Pay and Benefits Watch: The pay raise rumor mill

The federal pay raise for 2001 is expected to be 3.7 percent.

A spokeswoman for Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said the expected 3.7 percent raise is less than Hoyer would like. He will look for ways to boost the figure in the coming year, she said.

In 2000, federal employees were granted a 3.8 percent raise, plus an average increase of 1 percent in locality pay. Locality pay increases are determined by the Office of Personnel Management, the Labor Department and the Office of Management and Budget-collectively referred to as the President's Pay Agent. The Pay Agent generates the increases after factoring in a number of surveys conducted by the Labor Department.

Federal pay increases have been a point of controversy ever since the Clinton administration started ignoring the 1990 Federal Employees Pay Comparability Act, which was supposed to close the gap between federal and private sector salaries over a decade. The Clinton administration has questioned the validity of the act's formula for raises. Meanwhile, federal employee unions have challenged changes to the locality pay formula caused by the Labor Department's restructuring of its surveys.

In related news, the Office of Personnel Management is getting ready to release a set of civil service reform legislative proposals. OPM has briefed several professional associations on the upcoming proposals, which would likely include an increase in overtime pay.

For those deeply interested in pay issues, on Feb. 22 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., OPM's Office of Compensation Administration staff will meet with an interagency advisory group on compensation policy in the OPM auditorium at 1900 E Street in Washington, to review and discuss governmentwide compensation policies and programs.

OPM's legislative proposals are expected within a few weeks; President Clinton's pay raise announcement for 2001 will be part of his 2001 budget proposal on Feb. 7.

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