WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) has begun a project designed to attract and retain the best and brightest workers in the national security field. Known as "pay-banding," this pilot project will focus on pay-for-performance rather than pay increases based on longevity.
NNSA is starting a five-year partnership with the Office of Personnel Management to fundamentally alter major parts of the government's competitive service personnel laws and regulations. Pay-banding gives managers the ability to reward outstanding performance with higher pay.
The project will test the feasibility of the new system, which collapses the traditional 15 General Schedule pay grades into broad pay bands. The new structure features comprehensive career paths covering professional, technical, administrative and support occupations with three or four pay bands in each career path.
"NNSA needs to continue to attract high-quality people with technical skills for our important national security programs," said NNSA Administrator Thomas D'Agostino. "This pilot project gives us the tools necessary to do so in an ever increasingly competitive job market."
Under the new personnel administration plan, NNSA's managers will have greater flexibility to set higher pay for their employees through appointments, promotions, and performance evaluations. This project will improve NNSA's recruitment efforts so that it can compete for high-quality candidates through the use of higher starting salaries. It will also motivate and retain key employees by providing faster pay progression for employees that perform well.
About 2,000 of NNSA's 2,500 federal workers are involved in the project. The project is expected to last up to five years and, if successful, will become a permanent alternative to the traditional competitive service personnel system.
The project follows almost two years of discussions, planning, design, development, and communications, including the three phases of employee briefings and managerial training conducted at every major site and location throughout NNSA.
Established by Congress in 2000, NNSA is a semi-autonomous agency within the U.S. Department of Energy responsible for enhancing national security through the military application of nuclear science. NNSA maintains and enhances the safety, security, reliability and performance of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear testing; works to reduce global danger from weapons of mass destruction; provides the U.S. Navy with safe and effective nuclear propulsion; and responds to nuclear and radiological emergencies in the U.S. and abroad.
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