DOD implements pay changes in NSPS

The Defense Department has implemented new pay policies in the National Security Personnel System that reflect impending changes in the NSPS under 2008 Defense authorization legislation.

President Bush has withheld approval of the National Defense Authorization Act, which the House and Senate passed last month and sent to the White House Bush's signature. In Dec. 28 comments about his pocket veto, Bush said  Section 1083 of the bill would risk the freezing of “substantial” Iraqi assets in the United States, amounting to billions of dollars. He said the administration is working with members of Congress to fix the provision when Congress returns later this month.

Under DOD’s new pay policies, workers covered by NSPS, currently about 130,000, will get 60 percent of the annual raise most federal workers get under the government’s General Schedule system. Under the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2008, federal civilian workers received a 3.5 percent increase, effective Jan. 6. The remaining 40 percent of the NSPS pay adjustment will be based on performance evaluations by supervisors, as prescribed by the authorization bill.

The fact that DOD officials have implemented the 60/40 pay changes in advance of the bill becoming law is an indication that they expect the new policies to become permanent, said Randy Erwin, legislative director for the National Federation of Federal Employees, which supports the changes.

“We’re not anticipating any changes that are going to be relevant to us,” Erwin said. “From what we’re hearing on the Hill, we believe [lawmakers] will make that one technical fix and then pass the bill as is.”

The authorization legislation leaves intact the department’s ability to deploy a performance-based personnel system, but it also makes substantial changes to NSPS. In addition to imposing the 60/40 approach to pay adjustments, it restores collective-bargaining and adverse-action appeal rights and removes blue-collar workers from the system.


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