OPM: Pay raises are not a given

The government's human resources chief is reminding agencies that certain pay raises are not automatic.

Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry sent a June 8 memorandum to agency heads reiterating that within-grade increases, or step increases, should not be given to employees with performance ratings below "fully successful" or the equivalent.

"The payment of within-grade increases should never be viewed as automatic or routine," Berry wrote in the memo.

There are 10 steps within each General Schedule grade. Step increases are periodic boosts in a GS employee's rate of basic pay from one step of the grade within a position to the next higher step of that grade.

The two-year pay freeze on federal employees does not affect step increases, or performance-based bonuses, which some lawmakers view as a loophole. The House in May passed legislation that would eliminate pay raises for poor-performing federal employees.

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