OPM Memo Details Federal Pay Freeze Targets, Exceptions

OPM Director John Berry, Photo: opm.gov

John Berry, head of the Office of Personnel Management, has issued some guidance about the two-year federal pay freeze enacted late last year, providing details about what’s left out of the freeze as well as who will be left out in the cold.

In a memo to agency heads, Berry laid out exactly who will be affected by the freeze, singed into law by President Barack Obama on Dec. 23; who escaped it; and how the freeze affects bonuses and performance awards.

The pay freeze, according to the memo, applies to:

§  General Schedule employees

§  Executive Schedule

§  Senior Executive Service (SES) and Senior Foreign Service (SFS)

The freeze does not cover:

§  The United States Postal Service

§  Members of the armed services

According to the memo:

“Additional payments, such as performance awards/bonuses; recruitment, relocation, and retention incentives; and premium payments (e.g., overtime pay), are not affected by the pay freeze.”

Periodic pay increases “within-the-board” and based solely on performance also fall outside the scope of the freeze.

Other exceptions, according to the memo, are pay increases mandated by collective bargaining agreements.

“Each agency should consider the policy contained in the Presidential memorandum,” the memo said, “and consult with agency counsel to determine the agency’s position in any collective bargaining that may occur going forward.”

Obama first proposed the pay freeze in November, amid ongoing concerns about the $1.4 trillion deficit. The measure was eventually approved in December by both houses of Congress in a short-term government funding bill, and the president signed it into law later that month.

Click here to read the full memo.

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