The Office of Personnel Management is requesting agencies to evaluate all pay scale tables and submit a recommendation identifying any adjustments for fiscal 2013.
OPM Director John Berry released a memorandum July 24 instructing agencies to respond only to the data call if special rate adjustments differ from the January 2013 pay scale or if a reduction or termination is necessary. OPM wants to hear from those agencies by Oct. 5.
Any agency requesting a greater special rate than the 2013 default adjustment, must submit additional data in accordance with OPM’s special request form. In addition, agencies must consider human resources flexibilities, including recruitment and retention incentives.
For all requests that are less than the default adjustments, agencies must submit a written justification and any supporting data. Agencies must show evidence that the special rates are “no longer necessary to prevent a serious staffing problem” and that they want to “phase out special rates,” the memorandum stated.
The termination or reduction in special rates or grade-schedule categories will retain a federal employee’s basic rate of pay.
On the other hand, “OPM advises agencies to consider phasing out special rates they no longer need by reducing special rate supplements without reducing the corresponding special rate,” the guidance stated.
If any employee is entitled to an increase in basic pay, OPM may terminate some special rates if a locality rate is higher.
OPM will designate a lead agency if there are any substantial differences among agency recommendations for a particular special rate schedule.
With the belt tightening of government budgets across the board, the Obama administration requested a 0.5 percent increase for federal employees in 2013. This is down from the more typical 1.2 percent increase.