For the sake of reducing the federal deficit, federal workers were denied a pay raise for three years, saving the federal government $114 billion. In 2014 and 2015, Congress provided a one percent raise to federal employees, and in 2016, a 1.6 percent raise was offered. As these increases in pay do not accurately reflect the demands, duties, and responsibilities placed on federal employees, Representative Gerry Connolly (D-VA) introduced the Federal Adjustment of Income Rate (FAIR) Act (H.R. 4585). This legislation would provide a 3.9 percent raise for federal employees and 1.4 percent increase to locality pay in 2017. Representative Connolly introduced similar legislation last year, calling for a 3.8 percent raise
Federal Managers Association (FMA) National President Patricia Niehaus expressed the Association’s support of the bill in a letter stating, “The minimal increases in pay received do not reflect the duties of these dedicated workers. It is time for the federal workforce to be recognized for their dedication to serving our country at home and abroad, and your legislation does that.” Federal employees’ take-home pay has also been affected by greater contributions from employees to their retirement, as well as furloughs due to sequestration and a government shutdown in October 2013. Niehaus further argued for the raise, noting an increase in pay would help the federal government combat the problem of low morale, and dwindling recruitment and retention throughout agencies and departments. She noted, “As the federal government continues to struggle with these issues, your bill is a step towards offering competitive salaries, attracting and keeping the brightest and best to the federal workforce.”
H.R. 4585 is cosponsored by thirty-six Members of the House. Upon the introduction of the bill, Representative Connolly commented, “No other group has been asked to sacrifice more than our federal workforce, who have endured years of pay freezes, increased retirement contributions, no locality pay, sequestration cuts, and a government shutdown.” He continued, “This bill is a down payment on trying to help restore some of the losses that have been incurred by our dedicated federal employees, and I hope demonstrates we value their public service.” Co-sponsor Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) agreed, stating, “Federal employees have been the perennial punching bag for many of our colleagues despite the high quality of their work under unprecedented circumstances. Years of cuts, which have even eaten into pensions, have left federal employees far behind their private sector counterparts.”
H.R. 4585 has been referred to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. For more information on H.R. 4585, please visit, http://congress.gov. To read the letter to Representative Connolly from FMA, please visit the Legislative Action Center of the FMA website: www.fedmanagers.org.