Authority

The processes for all STAR Plan cash awards require endorsement of the employee’s immediate supervisor and approval of the next level manager.  STAR Plan cash awards over $500 also require department head approval.

Funding Requirements and Restrictions

Only local departmental funds will be used for STAR Plan awards.

Dates for submission of award reports:

  • January 10, 2024 for awards provided between July 2023 and December 2023
  • July 10, 2024 for awards provided between January 2024 and June 2024

Plan Contact for Questions

Questions regarding the STAR Plan should be directed to Ben Gamez - or 916-734-3068. 

Star Award Certificate Templates

These templates are for optional use by any UC Davis department. They are Microsoft Word "forms," so you only need to fill in your specific information in designated form fields then save and print on your local color printer. Note that print quality may vary from printer to printer. If you require professional printing, you can make a PDF and send to Repro Graphics.

If you have campus fonts (Berkeley and Futura UC Davis) installed, use these templates:

If you do not have campus fonts installed, use these: