Federal managers warn of financial hit for some DOD workers
By The Post's Federal Diary columnist Joe Davidson:
As thousands of Defense Department civilian workers transition from a pay-for-performance system to the General Schedule, the Federal Managers Association says many of them will be financially hurt despite assurances in the law that they should not be.
When Congress told the Defense Department to end its National Security Personnel System, legislators explicitly said employees should not suffer any decrease or loss of pay. But that may not be the case.
Some NSPS staffers returning to the GS are paid more than their GS level allows. Their pay will not decrease, but under a system called "pay retention," their raises will be limited to half of the regular GS increases until the pay rate for their classification catches up to their wage.
"Many of these dedicated employees have crunched the numbers and determined that the General Schedule will not 'catch up' with them by the time they retire over the next decade," FMA President Patricia J. Niehaus, wrote in a May 14 letter to members of the Senate Armed Services Committee. "This is unacceptable."
Pay retention also affects the workers' potential retirement income, which is based on the "high three" years of average pay over three consecutive years.
"No employee should lose current, future or retirement pay as a result of a pay cap when converting back to the General Schedule," Niehaus added.
In her letter, she cited a portion of the U.S. Code that she said "would allow DOD to circumvent pay retention rules under certain circumstances" and asked Congress to "take action to ensure high-performing DOD civil servants receive the compensation they have rightfully earned before they are forced to endure the effects of this unjust policy."
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