Pay caps may be in store for thousands of former NSPS workers

40,000 feds moving to the General Schedule may face long-term pay caps

As many as 40,000 feds transitioning from National Security Personnel System could face long-term pay caps with their switch to the General Schedule, according to a new analysis of the ongoing conversion by the Federal Managers Association.

In a letter dated May 14, FMA President Patricia Niehaus told the leaders of the House and Senate Armed Services committees that rules governing such conversions will hurt many employees currently transitioning out of DOD’s pay-for-performance system.

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Although Congress mandated that no NSPS-covered employee would see a pay cut with the conversion, FMA said many workers are caught in a jam because they are being paid more now under NSPS than their GS level would allow. Under pay retention rules, the group said, the raises of these employees will be limited to half of the regular GS raises until their GS classifications catch up to their wages.

“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,” Niehaus wrote. “This is unacceptable.”

The estimate of 40,000 workers is based on an FMA survey of its own members that showed anywhere from 20 to 25 percent would be hit by the pay gap. Pay retention does not only affect the current pay received by these employees, but also could negatively affect workers’ high-3 average salary, which is used to calculate retirement benefits, Niehaus wrote.

Niehaus asked that committee members encourage DOD transition officials to use existing conversion flexibilities to make sure that NSPS employees are not hurt by the switch.

“Employees who continuously displayed above-average performance under NSPS would be affected greatest, which sends the message that performance is not recognized in the federal workplace,” Niehaus wrote. “No employee should lose current, future or retirement pay as a result of a pay cap when converting back to the General Schedule.”


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Reader comments

Thu, Apr 7, 2011 h fairfax

slaves to the ruling class...? It's been that way for thousands of years.

Fri, Aug 27, 2010

What is being done in support of those who have been underpaid since converting to and from NSPS? A lot of support is given to those with retained pay, but no support is given to those who have been working at a level, but not compensated at that level. Who do they ask for help?

Wed, Jun 23, 2010

Many of the estimated 40,000 Federal employees that are to be adversely impacted by the transition from NSPS worked hard to earn what they received. The Federal government chose to recognize and reward them for their performance. Now they are to be punished for being high performers. I wasn't "given" anything under NSPS. I had to document goals and objectives tied to a strategic plan, and then demonstrate how I exceeded those expectations each year to get pay raises. Now I am being punished for doing precisely what the Federal government asked of me, to be part of the best and brightest. This is how we are rewarded. I see little incentive going forward to achieve more than the minimal "play nice in the sand box" criteria required for an AUTOMATIC step increase under the GS construct where one has to screw up repeatedly, intentionally and horrifically to be denied a raise. Even then they get a full locality pay increases.

Wed, Jun 16, 2010

For years you are stuck at the top of the GS scale because you work hard and have a few QSI's that got you to the top early and along comes a way to get a raise. You perform and get one, then you have your COLA cut in half until the non performers catch up. Tell me that is fair.

Wed, Jun 16, 2010

My husband has been in the NSPS system for many years at an equivalent GS-15 which is capped at the top of the pay scale. He has only received the COLA for about 15 years. When he transitions to the GS he will not receive a raise, but will continue to be capped at the top of the scale. Many of you would probably feel that he is paid very well so why should he complain? How many of you can say you haven't had a pay raise (except for the COLA) for 15 years? These people affected by the cap are the highest performers in the Government. So we reward them by not giving them a pay raise. How many of you would stay in a job for 15 years without a raise?

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