President Trump's 2019 budget proposal included a pay freeze for federal workers during the federal fiscal year and slow the pace of step increases. It also documented the administration's intention to rely on "pay for performance" to determine federal workers' salaries rather than the current tenure-based step increase system. At a recent House Appropriations Committee hearing, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney defended the proposed changes.
As sequestration continues, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued instructions to federal agencies to limit incentive awards for employees and warned them to not attempt to shift money within their budgets to "soften the impact of sequestration."
The Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) reports that last year they handled the largest number of appeals in almost a decade, as employees contested more personnel decisions. This included actions like negative performance appraisal and denials of step increases on pay rates.