OPM approves pay raise for agency IT workers under special rate

OPM approves pay raise for agency IT workers under special rate

Computer engineers, scientists and specialists will receive the same pay increase as the rest of the government, even though these employees already get a special pay rate, said Kay Coles James, director of the Office of Personnel Management.

In a memo
to agencies' chief human capital officers, James said the only 'viable option for calendar year 2005 is to increase IT special rates by the same percentage as the General Schedule across-the-board increase.'

Congress recently passed the 3.5-percent pay raise, and President Bush must sign an executive order to make it official. The administration had hoped to limit the increase to 2.5 percent.

'There has been some concern'for what reasons I don't know'within the IT community about whether these workers would be eligible for the pay raise,' said Mike Orenstein, an OPM spokesman. 'Because of this concern, the director decided to notify the chief human capital officers that she will authorize an across-the-board increase.'

In 2001, Congress approved a special pay rate for some IT workers in General Schedule categories from GS-5 to GS-12 to address problems agencies were having in hiring and retaining employees. Feds received a 7-percent to 33-percent increase above the General Schedule's regular rates.

OPM conducts an annual study on all positions that receive special rates. Orenstein would not comment on the report and said nothing would be released before Bush signs the executive order.

James also said her office would work the staffs of each agency's chief human capital officer to collect information on special IT rates, which will then be put into a report for the CHCO Council by Sept. 30.

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