Federal White-Collar Employee Salary Reform

T-GGD-90-27: Published: Mar 21, 1990. Publicly Released: Mar 21, 1990.

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GAO discussed federal white-collar pay reform. GAO noted that: (1) federal salary comparability with the private sector has eroded because annual federal pay increases have lagged behind the private sector since 1978 and because of geographic variances in average salaries; (2) various federal agencies have suffered personnel retention and constituent service problems because of eroding pay comparability; (3) employees most frequently left federal service because of their low salaries; (4) the federal government needed to take positive recruiting measures to offset a growing negative perception of federal employment among college students; and (5) many companies paid salaries for the same jobs that varied by locality. GAO believes that: (1) geographic differentials and improved comparability with state and local government salaries should be included in any reform initiative; (2) any reform initiative should be undertaken in a fiscally responsible manner; and (3) the administration should avoid further widening the pay gap. GAO noted that proposed legislation: (1) was consistent with the principles it outlined for undertaking federal salary reform; and (2) would link pay adjustments to employee performance.

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