Gloom at the top: No pay raise for your boss?

Most white collar federal workers are happy with their upcoming pay raise even though none of them know exactly how much the retroactive-to-Jan.-1-boost will be. But for thousands of executives and managers at the top of the General Schedule pay pyramid, each federal pay raise is a time for concern.

For a growing number of people at the top steps of GS-15 it is more a question of if, as in, “Will they get anything?” rather than “How much?”

President Donald Trump proposed a pay freeze for 2019 but Congress authorized a 1.9 percent total increase. If it is handled as in the past, workers in locality pay areas — Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago, Denver, Philadelphia and New York City — will get adjustments based in part on private sector pay for similar jobs. Last year feds in the Washington-Baltimore area got the highest increase with a 2.2 percent adjustment.

Feds in areas outside the different locality pay areas, referred to collectively as the Rest of the U.S. or RUS, got 1.4 percent. But nothing is set in stone for those stuck at the GS cap of $164,200 at or near the top of Grade 15. Like other GS grades it has 10 steps based on performance and time in grade. Workers get the within-grade raises every one, two or three years depending on how long they’ve been in that grade.

The new locality pay tables are expected to be published in early spring. The Office of Personnel Management works up the tables subject to final review and approval by the Office of Management and Budget. White collar pay is capped at Executive Level IV of the pay scale. It must be raised before anyone capped in the GS ranks can get a raise. Sometimes they get it, sometimes they don’t, as witness the growing number of people “stuck” at $164,200.

Left in limbo are tens of thousands of workers at or near the top of GS-15. That cap covers GS-15 workers in steps 8, 9 and 10 in the Washington-Baltimore area and extends down to step 5 in San Francisco and San Jose. It also hits many long-time GS 15 workers in New York, Chicago, Houston, and other places. They won’t know for sure about a raise until the EL IV issue is made clear.

An association official familiar with executive pay said, “I have been told since the General Schedule cap aligns with the with Level IV of the Executive Pay Schedule, the General Schedule cap will also increase at the time the president lets or signs the Executive Pay Schedule increase; that schedule impacts not only executives, but also SES pay. As you may remember, the president froze the executive level pay increase during the furlough of the rank and file.”

Nearly Useless Factoid

By Amelia Brust

To prepare for his role in “The Girl from Petrovka” in 1974, actor Anthony Hopkins tried to read the book but could not find a copy anywhere. Luckily he found one left on a bench in London and when he eventually met the author, George Feifer, he realized he had found Feifer’s own copy. The author had lent the book to a friend who’d lost it. However, accounts vary as to where exactly the bench in question was.

Source: Bored Panda

Related Stories


Your Turn with Mike Causey


Learn about everything from pay, benefits and retirement, to buyouts, COLAs and pay freezes. Call the show live Wednesdays from 10-11 a.m. at 202-465-3080 with your questions. Dial 605-562-0264 to listen live from any phone. Follow Mike on Twitter and send him an email with your questions and comments. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Podcast One.

Sign up for breaking news alerts


Jul 28, 2021 Close Change YTD*
L Income 23.1244 0.0168 8.86%
L 2025 11.9583 0.0167 -
L 2030 42.2690 0.0783 23.52%
L 2035 12.7046 0.026 -
L 2040 48.1121 0.1084 28.43%
L 2045 13.1899 0.0324 -
L 2050 28.9138 0.076 32.85%
L 2055 14.2246 0.0447 -
L 2060 14.2246 0.0446 -
L 2065 14.2247 0.0447 -
G Fund 16.6342 0.0007 1.02%
F Fund 21.1188 0.0122 -0.18%
C Fund 66.0302 -0.0119 40.77%
S Fund 84.8282 0.9853 61.70%
I Fund 38.9255 0.1686 32.58%
Closing price updated at approx 6pm ET each business day. More at
* YTD data is updated on the last day of the month.