Federal Eye: Federal employees earn 2% pay raise

Congressional appropriators agreed Tuesday night to give civilian federal employees a 2 percent pay increase — which includes a locality pay increase President Obama didn’t want.

Government workers will get a 1.5 percent nationwide increase in base pay and a 0.5 percent average increase in locality pay. The final agreement goes against the wishes of Obama, who called for a flat 2 percent jump and no locality increase.

Locality pay helps address the gaps between federal pay and private sector wages in high-cost areas of the country. The Federal Salary Council estimates the current private-public gap is about 26 percent, on average. Locality increases mean a federal worker in Cincinnati might get a smaller increase than a worker in Washington, D.C., because of local costs of living.

“I am pleased the final bill will provide for locality pay to reflect variable costs for federal employees working in various job markets,” Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said in a statement Tuesday night. “This provision is critical to bringing federal pay in line with the private sector and enabling the federal government to compete for high quality talent.” Hoyer’s Congressional district is home to thousands of federal employees.

The pay increase will take effect once the House and Senate pass the FY’10 omnibus appropriations bill. Lawmakers hope to pass a host of key bills before year’s end.

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