Obama to propose 1.6 percent pay raise for federal, military personnel

Administration officials confirmed the raise would be included in the President's fiscal 2017 budget, which is due out on Feb. 9.

President Barack Obama’s 2017 budget will include a 1.6 percent pay increase for military and civilian federal personnel.

The proposal will be included in the federal budget, which is due out Feb. 9, an administration official said.

News of the proposal was met with cool reactions from unions that represent federal employees.

“President Obama has again set the bar far too low by proposing a 1.6 percent pay raise for federal employees in 2017, continuing a regrettable record of denying federal employees even the most basic cost-of-living adjustments,” said American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr in a statement. “For six consecutive years, federal employees received no locality increases to their pay, and for three of those years they received no pay raise at all. Since 2010, the inflation-adjusted value of federal wages and salaries has fallen by 6.5 percent, leaving all federal employees with a lower standard of living than they had at the start of the decade.”

In a statement from National Treasury Employees Union National President Tony Reardon, he said the proposed raise “is too low and does little to overcome several years of pay freezes and below-market increases.”

“Federal employees deliver for this country every day and their contributions must be recognized with adequate pay,” Reardon said. “A 1.6 pay raise won’t significantly narrow the growing gap between private sector and federal pay or help middle class federal employees adequately cope with rising costs. Without a fair pay increase, the federal-private pay gap will continue to grow and federal agencies will find it harder and harder to recruit and retain talented workers. Federal employees have contributed billions of dollars to deficit reduction. It is time to recognize the value these employees bring to our country.”

Reardon also said the administration told NTEU during a conference call that it would be backing legislation to give federal employees up to six weeks of paid parental leave.

Worry over the federal-private pay gap was also echoed by Jessica Klement, legislative director for the ‎National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association.

“The [Employment Cost Index]  for the last year was 2.1 percent, so while the proposed 1.6 percent follows statutory policy (ECI minus 0.5 percent), it still lags behind the private sector and will widen the ever-growing pay gap between the public and private sectors.”

The announcement comes roughly two months after the President signed an executive order for a  1.3 percent pay raise for federal and military workers. That raise went into effect Jan. 1. OPM released a memo outlining the salary tables.

The President sent a letter to congressional leaders in August authorizing across-the-board and locality pay adjustments. He sent a second similar letter a few weeks later to congressional leaders saying he was authorizing a pay adjustment for uniformed service members.

In November, Obama also backed locality pay increases for civilian federal employees in 2016.

The fiscal 2017 raise was first reported by the Washington Post.

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