Pay freeze

Q. My colleagues at JLab (Jefferson Lab) inform me that JLab management has lifted the DOE-mandated two-year salary freeze and all JLab employees will be eligible for small, regular salary increases as part of their annual performance and salary review process. Please explain why Fermilab has not been able to provide the same consideration to its equally hard-working and deserving employees.

A. The two-year DOE pay freeze has not been lifted for any laboratory, including JLab. Employees at JLAb will not receive merit increases as part of their annual performance and salary review process. Some will receive an equity adjustment in FY11.

Historically, DOE granted the national laboratories permission to spend money on annual merit increases, promotions and adjustments in compensation to reflect market value (equity adjustments). During the two freeze years DOE has issued guidance that allows the laboratories to spend limited funds on promotions and equity adjustments. However, the allowance is qualified in two ways. The laboratory must provide market data that justifies that it is needed and DOE must approve how the adjustment pool is spent.

Some laboratories started their pay freeze in FY11. Fermilab did not. We received merit increases on October 1, 2010, (in FY11) before the freeze was announced. Laboratories that were frozen in FY11 were allowed to use adjustment funds retroactively. Fermilab’s freeze years are FY12 and FY13. During those years Fermilab will have the same opportunity to make limited promotion and equity adjustments.