Referral bonuses aim to help fill mission-critical vacancies

  • Published
  • By Marisa Alia-Novobilski
  • Air Force Materiel Command

The Air Force Materiel Command has implemented a referral bonus program to help bolster accessions for hard-to-fill vacancies across the command.

The goal of the program is to incentivize current employees who recruit individuals that are subsequently appointed to eligible positions.

“Bolstering accessions for hard-to-fill, mission-critical positions is a top priority for the Command as we strengthen our teams to effectively meet the mission,” said Kathy Watern, Director, AFMC Manpower, Personnel and Services. “Our employees are often the best recruiting tool in our arsenal, and their expert understanding of our mission and needs can often help identify strong fits for open positions. These awards reward them for their efforts.”

Department of Defense Instruction 400.25V451_DAFI36-1004, Department of the Air Force Civilian Recognition Program, authorizes Major Commands to employ referral bonuses for recruitment to hard-to-fill, mission-critical positions. The AFMC Referral Bonus Guide provides specific criteria and guidance for processing these bonuses within the command.

In general, referral bonuses may be distributed at the discretion of management to civilians who are eligible for awards in accordance with DoDI 1400.25, Volume 451. Civilians should consult the AFMC guidance to determine eligibility. The DoDI does limit certain individuals from receiving a referral bonus, including:

  • Individuals who work in human resources positions specific to recruitment.
  • Hiring managers or selection officials responsible for filling a position.
  • Individuals who are prohibited from advocating for the employment of a candidate to whom they are related as per section 3110 of Title 5, United States Code, Employment of Relatives.

Additionally, referral bonuses may not be offered when the candidate hired to a position is a current or former DoD employee or if the position is a temporary appointment of less than one year, to include student internship programs such as the Premier College Intern Program. Bonuses may be awarded if a candidate is hired to a qualifying position as a Palace Acquire or Copper Cap employee.

While there are no limits on the number of referral bonuses an individual may receive within a year, monetary awards are factored into the aggregate limitation on pay within a calendar year. Referral bonus award limits are set up to $2,000, up to 24 hours of time-off, or, when approved, a combination of both. In all cases, referral bonuses are awarded at the discretion of management.

Positions eligible for a referral bonus must be included on the DAF list of mission-critical occupations. However, hard-to-fill positions will be determined by each AFMC Center, subject to geographic location, local labor market data and mission needs.

The AFMC Referral Bonus Guide is available at AFMC Referral Bonus Guide.

For additional information, contact AFMC/A1KK at