President Obama will seek a 1 percent across-the-board pay raise for federal employes in his fiscal 2015 budget reques, set for release March 4. (Pool / Getty Images)
President Obama will include a 1 percent across-the-board pay raise for federal employees in his fiscal 2015 budget request scheduled for release next week.
The proposed increase, equal to the amount approved by Congress for this year, “reflects the tight budget constraints we continue to face, while also recognizing the critical role these civilian employees play in our country,” an administration official said in a statement. “This modest pay increase will help the government remain competitive in attracting and retaining the nation’s best and brightest individuals for public service.”
Without elaboration, the official added that the budget request will include other measures “important to ensuring that federal employees are fairly compensated, and have the training and tools needed to succeed and better serve the American people.” Military service members would also get a 1 percent pay boost under the 2015 request, set to be made public March 4.
As the White House acknowledged, base federal pay had been frozen for three years from fiscal 2011 through last year, while many employees also lost money last year because of sequester-related furloughs and cuts in performance awards. Starting last year, newly hired federal workers must also make higher pension contributions than co-workers hired before January 2013.
While growth in federal discretionary spending remains tightly limited under bipartisan budget agreements, federal labor leaders voiced disappointment in separate statements that the administration won’t seek a larger increase.
“Federal employees deserve a meaningful pay raise, not a token increase that will be more than eaten up by rising living costs, including higher retirement and healthcare costs,” said J. David Cox, president of the American Federation of Government Employees.
“There is no question in my mind that inadequate raises will have consequences on recruitment and retention,” said Colleen Kelley, president of the National Treaury Emploees Union. “Sequestration funding levels are not allowing investments necessary to deliver services to the public and this is yet another example.
“That recommendation doesn’t even keep up with inflation, which stands at 1.6 percent over the past year,” said Gregory Junemann, president of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers. The union, he added, believes that the proposed raise “should be between 3 and 4 percent — a message that we will be taking to Capitol Hill this year.”