The Employee Suggestion Program is a formal system for rewarding employees who submit ideas that reduce or eliminate state expenditures or improve the safety or operation of state government. Thousands of suggestions have been adopted since the program began in 1950, resulting in millions of dollars in savings to the state. Participation in the program is easy and the awards range from $50 to $50,000.
Eligible suggestions are those that do one or more of the following:
All part-time, seasonal, full time or retired employees in agencies/departments are eligible to participate except:
Employees designated Career Executive Assignments or Exempt classifications are not eligible for cash awards, but may still submit their suggestions.
Employee suggestions range in topics from engineering, security, information technology, accounting, clerical support and many more.
Eligible suggestions create a cost savings for the state and one or more of the following:
To qualify for review, each suggestion must meet the following criteria:
Review samples of approved suggestions (PDF) | Review samples of approved suggestions - Text Only (RTF)
Suggestions not eligible include those that are:
Please see our
award amounts page.
Submitting a suggestion is easy.
California Department of Human ResourcesMerit Award Program
1515 S Street, North Building, Suite 500 Sacramento, CA 95811-7243
Once your department's Merit Award Administrator receives your suggestion:
It depends on the type of suggestion and award you receive. Some awards can be paid immediately, while others must wait until the first year of net savings can be calculated. Every circumstance is different. The following is a general time frame for award payment:
In most cases, cash awards are issued after the first year of net savings have been calculated.
One-time awards are the same as cash awards. These awards are calculated at five percent of the net savings or revenues.
These awards are issued after the suggestion is implemented.
Evaluation and award timeframes vary depending on the complexity of your idea. The average turnaround for a suggestion is approximately six to seven months.
Yes. Cash awards are considered income and subject to tax.
Thousands of suggestions from employees and retirees have been adopted, resulting in millions of dollars in savings.
Sample suggestions implemented (PDF) | Sample suggestions implemented - Text Only (RTF)
If you need more help or would like to submit a suggestion, please contact your departmental Merit Award Administrator.
What is the State Merit Award Board?
Employee Suggestion Form - STD 645 (PDF)
Employee Suggestion Evaluation Report - STD 645A (PDF)
For Merit Award Administrators
CAL-HR Form 134 – Identification and Recovery of Savings
Evaluator’s Handbook (PDF) | Evaluator’s Handbook - Text Only (RTF)