skip navigation

Employee Recognition and Suggestion Award Programs

This page provides examples of local government provisions and policies that adopt employee recognition and suggestion award programs in Washington State.


Local governments, like private sector employers, may wish to acknowledge their employees, recognizing their achievements and rewarding their efforts to make government more responsive, efficient, and cost effective. Unlike their private counterparts, however, local governments must consider constitutional prohibitions against gifts if they intend to reward employees with cash, dinners, prizes, etc.

Legal References

  • AGO 1995 No. 13 - Cities and Towns - Municipal Corporations - Public Employees - Compensation - Authority Of Cities and Towns To Establish Employee Incentive Programs
  • Provisions for State Employees (Used as model by local governments)
    • Ch. 41.60 RCW - Relating to the State Employees' Suggestion Awards and Incentive Pay Program
    • Chs. 383-06 and -07 WAC - Relating to the "guidelines for the employee suggestion program," and the "teamwork incentive program"

Examples of Provisions and Policies

  • Anacortes
  • Bellingham Municipal Code Ch. 3.32.060 - Incentive Plan for employees who assume projects or tasks beyond what is considered a normal part of their position
  • Clallam County Code Ch. 3.16 - Employee Suggestion Program for employees to recognize those ideas which result in improvements to the internal operations of the county
  • Everett Municipal Code Ch. 2.103 - Establishing an Employee Suggestion Award Program
  • Issaquah Municipal Code Ch. 2.88 - Program of Suggestion Awards for Employees to encourage employees' suggestions for improvement in city functions, operations and safety
  • Seattle
    • Seattle Municipal Code Ch. 4.88 - Service Award Program
    • Seattle Municipal Code Ch. 4.94 - Safety and Performance Awards
  • Tacoma
    • Tacoma Municipal Code Sec. 1.12.345 - Employee recognition for length of service, employee incentive, and outstanding service
    • Tacoma Municipal Code Sec. 1.12.650 - A program of monetary awards in order to stimulate suggestions from City employees
  • Tumwater Employee Recognition Procedures and Guidelines, 1/2011 - Provides for an award, token of appreciation, prize, meal, entertainment or event that is intended specifically to promote good will, foster a sense of pride in affiliation with the city, promote safety, productivity, reliability, efficiency, dedication, commitment to the community and/or cost savings for the city among city employees

Recommended Resources

Last Modified: October 19, 2016