Dear Bureaucrat, We’re trapped under the salary cap!

Dear Bureaucrat,

Federal employees at the GS-15 grade aren’t paid for step increases they have earned. This is becoming an increasing problem in the DC area as more and more of our top performing people are ineligible for an increase, year after year.  Though I see the problem mentioned, I have not seen any efforts to either remove that statutory cap, or raise the Exec Schedule, thereby giving capped 15s some breathing room.  With a staff of high performing 15s, it is harder and harder to reward them with “the gift that keeps on giving” that is a pay increase.  Any news or intel on this front?


Dear Capped,

Some background so readers can follow the story: The question from Capped is about a law that says no salary for General Schedule employees can be higher than the salary for Assistant Secretaries on the separate pay scale for Presidential appointees. If the government’s formula for what should be paid to a certain GS grade, step and locality comes to more than the Assistant Secretary salary, then the employee gets the capped amount rather than what the government’s formula says she is entitled to. In the Washington, DC area, that works out to the top four steps of GS-15 all being paid the same capped amount… Read the answer in Federal Times 

Author: David S. Reed

David S. Reed is a public administration expert, founder of Center for Public Administrators, and a civil servant.