3.2% Federal Pay Raise Bill Appears in Senate
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A Democratic senator on Wednesday formally introduced a bill that would provide an average 3.2% pay raise to civilian federal employees in 2022, mirroring legislation already under consideration in the House.
The Federal Adjustment of Income Rates Act by Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, would provide federal workers with a 2.2% across-the-board pay increase next year, along with an average 1% increase in locality pay. Companion legislation was introduced by Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., in the House in January.
In 2021, federal employees received a 1% across-the-board pay raise after Congress declined to override former President Trump’s alternative pay plan. That increase did not include a change in locality pay rates.
“Federal workers play a critical role in our everyday lives—caring for our veterans, fighting the pandemic through medical research and cutting our Social Security checks,” Schatz said. “These hardworking public servants deserve a raise. Our bill gives federal employees a 3.2% pay increase to help make up for the paychecks they've lost because of furloughs and pay freezes over the past few years.”
Federal employee unions were quick to endorse the bill, as they did when Connolly introduced the legislation in the House. In a statement, National Federation of Federal Employees National President Randy Erwin said the measure was long overdue, noting that some experts estimate that feds make around 23% less than their private sector counterparts.
“Federal employees have endured much over the last few years, from paltry annual pay increases to additional financial challenges because of the COVID pandemic,” Erwin said. “Federal families are hurting just as much as the rest of America, and when a million or more federal workers do not get a pay increase to offset rising costs, communities all over the country feel it too.”
American Federation of Government Employees National President Everett Kelley said providing a much needed raise to federal workers would go a long way toward President Biden’s vow to ensure that employees at federal agencies feel valued.
“During the last year, federal employees have continued to work on the front lines of a global pandemic that has taken the lives of over 500,000 fellow Americans, selflessly serving our veterans and active duty military, protecting our skies and borders, providing relief to victims of natural disasters and ensuring the safety of our food, air and water,” Kelley said. “In addition to restoring living standards and helping to retain and recruit high-quality federal workers, the FAIR Act will show these front-line heroes how much they are valued and respected for their work, the hardships they have endured and the steadfast loyalty they have demonstrated to the American public.”
President Biden is expected to announce his own plan for federal employee compensation as part of his first budget request to Congress this spring.