Job performance has little effect on raises, step increases

Unions defend GS system

Should slackers, goof-offs and poor performers apply to the federal government? The data seems to say, "Go for it."

Colleen Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, said at a March 9 hearing that step increases are tied to performance. However,  Federal Times is reporting that only one out of every 1,698 General Schedule employees were denied step increases and raises in 2009 because of poor job performance.

In 1999, the Office of Personnel Management estimated that underperforming employees comprised approximately 3.7 percent of the federal workforce, and a governmentwide employee satisfaction survey given last year concluded that a little more than one-third of workers thought differences in job performance from employee to employee are recognized in any meaningful way.

The question is important because the two-year pay freeze that the federal workforce is under doesn't prevent raises with promotions -- whether promotions to higher steps within a General Schedule grade, or to a higher grade. Critics have seized on that to charge that the freeze will be ineffective as a money-saver, and at least one bill has been introduced -- albeit unsuccessfully -- to take such ostensibly merit-based raises off the table as well during the period of the pay freeze.

 

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