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Out of 1.2 Million Federal Employees, Only 737 Denied Raises for Poor Performance

4:02 PM, Mar 22, 2011 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
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Here's your eye-popping statistic of the day, courtesy Stephen Losey at Federal Times:

Does job performance play a factor in employee raises and step increases?

Unions defending the General Schedule say yes.

But the latest numbers say clearly no.

Only 737 out of more than 1.2 million GS employees — or one in every 1,698 — were denied a regularly scheduled step increase and accompanying raise in 2009 because of poor performance, according to data provided by the Office of Personnel Management at Federal Times' request.

That equates to a 0.06 percent denial rate, which is far lower than any estimates given of how many poor performers exist in the work force. OPM estimated in 1999 that poor performers make up approximately 3.7 percent of the federal work force. A 2000 survey by the Merit Systems Protection Board found that 14.3 percent of federal employees were judged by co-workers to be performing below reasonably expected levels.

Also bear in mind that the average federal pay and benefits are double the private sector and that federal pay has gone through the roof. During the first 18 months of the recession, the number of federal employees making six-figure salaries jumped from 14 to 19 percent. In 2005, the Defense Department had just nine civilian employees making more than $170,000. When Obama took office, the number had risen to 214. The number is now 994.

It's been obvious for some time that the number of federal employees being denied pay increases was low, but this is about as bad as anyone could have imagined.

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