Get a Life

By Judith Welles

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Get a Life!: The pay raise dilemma

Civilian and military employees are on track to receive 3.5 percent salary increases in 2008. The full House and Senate Appropriations Committees have approved the 3.5 percent figure for both groups of employees. Such a raise would be 0.5 percentage point higher than that proposed and still supported by the White House. This would be a welcome change since the 2007 pay raise – 1.7 percent for the bulk of federal employees -- was the lowest in nearly 20 years Federal employees now make an average of 23 percent less in salaries than their counterparts in the private sector, according to the Federal Salary Council (FSC). Locality pay -- based on employment costs in 32 separate pay areas across the country and a catch-all area known as the ‘Rest of U.S.’-- is added to employees’ base pay for those with a GS or General Schedule rating. Federal workers in locations outside of the locality pay areas – and many are -- do not get the additional salary boost. The FSC, as it has done in the past, recommended that funds allocated for locality pay increases be distributed so that locations with the largest pay gaps receive the largest increases. Others have recommended that the locality pay areas be extended to include more federal workers in outlying locations. Still others suggest that everyone get the same percent of locality pay increase to level the playing field for recruitment. What do you think should be done?

Posted by Judith Welles on Oct 09, 2007 at 12:13 PM


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