The Senate’s 2019 budget contains an across-the-board salary hike of about 1.9 percent for all federal employees. That is not good news.
Though modest and deficit-neutral—the bill requires agencies to reduce spending elsewhere to offset the hikes—this pay raise is a bad idea. A growing consensus of policy analysts agree that the federal pay system needs a major overhaul.
Today, federal employees earn raises for time served rather than good work. While federal managers can offer high performers cash awards and raises, the latter are rarely used and the former are too paltry and too freely given to be effective motivators.
In a recent survey, only 26 percent of federal employees reported that “pay raises depend on how well employees perform their jobs.”