President Barack Obama has exercised his authority and offered a 1.6% pay raise to federal employees that will be effective on January 1, 2017. He wrote a letter to the Congressional leaders regarding this. The federal employee unions are not happy with the pay raise as they expected a higher rate than what has been approved by Obama.
The Letter Regarding Pay Raise to Federal Employees
In the letter to the congressional leaders, Obama mentioned a few vital things. He announced that across the pay increases would be 1 percent. He also stated that the decision regarding alternative pay plan for locality payments under 5 U.S.C. 5304a will be made by him until November 30, 2016. He confirmed that varying locality pay increases will be about 1.6 percent of the basic payroll of an employee and that is consistent with the assumptions made in 2017 budget.
Obama added that these decisions would not largely affect the governments’ ability to hire and retain talent. He also made it clear that all the uniformed service members will get a monthly basic pay increase that comes to 1.6 percent.
It is pertinent to add here that the raise is just .3 percent more than the last fiscal year, i.e., 1.3 percent. In another development, the OPM has asked the chief human capital officers of all the agencies to submit requests for raises in special areas and job positions that are hard to fill. The request was made earlier this month.
Several members of the congress, employee unions and organizations have claimed that the pay raise is below their expectations. They have been protesting against it since President Obama shared the initial budget request.
The National Treasury Employees Union said that the pay raise is too low especially after the impact the pay has had in the last few years. The organization also pointed out the low pay raise affects the agencies’ ability to hire and retain skilled federal employees. The American Federation of Government Employees also stated that that President Obama has acted while the Congress has not on this matter. They also added that they wanted 5.3 percent pay raise to make up for the years of neglect. They stated that a good pay raise was vital to ensure that the ever-widening pay gap between private and public sector employees is reduced.