FDA Incentives

The Food and Drug Administration has awarded a contract for....gift cards.

Under the $41,030 deal, the Stratford Gifts company will provide 160 "employee incentive gift cards" worth about $250 each.

Who gets the cards? Why do those folks get them? How many agencies use gift cards to incent their employees? Do the cards work as planned?

Government Inc. wants to know more. We're waiting to hear back from the FDA.

Can you help? Input welcome.

Here is what the FDA provided in response to a question about the cards:

"The FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health recently contracted with a company to purchase gift certificates for 160 of its employees. The gift cards will be issued to recognize employees for their work over this fiscal year as a form of incentive compensation," the agency's statement said.

"According to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, agencies may present such certificates if they are being used as informal recognition awards. The FDA competitively bid this service to a company that specializes in this kind of business. Three vendors bid on the project and the FDA selected the lowest bid."

So, is this common? Anybody out there ever received a card?

By Robert O'Harrow |  May 19, 2009; 1:41 PM ET
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Please email us to report offensive comments.

Gift cards are sometimes used in government agencies. Just like the corporate world, the government also rewards employees for exceptional service. They boost morale and show appreciation for a good job. These gift cards are taxed like any other bonus or cash award and are treated as such.

Posted by: coastalisis | May 20, 2009 9:44 AM

I suppose many employees like gift cards, but many of us would rather have time off awards or just plain cash. It all gets claimed on our tax returns. I hate it that we have to pay a fee to give gift cards. I tend to forget that I have them and I know that others do, also. That is like throwing Government funds down the storm drain. Just one Fed's opinioin.

Posted by: pmaley | May 20, 2009 9:57 AM

I received a gift card (taxed) for work I performed on a particularly difficult and time consuming issue. It was a nice way for my manager to recognize all my hard work. It was $250 (before taxes), so not even close to the couple thousand I would have received for overtime pay for the extra time I put in to get the job done.

Posted by: WaPoReader2 | May 20, 2009 9:59 AM

Not to worry. I'm sure there are many Congresspersons who will happily convene a committee meeting in the Virgin Islands or Hawaii or some such place to study this questionable use of public funds for gift cards.

Posted by: filmlab | May 20, 2009 11:24 AM

I didn't get a gift card in the style of a debit card, but at my 5 year anniversary I got a card that entitled me to choose from any gift on a website and use the card as "payment", although it wasn't a card with a money amount on it and the gifts did not have prices on them.

My Fortune 500 company contracts this out, but I can't remember the name of the company/website that does the card & gift buying/shipping.

Posted by: lquarton | May 20, 2009 11:32 PM

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