Most transitioned NSPS workers got pay hike. How about you?

71 percent of employees moved to the General Schedule pay system saw an average salary increase of $1,363 per year

A large majority of civilian Defense Department employees who have been moved out of the National Security Personnel System (NSPS) so far have received a pay hike when they transitioned to the General Schedule (GS) pay system, according to the leader of transition process.

John James, director of the Defense Department's NSPS transition office, said that of the 53,057 employees who have been transitioned through the pay period that began on May 23,  approximately 71 percent received a pay increase, with an average hike of $1,363 per year. About 8 percent remained at their same rate of pay because their salary matched a step within their new GS grade,” James told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee's Federal Workforce Subcommittee.

James said that the remaining 21 percent earn salaries that exceed the maximum rate for their position’s GS grade and were subject to some form of pay retention, which usually limits their pay raises to one-half of the annual pay hikes until their GS grade catches up to their salary.


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The pay retention group “is concentrated at the GS-12 and above levels, where many NSPS employees were advantaged by pay rate ranges that exceeded the rates for GS equivalent jobs,” James said. “Recognizing the potential salary implications to the employee, components are taking steps to mitigate the impact of pay retention.”

Patricia Niehaus, president of the Federal Managers Association, testified that the pay retention rules were unfair and that DOD should be encouraging transition officers to use existing authorities to make sure employee future pay hikes are not affected. If the final proportion of employees hit with pay retention is about 16 percent, it will mean that about 36,000 transitioned employees will see their future raises cut in half.

“The irony in this is that if you were an under-performer, returning to the General Schedule will actually lead to an increase in pay,” Niehaus said. “Employees who fall beneath Step 1 pay-wise will automatically move up to Step 1.”

 

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