Workforce

Obama gives feds a pay hike

President Barack Obama 

President Barack Obama submitted a revised alternative payment plan to Congress that would include raises for civil service employees.

Obama's Dec. 8 letter called for a 2.1 percent pay increase, a bump from the 1.6 percent raise the president had most recently authorized in August.

"Civilian federal employees made significant sacrifices as a result of the three-year pay freeze that ended in Jan. 2014," Obama wrote. "Since the pay freeze ended, annual adjustments for civilian federal employees have also been lower than private sector pay increases and statutory formulas for adjustments to the general schedule for 2014 through 2016."

The average federal pay raise in fiscal year 2016 was 1.3 percent.

The pay increase matches Congress's recent approval of a 2.1 percent pay increase for federal defense employees included in the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, which will take effect the first pay period of 2017.

"In light of the decision of Congress to provide a 2.1 percent pay increase for military personnel in 2017 and reconsideration of current and projected economic conditions, I have concluded it would be appropriate to revise my original alternative plan for locality payments so that the total combined cost of the 1.0 percent across-the-board base pay increase and varying locality payments will be 2.1 percent of basic payroll," the letter reads.

"These decisions will not materially affect our ability to attract and retain a well-qualified Federal workforce," Obama added.

J. David Cox, president of the American Federation of Government Employees, the nation's largest federal employee union, praised the president’s action.

"Federal employees certainly deserve this modest boost in their pay, following years of pay freezes and miniscule increases that have left them worse off today than they were at the start of the decade," he said in a statement.

Cox also applauded a group of lawmakers  who sought the pay raise in a Dec. 7 letter to Obama.

About the Author

Chase Gunter is a staff writer covering civilian agencies, workforce issues, health IT, open data and innovation.

Prior to joining FCW, Gunter reported for the C-Ville Weekly in Charlottesville, Va., and served as a college sports beat writer for the South Boston (Va.) News and Record. He started at FCW as an editorial fellow before joining the team full-time as a reporter.

Gunter is a graduate of the University of Virginia, where his emphases were English, history and media studies.

Click here for previous articles by Gunter, or connect with him on Twitter: @WChaseGunter

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