H.R. 1541: Common Sense in Compensation Act

H.R. 1541

Common Sense in Compensation Act

July 31, 2013 (113th Congress, 1st Session)

Staff Contact

Floor Situation

On Wednesday, July 31, 2013 the House will consider H.R. 1541, the Common Sense in Compensation Act, under a suspension of the rules.  The bill was introduced on April 12, 2013 by Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) and referred to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which ordered the bill reported by voice vote.  

Bill Summary

H.R. 1541 establishes limitations on “discretionary monetary payments”, or bonuses, paid to federal employees during sequestration periods.[1]  First, it prohibits these payments from exceeding 5% of an employee’s salary. The limitation does not apply to bonuses required by collective bargaining agreements.  Renewals of existing collective bargaining agreements are subject to the 5 percent limitation. .  Second, during sequestration periods, only up to 33 percent of each agency’s Senior Executive Service (SES) employees may receive a performance-based award unless the agency in question is granted a waiver.  Notice requirements are mandated in such a case. 

[1] “Federal employees” are defined as those working for executive agencies.


In FY 2010, 75 percent of SES employees received bonuses with an average of $13,081 per person.  In FY 2011, The Federal Aviation Administration handed out bonuses at or above $40,000 to 86 employees.  This legislation is intended to curb the handing out of bonuses to high-level government employees while thousands face furlough-based pay cuts.[1]

[1] See Rep. Meadows floor speech: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w4tNYnFrBFw


No CBO estimate is currently available.

Additional Information

For questions or further information contact the GOP Conference at 5-5107.