Federal employees may seem a popular target as the Obama administration looks for budget cuts, but the president's proposed two-year pay freeze won't actually stop them from getting raises.
Though President Obama has called on Congress to halt cost-of-living adjustments for the federal civilian workforce, many employees are still expected to receive raises through the rigid ladder-climbing pay system known as "step increases."
Under the federal pay formula, employees are eligible for a regular pay raise every one-to-three years, depending on their seniority. When they get a raise, typically worth about 3 percent, they move up a "step"; there are 10 steps for all 15 grades on the federal pay scale -- meaning there will be no shortage of increases in 2011 and 2012.
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