From the Should Have Known Department, a reminder that hardly anything in government is simple. Take the SES pay raise, please!
The new across-the-board pay raise for rank-and-file federal workers does apply to members of the SES. And it will give many upper level GS 15 employees their first raise in years.
But, as David K., points out although the ceiling has been raised, that won’t help some feds: “There is STILL a cap — for D.C. it’s at GS15, 9 and 10. People in those steps are still not getting their full pay.
“In San Francisco, a GS15 step 6 still makes exactly the same as a step 10. Not much incentive (none) to work to achieve anything past step 6 in San Francisco, or step 9 here in DC.”
Before you spend that extra 1 percent coming in 2016, consider this.
It is possible that some SES members won’t get the raise or, if they do, won’t get all of it. Here’s how a long time expert on the upper echelon of government explains it:
“SES employees, unlike GS, will NOT receive an across-the-board 1 percent pay increase following the increase to the GS pay scale once signed into law by Congress. SES are covered by a pay-for-performance system so, except in some limited circumstances, pay adjustments have to be tied to performance and specifically performance ratings that evaluate results achieved by the SES employee. When the GS range is increased, SES are eligible for performance-based pay adjustments within the new range but such adjustments are not automatic.
“Some SES potentially will get automatic increases — these would only be SES (probably not many) who are at the bottom of the current range and would otherwise fall below the minimum of the new pay range if their salary is not adjusted. By law, the bottom of the SES pay range is 120 percent of the GS-15, step 1 pay rate.”
So, it turns out that a rising tide doesn’t raise all boats, especially if you are in the elite federal Senior Executive Service.
The explanation above is 100 percent accurate. But here’s the problem: If you totally understand it, maybe you’ve been in Washington (or in the government) too long. If it makes sense you might want to take some extra time off over the holidays until you have return to a (more normal state of semi-confusion.