House charts pay and benefits changes

A host of federal employees' pay and benefits proposals would be combined into a one-shot legislative package under a plan a House subcommittee is drafting.

More overtime pay for managers, higher Thrift Savings Plan investments and revisions to reduction-in-force rules are among the changes to federal pay and benefits the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee's Civil Service Subcommittee is considering.

"There are a lot of goodies in this little bag," subcommittee staffer Ned Lynch said of the plan, which is in the drafting stage. "Now everyone gets a chance to look at what's on the table."

The subcommittee has drafted a discussion paper outlining more than three dozen changes, some affecting all federal employees, others that would apply to only a handful. The subcommittee plans to hold a hearing on the proposals next week. Eventually, they will be turned into a formal bill tentatively titled the Federal Employees Integrity, Performance and Compensation Improvement Act.

"This bill is going to be designed to pass," Lynch said. "If we don't get good support for certain elements, those elements will fall by the wayside."

Many of the proposals have already been introduced under separate bills. The subcommittee's plan would put them all together in a single legislative package.

Proposals include:

  • Allow federal employees to invest in the Thrift Savings Plan up to the annual IRS limit, which is $10,000 this year. Current rules limit TSP investments to five percent of pay for Civil Service Retirement System employees and 10 percent of pay for Federal Employees Retirement System employees.
  • Permit new employees to begin TSP participation immediately and allow them to roll over private-sector 401(k) accounts into the TSP.
  • Raise the overtime pay cap for supervisors and other professionals from GS-10, Step 1 to GS-15, Step 1.
  • Give employees with higher performance ratings greater protection from RIFs.
  • Prohibit people with drug convictions from working for the federal government.
  • Allow managers to deny automatic within-grade increases to employees. Remove the right of employees to protest denials of within-grade increases to the Merit Systems Protection Board.
  • Prohibit pass-fail performance evaluation systems.
  • Give managers the ability to fire poor performers after one failed performance improvement program.
  • Require formal procedures for disciplinary measures imposed on managers following appeals of agency decisions.
  • Allow agencies to conduct a total of 15 personnel demonstration projects, with no limit on the number of employees per demonstration. Current law permits 10 demonstration projects at a time with no more than 5,000 employees per project.
  • Prevent political appointees from seeking career positions until a change in administration.
  • Require federal courts to hear appeals of Merit Systems Protection Board cases. The Office of Personnel Management requested the change to current rules.
  • Create a special 401(k) plan for political appointees and congressional staff who move between the public and private sectors frequently.
"There are a number of provisions in here that will be good for federal managers," said Mark Gable, legislative director for the Federal Managers Association, singling out the overtime provision and the TSP changes for praise. Gable said he is reserving final judgment on the proposals until they are officially introduced.

"You wouldn't buy land in Florida after looking at a brochure. You would want to see the land," Gable said.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.