The pay review board had said the judiciary should get a 2.6% increase
Senior civil servants, top NHS managers and judges will get a lower than recommended pay rise of 1.5% next year, Gordon Brown has announced.
The prime minister said the economic crisis meant the 2009-10 rises had to be lower than suggested by the Senior Salaries Review Body (SSRB).
However, all military personnel were awarded the recommended 2.8% rise.
Senior public sector staff should lead by showing "restraint," Mr Brown told MPs, who will get a pay rise of 2.33%.
Doctors and dentists will also receive a pay rise of 1.5% for 2009-10, which is in line with the proposals of their pay review body, the Doctors' and Dentists' Remuneration Review Body (DDRB).
The news follows the announcement that MPs' salaries are to increase by 2.33% from 1 April, to an annual salary of about £64,766, and amid rows over their expenses.
Rules introduced last year fixed the pay increase at the average received over the previous year by 15 different groups of public sector workers.
BBC political correspondent Carole Walker said senior civil servants were "disappointed" with the news, and said comparisons with the MPs' rise would "increase resentment".
"This is just about people at the top of public life setting an example and joining in the wider job that we've got to do which is about making sure that every penny of public spending goes to where it's really needed," said Cabinet Office Minister Liam Byrne.
In Tuesday's announcement Mr Brown also revealed plans to "fundamentally reform" early retirement and severance terms for all civil servants.
"The current arrangements have been in place since 1987 and are inflexible and expensive," he said.
He said the new rules would require departments to cut costs, saving up to £500m over the next three years.
The move is part of a plan to reduce the real-terms cost of running government by 5% in each of the next three years.
On civil servants' pay, the SSRB had suggested that pay for senior staff should go up by 2.1%, but that was rejected in favour of 1.5%. Its recommendation that the bonus pot should be frozen was accepted.
The government also appears to be "unpicking" a three-year pay deal, our correspondent added.
Jonathan Baume, general secretary of union the First Division Association - for senior managers in public services - said the rise was disappointing and added up to "gratuitous gesture politics".
"The amount of money saved is very small but it will be a slap in the face for senior civil servants who are working extremely hard to support ministers."
Corin Taylor of the Institute of Directors said compared with the current state of the private sector, a 1.5% rise "actually seems quite good" and should have instead been frozen.
In the other part of its review, the SSRB said the judiciary should get 2.6%, and NHS managers 2.4%, but in both cases it was again cut to 1.5%.
The bonus pot for NHS managers will also be frozen.
The head of the Armed Forces welcomed the decision to award military personnel a 2.8% rise, saying it reflected the "burden" they carried for the nation
The Ministry of Defence said the rise, proposed by the independent Armed Forces' Pay Review Body (AFPRB), would give an Army private on operations a basic pay of between £16,681 and £25,887.
Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup, Chief of Defence Staff, said: "This pay rise is welcome and appropriate acknowledgement of the burden our people are carrying on behalf of the nation, and of their remarkable achievements in the face of great adversity."
The government and some public sector trade unions have been clashing over plans to reform public sector pay.
There has a series of strikes by workers angry at a 2% cap on public sector pay.