Letter to the Editor
There were two concerns in giving the IT pay raise:
First, it sought to put introductory and intermediate federal positions
on a somewhat better basis with respect to the private sector. A brand-new
computer science graduate now commands $60,000 to $80,000. We lost on that
The other main concern was to avoid long-term costs by keeping retirement
benefits down for Civil Service Retirement System employees. They are still
almost 35 percent of the total. A dollar to the base for CSRS costs 1.6
to 2.0 times as much as a dollar for Federal Employees Retirement System
in retirement benefits and more since the CSRS employee has fewer work years
left to amortize the cost with production prior to retirement.
Take a look at the following table:
|Got Raise||No Raise
|GS Grade||GS 5-7||GS-12||GS 13-15
|Percent Pay Raise||33%||7%||0%
|Percent FERS||100%|| Less than 90%||Less than 20%
|Percent CSRS||0%|| Greater than 15%||Greater than 80%
|Age Distribution||80-90% Greater than 40 years old||80%+ Less than 40 years
The chart is a guesstimate/estimated projection of the FERS/CSRS distribution
and the age distribution with respect to the IT pay raise.
The estimates are based on reasonable assumptions and knowledge that
the CSRS pay system is made up mostly of older employees (with the youngest
now in their mid-30s), and I believe the above gives a good approximation
of the situation.
It shows two things. First, most of the IT pay increase went to FERS
employees. Second, most of the IT pay increase went to those who are under
40 years of age. While it is not illegal to exercise bias in pay administration
toward FERS as opposed to CSRS, it is certainly unfair. And with regard
to increasing the pay of those under 40 as opposed to those over 40, inadvertently
of course, that is a matter that the courts would have to decide.
While the intent was probably only to minimize CSRS retirement benefits,
the effect might be interpreted as de facto age discrimination.
Name withheld upon request