Panel approves bill to restore back raises to GAO employees

Hundreds of employees at the Government Accountability Office are one step closer to receiving lump-sum payments for pay increases they were denied in 2006 and 2007.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Federal Workforce Subcommittee passed legislation on Thursday that would restore raises to more than 300 analysts who were excluded under a pay system that began in 2005, even though they received satisfactory performance ratings.

Pay reforms under David M. Walker, who recently resigned as comptroller general, resulted in a split payband in the mid-level ranks. Employees assigned to the lower half of the salary range were denied raises, even though most received ratings of "meets expectations." The changes fueled complaints that led to a congressional hearing and an employee effort to unionize.

At a hearing in March, Acting Comptroller General Gene Dodaro expressed support for restoring back pay for the employees.

The bill calls for a guarantee that employees performing at the "meets expectations" level or better would receive annual raises that are at least equal to the General Schedule increase. It also would allow nonsenior-level employees to include performance-based bonuses in their high-three salary calculations for retirement, and would raise the GS-15 pay cap from $149,000 to $158,000.

The legislation, H.R. 5683, was introduced by Rep. Danny Davis, D-Ill., chairman of the subcommittee. The bill will move to the full committee on Wednesday, where it has the support of Chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif.

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