Jun3020098:59 am

“Rewarding excellence” v. pay-for-performance

The Obama administration “strongly supports the concept of rewarding excellence with additional pay”: but is rewarding excellence the same thing as the much-maligned “pay-for-performance” system? Joe Davidson examines:

The notion of rewarding superior work is not unknown under the GS system, though it’s never called pay for performance. Quality step increases “can be granted to recognize employees in the general schedule who have received the highest available rating,” says the privately published Federal Employees Almanac.

Orszag did note the quality step increases in his letter, but he went on to say “alternative pay systems may have the potential to improve individual and agency effectiveness by tying objective staff performance rating and pay more directly to agency goals and achievements.”

Nonetheless, he hinted that current pay-for-performance systems may not survive the Obama administration review in their present form. “The Administration will not support any pay system that is unfair or has the effect of suppressing wages or discriminating against employees,” Orszag wrote.

That’s exactly the arguments federal unions raise against pay for performance.


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