Dec 21, 2007
The Energy Department’s National Nuclear Security Administration will move more than 1,900 non-bargaining unit employees to a new performance pay system in March.
The five-year pilot program also will replace the current system of regular General Schedule step and grade increases with a series of three or four pay bands, depending on an employee’s occupation. Each pay band will encompass several GS grades and is intended to let managers set higher starting salaries and promote employees more rapidly based on their skills and performance.
The pilot will cover engineers and scientists, nuclear materials couriers, young employees enrolled in NNSA’s future leader program, and technical and administrative employees.
The program, outlined Dec. 21 by the Office of Personnel Management, could eventually be rolled out to all NNSA employees if successful. It is based on similar programs already in place for about 500 NNSA technical experts and nuclear facility safety representatives and about 150,000 Defense Department civilian employees.
Employees will be evaluated annually by their supervisors and assigned one of four performance ratings: does not meet expectations, needs improvement, fully meets expectations, and significantly exceeds expectations.
All employees rated at or above “fully meets expectations” will receive the full annual pay increase all GS employees receive. But those who are judged to have significantly exceeded expectations in at least one category will receive an additional performance raise from a second pay pool. NNSA will hand out performance raises based on a four-share system.
Those who are not meeting expectations or need improvement will not receive any pay raise. However, they will have a chance to improve their performance and earn their raise.
Most employees will receive a small pay raise when they are transferred to the new system. NNSA will pay them a prorated salary increase based on how close they were to receiving another within-grade step increase. Employees already at the step 10 level will not get a pay raise in March.
NNSA said it will train employees, supervisors and managers on the new system before it begins March 16.
The agency hopes the new plan will help it recruit younger workers to take over for large numbers of existing employees who are nearing retirement age. NNSA wants to offer higher starting salaries and faster career progression to help staff its technical and scientific jobs, for which workers are in high demand and limited supply.