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Key developments in the world of federal employee benefits: health, pay, and much more.

Feds Petition for More Pay; Some Could Get It

Ricardo Reitmeyer/

Federal employees were, for the most part, not happy with President Obama’s proposal to once again raise their pay 1 percent in 2015.

Some are petitioning the White House to provide a larger increase.

One fed has taken to We the People, an online petition system created by the Obama administration, to ask for a 5 percent pay raise next year. Every raise after that should track inflation, the petition says.

“Federal civilian employees have paid their debt to the government,” the petition’s creator wrote. “We all deserve more pay for the devotion and hard work put forth every day.”

The petition had just 58 signatures as of Wednesday, well short of the 100,000 it needs to require an official White House response. If advocates of a larger pay raise for federal employees want to crack threshold, they may have to make it more Justin Bieber-focused.

Raise for Senior Level Managers

Most federal employees fall on the General Schedule and have received an across-the-board 1 percent raise in 2014. They are primed to receive the same bump in 2015.

Blue-collar workers on the Wage Grade schedule will require separate legislation to receive any raise, as Congress provided this year. For members of the Senior Executive Service, each agency must determine what pay increases, if any, to give to individual managers.

A fourth group of feds are on the Senior Level (SL) and Scientific or Professional (ST) pay systems, which replaced GS-16, 17 and 18 in 1990. These employees receive a minimum salary of 120 percent of what GS-15 employees make. That minimum saw a corresponding 1 percent bump in 2014, and would go up 1 percent again if Obama’s 2015 raise proposal becomes law.

Similar to SES employees, individual SL/ST employees’ salaries could increase by more or less than 1 percent, as determined by their agencies.

The Office of Personnel Management issued a final rule Wednesday to adapt SL/ST workers’ pay to be more in line with that of senior executives. The rule cements policy from the 2008 Senior Professional Performance Act, and emphasizes performance-based appraisal in determining compensation.

If an agency’s appraisal system is certified by OPM, SL/ST employees will be eligible starting April 4 to receive pay up to Level II of the Executive Schedule, or $181,500. If the system is not certified by OPM, the employee will be eligible to receive up to Level III of the ES, or $167,000.  

An SL/ST employee’s performance-based pay will be “based on individual performance, contribution to the agency's performance, or both,” OPM wrote in the rule.

Overtime Pay for EPA

More than 10,000 Environmental Protection Agency employees will split $35 million after their union reached a settlement over disputed overtime pay.

The American Federation of Government Employees Council 238 filed a national Fair Labor Standards Act grievance against the EPA in 2008 after the agency designated its employees as exempt from the FLSA. The EPA did not provide its employees with a proper array of choices for overtime compensation and did not provide bonus pay for off-the-clock work.

The settlement also requires EPA to cover thousands of current employees under the FLSA who had previously been designated as exempt.

(Image via Ricardo Reitmeyer/

Eric Katz writes about federal agency operations and management. His deep coverage of Veterans Affairs, Homeland Security, the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Postal Service has earned him frequent guest spots on national radio and television news programs. Eric joined Government Executive in the summer of 2012 and previously worked for The Financial Times. He is a graduate of The George Washington University.

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