71 Percent of Career Senior Executives Received Bonuses in Fiscal 2015

The average individual performance award across government was $10,742, according to new data from OPM.

Slightly more senior executives across the federal government received bonuses in fiscal 2015 than in fiscal 2014, and on average individual awards increased by about $200 over that time, according to the latest data obtained by Government Executive.

Seventy-one percent of the government’s career senior executives earned bonuses based on their job performance in fiscal 2015, up 2.8 percentage points from fiscal 2014, the Office of Personnel Management reported. The average individual performance award for those top career employees in fiscal 2015 was $10,742, up from $10,544 in fiscal 2014, according to the data. The number of all Senior Executive Service members – career, non-career, and limited-term – receiving the highest job performance rating in fiscal 2015 also was up slightly, from 48.6 percent in fiscal 2014 to 49.7 percent.

While the number of career senior executives receiving bonuses and the amount of those bonuses on average increased between fiscal 2014 and fiscal 2015, the growth rate was smaller than it was between fiscal years 2013 and 2014. The percentage of career senior executives receiving a bonus based on their job performance increased by 12.2 percentage points between fiscal years 2013 and 2014, to 68.1 percent, with the average individual performance award increasing $347 between those two years.

Governmentwide, the average rate of basic pay for all SESers in fiscal 2015 inched up to $170,582 from $168,357 in fiscal 2014, but the average salary adjustment as a percent of basic pay was slightly smaller in fiscal 2015: 1.6 percent compared to 1.7 percent in fiscal 2014.

The highest average performance award for career senior executives in fiscal 2015 among agencies reporting data to OPM was $14,748 at the Justice Department. The lowest average performance award in that category was $8,823 at the General Services Administration. The Veterans Affairs Department, which has been under the spotlight when it comes to senior executive compensation since the patient wait-time scandal erupted in 2014, reported an average individual SES performance award of $10,024 in fiscal 2015, which was a little below the governmentwide average. Seventy-four percent of VA senior executives received bonuses; several other large agencies, including the Homeland Security Department, gave bonuses to more than 80 percent of their senior executives.

The fiscal 2015 report included data on 6,378 career senior executives compared to 6,267 career senior executives in fiscal 2014.

Agencies submitted fiscal 2015 rating and pay data for 7,661 SES members (including career, non-career and term-limited SES); of that group, agencies rated 92.2 percent of SES members, with 49.7 percent rated at the highest level (outstanding or equivalent). Agencies overall rated 94.3 percent of their career senior executives, with 48.9 percent of them rated at the highest level in fiscal 2015.

The average performance award in fiscal 2015 for those career senior executives rated at the highest level (outstanding or equivalent) was $11,944. The percentage of career senior executives rated at the highest level varied widely across the government: For instance, the State Department rated 95.8 percent of its senior executives as outstanding or equivalent. At the other end of that spectrum was the VA, rating 10.9 percent of its senior executives at the highest level in fiscal 2015.

Federal budget pressures prompted the Office of Management and Budget in 2011 to cap awards to SES and senior-level scientific and professional employees at no more than 5 percent of their aggregate salaries. It’s worth noting that senior executives are not eligible for locality pay, unlike other federal employees in different pay systems. As for senior executive bonuses, Title 5 of the U.S. Code includes language regarding SES performance awards. “To encourage excellence in performance by career appointees, performance awards shall be paid to career appointees in accordance with the provisions of this section,” states Title 5, Chapter 53, Subchapter 8, Section 5384. “Such awards shall be paid in a lump sum and shall be in addition to the basic pay paid under section 5382 of this title or any award under section 4507 of this title.”

Last year, OPM’s new rules creating a more uniform performance evaluation system across government for senior executives took effect. The standardized performance categories are outstanding, exceeds fully successful, fully successful, minimally satisfactory and unsatisfactory. The new appraisal system requires agencies to consider customer and employee perspectives when evaluating SES managers.

The chart below has more information on fiscal 2015 SES bonuses:

 

NEXT STORY: TSP Funds Have a Red October

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.