5 U.S. Code § 4504 - Presidential awards

The President may pay a cash award to, and incur necessary expense for the honorary recognition of, an employee who—
by his suggestion, invention, superior accomplishment, or other personal effort contributes to the efficiency, economy, or other improvement of Government operations or achieves a significant reduction in paperwork; or
performs an exceptionally meritorious special act or service in the public interest in connection with or related to his official employment.
A Presidential award may be in addition to an agency award under section 4503 of this title.

Historical and Revision Notes


U.S. Code

Revised Statutes and

Statutes at Large

5 U.S.C. 2123(b).

Sept. 1, 1954, ch. 1208, § 304(b), 68 Stat. 1113.

The words “In instances determined by the President to warrant such action” are omitted as surplusage. The word “employee” is substituted for “civilian officers and employees of the Government” in view of the definition of “employee” in section 4501.

Standard changes are made to conform with the definitions applicable and the style of this title as outlined in the preface to the report.

Editorial Notes

1978—Par. (1). Pub. L. 95–454 inserted “or achieves a significant reduction in paperwork”.

Statutory Notes and Related Subsidiaries
Effective Date of 1978 Amendment

Pub. L. 95–454, title V, § 504(a), Oct. 13, 1978, 92 Stat. 1184, provided that amendment by Pub. L. 95–454 was effective on first day of first applicable pay period which began on or after Oct. 1, 1981, except it could take effect with respect to any category or categories of positions before such day to extent prescribed by Director of Office of Personnel Management.

Executive Documents
Delegation of Functions

Functions vested in Director of Office of Personnel Management under this section insofar as it affects officers and employees in or under executive branch of Government to be performed without approval of President, see section 2 of Ex. Ord. No. 11228, June 14, 1965, 30 F.R. 7739, set out as a note under section 301 of Title 3, The President.

Ex. Ord. No. 9586. The Presidential Medal of Freedom

Ex. Ord. No. 9586, July 6, 1945, 10 F.R. 8523, as amended by Ex. Ord. No. 10336, Apr. 3, 1952, 17 F.R. 2957; Ex. Ord. No. 11085, Feb. 22, 1963, 28 F.R. 1759; Ex. Ord. No. 11515, Mar. 13, 1970, 35 F.R. 4543, provided:

By virtue of the authority vested in me as President of the United States and as Commander in Chief of the armed forces of the United States, it is ordered as follows:

Section 1. Medal established. The Medal of Freedom is hereby reestablished as the Presidential Medal of Freedom, with accompanying ribbons and appurtenances. The Presidential Medal of Freedom, hereinafter referred to as the Medal, shall be in two degrees.

Sec. 2. Award of the Medal. (a) The Medal may be awarded by the President as provided in this order to any person who has made an especially meritorious contribution to (1) the security or national interests of the United States, or (2) world peace, or (3) cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.

(b) The President may select for the award of the Medal any person recommended to the President for award of the Medal or any person selected by the President upon his own initiative.

(c) The principal announcement of awards of the Medal shall normally be made annually, on or about July 4 of each year; but such awards may be made at other times, as the President may deem appropriate.

(d) Subject to the provision of this Order, the Medal may be awarded posthumously.

Sec. 3. Distinguished Civilian Service Awards Board. (a) The Distinguished Civilian Service Awards Board, established by Executive Order No. 10717 of June 27, 1957, hereinafter referred to as the Board, is hereby expanded, for the purpose of carrying out the objectives of this Order, to include five additional members appointed by the President from outside the Executive Branch of the Government. The terms of service of the members of the Board appointed under this paragraph shall be five years, except that the first five members so appointed shall have terms of service expiring on the 31st day of July 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, and 1968, respectively. Any person appointed to fill a vacancy occurring prior to the expiration of the term for which his predecessor was appointed shall serve for the remainder of such term.

(b) A chairman of the Board shall be designated by the President from time to time from among the membership of the Board appointed from the Executive Branch.

(c) For purposes of recommending to the President persons to receive the President’s Award for Distinguished Federal Civilian Service, and to carry out the other purposes of Executive Order No. 10717, only the members of the Board from the Executive Branch will sit. The names of persons so recommended will be submitted to the President without reference to the other members of the Board.

