As expected, President Obama issued an executive order Monday implementing a 1 percent across the board pay increase for federal employees under the General Schedule in 2014.
The salary boost is the first for the entire white-collar federal workforce since 2010. The order also implements a 1 percent pay raise for uniformed military service members.
In August, President Obama affirmed his intention to grant the 1 percent increase. But that didn’t mean it was a done deal. In 2012, Obama recommended a 0.5 percent pay raise for 2013, only to have it struck down by Congress.
Congress had the chance to do the same when it ended the government shutdown in October, but declined to do so. Likewise, lawmakers could have struck down the increase in the latest budget agreement, but again let the raise remain.
The raise will kick in on Jan. 1 and only apply to feds’ basic rates of pay. Locality pay will remain at 2013 levels.
In a statement issued in conjunction with the executive order, the Office of Management and Budget said: "This modest adjustment reflects the tight budget constraints we now face, while also recognizing the critical role these civilian employees play in our country – doing everything from assuring the safety of our food and airways, to securing our borders, to providing health care to veterans, to searching for cures to diseases. It also recognizes the sacrifices they have already made through pay freezes, reductions in benefits, and furloughs due to sequestration this year."
“This long-overdue modest pay raise for federal government employees is a good step in recognizing the value of federal workers,” said Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md. “They have been the targets of unending attacks. They’ve been furloughed, laid off and locked out through no fault of their own. I believe federal employees should never be scapegoats in fights over deficit reduction.”
Joseph A. Beaudoin, president of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association, said Obama’s order “provides much-needed relief for America’s hard-working, middle-class federal employees whose paychecks have been frozen while the cost of gas, groceries and housing has increased. As the pay gap between private- and public-sector workers has grown, ending the three-year pay freeze for public workers is an important investment in maintaining the strength of the federal workforce.”
While the raise will apply to nearly all federal employees, blue-collar workers on the Wage Grade pay scale will not receive any increase. Federal employee unions and Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-Pa., have championed their cause, with Cartwright introducing a bill that would give wage grade employees -- who receive hourly pay -- the same 1 percent pay raise as salaried General Schedule workers.
Clarification: This article has been updated to clarify that President Obama's order also implements a 1 percent pay increase for uniformed military service members.