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General Schedule (GS) Withheld Step Increase Reduction Request


The General Schedule (GS) Withheld Step Increase Reduction Request is a request related to the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits. It concerns employees who have had their scheduled within-grade step increase withheld due to poor performance or disciplinary reasons. A reduction request aims to revoke the lost step increase by addressing the issues that led to the withholding and demonstrating improvement in work performance or conduct.

Key Takeaways

  1. General Schedule (GS) Withheld Step Increase Reduction Request refers to a request made by the VA to temporarily halt or reduce an employee’s scheduled pay increase within the General Schedule pay system.
  2. This action might be taken as a result of disciplinary issues, unsatisfactory performance, or other concerns related to the employee’s job performance or conduct.
  3. A request for a withheld step increase reduction must be carefully reviewed, following specific guidelines and procedures, in order to ensure fairness and compliance with applicable regulations and policies.


The VA benefits term General Schedule (GS) Withheld Step Increase Reduction Request is important because it directly impacts the salary progression and financial well-being of veterans who work as federal civilian employees.

This term references a procedure where an employee’s automatic pay increase, due to advancement to a higher step within their GS pay grade, is withheld or postponed for various reasons, such as performance or disciplinary issues.

A timely and appropriate resolution of these requests ensures that deserving employees receive their due wage increases, maintains an effective and efficient federal workforce, and upholds fair compensation practices in line with the VA’s commitment to support veterans in their civilian careers.


The General Schedule (GS) Withheld Step Increase Reduction Request is an essential component in managing and administering the VA benefits system, as it serves to ensure that eligible federal employees receive the appropriate compensation for their work and dedication. This process essentially involves reviewing the salary increase withheld due to various reasons, primarily performance-related concerns.

The purpose of this review is to determine if the employee has made significant progress in their performance, addressing the previous concerns, and whether they now qualify for the step increase in their salary as a result. Through the use of the GS Withheld Step Increase Reduction Request, veterans working in the federal civilian workforce are provided with an opportunity to demonstrate improvement and regain their rightful salary increments, thus promoting a fair and merit-based compensation system.

By doing so, it encourages employee motivation, commitment, and overall job satisfaction, ultimately leading to stronger workforce morale and enhanced productivity within the federal workforce. In this way, the GS Withheld Step Increase Reduction Request stands as a crucial tool for fostering a supportive and accountable environment for those who have previously served their country and now transition to serving its citizens as federal employees.

Examples of General Schedule (GS) Withheld Step Increase Reduction Request

A General Schedule (GS) Withheld Step Increase Reduction Request refers to a situation where an employee’s scheduled step increase under the General Schedule pay system is withheld or reduced. This can be due to poor performance, disciplinary action, or other issues that make the employee not eligible for the step increase. Here are three real-world examples:

Example 1 – Poor Performance: An employee working in a VA hospital as a program analyst (GS-11) has consistently failed to meet the requirements, goals, and deadlines set for the position. The employee’s annual performance evaluation scores have been below the acceptable level. Their supervisor and the HR department decide to submit a withheld step increase reduction request, halting the employee’s progression within the GS pay scale until their performance improves.

Example 2 – Disciplinary Action: A VA benefits claims examiner (GS-9) is found guilty of violating the agency’s policy against harassment in the workplace. As a result, the examiner receives a suspension and a letter of reprimand from their supervisor. Based on these disciplinary actions, a withheld step increase reduction request is submitted to the appropriate HR personnel, temporarily preventing the employee from receiving their scheduled step increase within the GS pay scale.

Example 3 – Coming out of Probationary Period: An employee who is a GS-7 secretary in a VA regional office completed their one-year probationary period with some deficiencies noted in their performance evaluation. However, their supervisor believes that with continued guidance and training, the employee has the potential to make improvements. The supervisor submits a request for the employee to receive a reduced step increase based on their current performance, allowing for a slower progression within the GS pay scale until the employee demonstrates the expected level of performance.

FAQs: General Schedule (GS) Withheld Step Increase Reduction Request

1. What is the General Schedule (GS) Withheld Step Increase Reduction Request?

The General Schedule (GS) Withheld Step Increase Reduction Request is a formal process for employees in a GS pay system who have had their step increase or pay adjustment withheld due to performance or conduct issues. This process allows the affected employees to request a review and possibly a reduction in the withholding period or, in some cases, the immediate granting of the withheld step increase.

2. How can I request a reduction in my withheld step increase?

To request a reduction in your withheld step increase, you can submit a written request to your supervisor or manager explaining why you believe the withholding is unjust or how your performance has improved since it was initially withheld. The request should be supported by relevant evidence, such as recent performance evaluations or feedback from your supervisor.

3. What factors are considered when assessing a reduction request?

When assessing a reduction request, the following factors are typically considered: the employee’s overall job performance, behavioral improvements, compliance with established work policies, any relevant disciplinary actions, and the overall impact of granting the reduction on the organization’s mission and goals.

4. How long does the reduction request process take?

The timeline for reviewing and responding to a reduction request may vary depending on the organization and its internal processes. However, you should generally expect a response within a few weeks once the request has been submitted and acknowledged. Keep in mind that more complex cases may take longer to evaluate.

5. Can I appeal the decision if my reduction request is denied?

If your reduction request is denied, you may have the option to file a formal appeal with your agency’s human resources department, following their established appeals process. Be aware that each agency may have its own guidelines and requirements for filing appeals, so it’s important to familiarize yourself with your specific agency’s policies.

Related VA Benefit Terms

  • General Schedule (GS) Pay Scale
  • Step Increase
  • Grade-level Promotion
  • Within-Grade Increase (WGI) Denial
  • Performance-Based Actions

Sources for More Information