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In January of 2011, 2012, and 2013, these pay adjustments will be precluded by the pay freeze. Under 5 U.S.C. 5376(b)(2) and 5 CFR 534.504, the agency head is required to adjust the rate of pay for SL/ST positions by such amount as the agency head considers appropriate in January of each year at the same time an adjustment is made in the General Schedule. However, section 147(c) of the Continuing Appropriations and Surface Transportation Act applies the pay freeze “notwithstanding any other provision of law” and restricts any senior professional employee from receiving an increase in his or her rate of basic pay during the designated period (which has been extended until December 31, 2013). The Act also includes the criteria for an exception in that section - i.e., an increase based on "a change of position that results in a substantial increase in responsibility, or a promotion." An agency may not grant any pay increase during the pay freeze, including an annual pay adjustment otherwise required by 5 U.S.C. 5376(b)(2), unless the increase meets the stated criteria for this exception.
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