Sec. 4. Functions of the Board. (a) Any individual or group may make recommendations to the Board with respect to the award of the Medal, and the Board shall consider such recommendations.

(b) With due regard for the provisions of Section 2 of this Order, the Board shall screen such recommendations and, on the basis of such recommendations or upon its own motion, shall from time to time submit to the President nominations of individuals for award of the Medal, in appropriate degrees.

Sec. 5. Expenses. Necessary administrative expenses of the Board incurred in connection with the recommendation of persons to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, including expenses of travel of members of the Board appointed under Section 3(a) of this Order, during the fiscal year 1963, may be paid from the appropriation provided under the heading “Special Projects” in the Executive Office Appropriation Act, 1963, 76 Stat. 315, and during subsequent fiscal years, to the extent permitted by law, from any corresponding or like appropriation made available for such fiscal years. Such payments shall be without regard to the provisions of section 3681 of the Revised Statutes and section 9 of the Act of March 4, 1909, 35 Stat. 1027 (31 U.S.C. 672 and 673) [31 U.S.C. 1346(a) and (c)]. Members of the Board appointed under Section 3(a) of this Order shall serve without compensation.

Sec. 6. Design of the Medal. The Army Institute of Heraldry shall prepare for the approval of the President a design of the Medal in each of its degrees.

Ex. Ord. No. 10717. President’s Award for Distinguished Federal Civilian Service

Ex. Ord. No. 10717, June 27, 1957, 22 F.R. 4632, as amended by Ex. Ord. No. 10979, Dec. 12, 1961, 26 F.R. 11937; Ex. Ord. No. 11085, Feb. 22, 1963, 28 F.R. 1759; Ex. Ord. No. 12014, Oct. 19, 1977, 42 F.R. 56105; Ex. Ord. No. 12107, Dec. 28, 1978, 44 F.R. 1055, provided:

Section 1. There is hereby established an honorary award for the recognition of distinguished service by civilian officers and employees of the Federal Government. The award shall be known as the President’s Award for Distinguished Federal Civilian Service, and shall consist of a gold medal, the design of which accompanies and is hereby made a part of this order, suspended on a ribbon of appropriate material and color, and accompanying appurtenances. Each medal shall be suitably inscribed, and an appropriate citation shall accompany each award.

Sec. 2. (a) The President’s Award for Distinguished Federal Civilian Service shall be presented by the President to civilian officers or employees of the Federal Government for the best achievements having current impact in improving Government operations or serving the public interest. These achievements shall exemplify one or more of the following:

(1) Imagination in developing creative solutions to problems of government.

(2) Courage in persevering against great odds and difficulties.

(3) High ability in accomplishing extraordinary scientific or technological achievement, in providing outstanding leadership in planning, organizing, or directing a major program of unusual importance and complexity, or in performing an extraordinary act of credit to the Government and the country.

(4) Long and distinguished career service.

(b) The importance of the achievements to the Government and to the public interest shall be so outstanding that the officer or employee is deserving of greater public recognition than that which can be accorded by the head of the department or agency in which he is employed. Generally, not more than five awards shall be made in any one year. Presentation of the award shall be made at such times as the President may determine.

Sec. 3. The Director of the Office of Personnel Management shall advise and assist the President in selecting persons to receive this award. In performing this function, the Director shall carefully review nominations submitted pursuant to the provisions of Section 4 of this Order and decide which of them, if any, warrant presentation to the President. The Director shall thereupon transmit to the President the names of those persons who, in the opinion of the Director, merit the award, together with a statement of the reasons therefor. Recipients for the award shall be selected by the President.

Sec. 4. The form and procedures for making nominations for this award shall be prescribed by the Director of the Office of Personnel Management, in accord with the following principles:

(a) The Director shall be guided in the performance of this function by the provisions of Section 4504 and 4505 of Title 5 of the United States Code, and by additional criteria which the Director may prescribe.

(b) The Director shall not recommend any person for the award without the concurrence of the head of the agency in which that person was employed at the time of the achievement for which the award is recommended.

(c) Persons appointed by the President are not eligible for this award unless, in the opinion of the Office, they are currently serving in a career position.

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