Moving Towards a More Strategic Federal Pay Comparability Policy

   Memo #1 of Strengthening the Federal Workforce

Summary: To address existing shortcomings in the federal pay setting process, the President and Congress should take immediate steps to reform the General Schedule pay system to provide greater flexibility in making annual pay adjustments and enhanced opportunities for employees and supervisors to progress within their occupational grade levels.

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Recommended Actions

  1. The President and Congress should take steps to end the practice of across-the-board GS pay scale increases to address public/private pay disparities and allow for grade-level adjustments based upon disaggregated pay comparability estimates. This policy shift would grant the Federal Salary Council and President’s Pay Agent the ability to strategically target pay increases for those GS grade levels found to be the furthest below the private sector labor market in an effort to boost the recruitment, retention, and performance of federal employees. However, it would also allow for general cost-of-living adjustments for all grade levels.

  2. The President and Congress should take steps to expand the pay ranges within the existing GS pay system to allow for greater pay progression within GS grade levels. Current pay ranges are insufficient to accommodate acceptable pay progression and ultimately contribute to salary compression at the higher grade levels. When combined with the first recommendation, this system reform would provide employees with greater opportunities to progress within existing grade levels without the need to consistently seek out higher graded positions.