As America’s economy begins to slowly rebound, it looks as though federal employees may be in line for a pay raise if President Obama’s current budget proposal is passed by Congress.
According to The Washington Post, the president’s proposal would result in a 1.6% pay raise for federal employees, although it would not be effective until Jan. 2017.
A budget document notes that the potential 1.6% raise would mark the eighth straight year that federal raises would fall below the employment-cost index, which compares private-sector wage growth to that of federal employees.
If the proposal is passed in its current state, the result would be “a relative decrease in civilian pay compared to the private sector of about 9% since 2009,” the document explains.
The average raise that a private sector employee can expect is 3%, but given the cost of inflation, it typically amounts to just 1% in additional spending power. The government has been particularly stingy about raising the wages of federal workers for quite some time, which has led them to fall behind the pace set by private sector employers.
Following a three-year halt on raising federal salaries, the government issued raises of 1% in 2014 and 2015, with a raise of 1.3% being paid in 2016. Despite this positive momentum, President Obama’s proposed pay hike is still much lower than what federal employees have requested.
According to FedSmith.com, the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) recently announced that Congressman Gerry Connolly (VA) has introduced legislation that would give federal employees a raise of 5.3% in 2017.
Connolly’s legislature, which is known as the Federal Adjustment of Income Rates Act (FAIR), is being seen as an attempt to “highball” the President’s budget proposal so the two sides can meet somewhere in the middle.
However, AFGE national president J. David Cox maintains that federal employees deserve a 5.3% raise, if only to keep up with the increased cost of living in America.
“AFGE has led the call for a 5.3% pay raise and I’m incredibly grateful for the strong support our proposal has received,” said Cox. “Federal employees have gone far too long without a decent wage increase, resulting in a 6.5% drop in their standard of living since the start of the decade.”
In addition to a raise for federal employees, President Obama’s budget proposal also includes several changes to the parental leave system. Federal employees are currently eligible for 12 weeks of unpaid leave under certain circumstances, but the president’s proposal suggests allowing for six weeks of paid parental leave instead.
There is still almost a year to go before any of these new proposals are voted on, so it’s safe to say that these recommendations will be tweaked and altered throughout the coming months.