Recognition of staff members for special accomplishments, career service, retirement or other "special" circumstances can enhance staff member relations and reinforce desired behaviors. Recognition requires the presenter to make a personal effort to create a recognition opportunity with lasting value. This policy provides guidelines and procedures for recognizing staff contributions, establishing approvals, and identifying potential income tax and other financial implications.

The Internal Revenue Service classifies many awards to staff members as taxable income subject to W-2 reporting and tax withholding. Exceptions to this general rule are explained in this document.


Gifts, rewards or awards may be provided to Duke staff members for work-related achievements and/or recognition, making special contributions and achieving major milestones such as years of service, promotion, departure or retirement. The expense for such gifts or awards must follow prescribed accounting and procurement procedures.

These awards are intended to provide spontaneous recognition and praise of staff for achievements and work performance. These expressions for a job well done should be done personally by supervisors.

For assistance or questions about this policy contact Treasury and Management (681-0208). More information can be found at the Finance policy on payments to employees.

Support for Managers

Staff & Family Programs provides support to managers and departments. If you have questions or could benefit from consultancy services they can be contacted at