The pay raise announced by the Obama administration on Jan. 6 would be the first following a two-year freeze to pay scales, which began in 2011. (Saul Loeb / AFP via Getty Images)
The Obama administration will propose a 0.5 percent pay raise for federal employees as part of the 2013 budget expected in a few weeks.
A senior official from the Office of Management and Budget on Jan. 6 confirmed to Federal Times that the pay raise is in the works. The Washington Post first reported the planned pay raise on its website.
The raise would be the first following a two-year freeze to pay scales, which began in 2011. Aside from years in which pay scales were frozen, a 0.5 percent raise would be the smallest in the General Schedule's history.
Several prominent Republicans are pushing for no pay raise at all in 2013. They think federal employees are overpaid compared with private-sector workers, and say the government cannot afford pay raises when it is facing massive budget deficits.
Unions applauded the thaw in the pay freeze, even though the planned raise would be small.
"Although we would have preferred a larger increase as prescribed by law, it is nonetheless a welcome development that the magnitude of federal employees' sacrifice in recent years is being acknowledged," said William Dougan, national president of the National Federation of Federal Employees.