In the General Schedule, the pay system for most white-collar federal workers below the executive levels, employees receive additional raises as they advance up the steps of their pay grade. With acceptable performance, those raises — worth about 3 percent of salary — are paid annually as employees advance up to step 4, then every other year up to step 7, then every three years up to step 10, when they stop. Agencies may pay them sooner for top performance.
When federal pay rates were frozen during 2011-2013, employees continued to receive both regular and accelerated within-grade raises. Whether that would hold true if there is a freeze in 2019 is still to be decided.