Obama authorizes pay raise for federal employees in 2016

It’s official: Federal employees are getting a pay raise next year.

President Barack Obama on Friday signed an Executive Order authorizing a 1.3 percent pay raise. It comes after the passage of the $1.1 trillion spending bill.

The omnibus bill continues the pay freeze for the Vice President and senior political appointees.

The raise goes 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.

“Specifically, I have determined that for 2016, across-the-board pay increases will be 1.0 percent,” he wrote. “Also, I will make a decision by November 30, 2015, regarding an alternative plan for locality payments under 5 U.S.C. 5304a. The alternative plan for locality payments will be limited so that the total combined cost of the 1.0 percent across-the-board base pay increase and the varying locality pay increases will be 1.3 percent of basic payroll, consistent with the assumption in my 2016 Budget. These decisions will not materially affect our ability to attract and retain a well-qualified Federal workforce.”

He sent a second similar letter a few weeks later to congressional leaders saying he was authorizing a pay adjustment for uniformed service members.

“I have determined it is appropriate to exercise my authority under section 1009(e) of title 37, United States Code, to set the 2016 monthly basic pay increase at 1.3 percent,” Obama wrote in the second letter. “This decision is consistent with my fiscal year 2016 Budget and it will not materially affect the Federal Government’s ability to attract and retain well-qualified members for the uniformed services.”

Speaking to reporters on Dec. 16 in Washington, J. David Cox, the national president of the American Federation of Government Employees, said the future seemed a bit brighter for federal workers.

“We’ve gone from three years of a pay freeze to two years at 1 percent, thank god we are at least at 1 plus the locality, 1.3 percent or a little higher in some areas. They left our pensions alone. They left our health care alone,” he said.

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