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The Defense Department has announced it will delay implementing new pay regulations for 650,000 civilian employees until Feb. 1, according to an official Web site dedicated to the new regulations.

Known as the National Security Personnel System, the new regulations would replace the current system of paying civilian employees based on years of service with a multitiered pay banding based on job responsibilities.

While the new system would allow more pay raises and bonuses for high-performing workers, it also would let supervisors withhold or even decrease salary for poor performance.

Acting Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England has said the new system is designed to reward workers who excel at their jobs.

But the proposed new regulations raised the ire of federal employee unions, which filed a lawsuit earlier this month to block the pay system from being implemented, claiming it will allow vindictive supervisors to withhold raises for personal reasons.

After discussions between government agencies and the labor unions, the Defense Department agreed Thursday to postpone implementing parts of the new system until February and asked the court to hold a hearing on the matter in early January, the Web site says.

The Defense Department will continue to work with the unions on “implementing issuances” such as pay banding, performance management and job classification that will not be effective before Feb. 1, the Web site says.

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