After we announced that President Obama honored the tradition of pay parity between civilian and military employees by giving federal employees a 2.1% raise in 2017, we had a few questions from our members. Here are the seven most common questions answered by the AFGE policy team:
1. Do retirees also receive this?
No, they get a cost of living adjustment based on the Consumer Price Index, which tracks the average prices of goods and services. Unfortunately, millions of federal retirees and other seniors who do not receive Social Security benefits are facing a huge increase in their Medicare Part B premiums, triggered by smaller-than-needed 0.3 COLA increase that will take effect in January. Click here to learn how AFGE is trying to turn that around.
2. How does this interact with locality pay increases?
The 2017 raise is divided into two parts: an across-the-board increase of 1%, and an average locality raise of 1.1%. Employees who work in locations where the wage gap between federal and non-federal employees is larger will receive a larger portion of the locality raise. To learn more about the 2017 locality pay rates across the country, click here.
3. Are any agencies or D.C. government excluded from this pay raise?
The 2.1% raise doesn’t apply to D.C. government employees.
4. Will there be the same amount of pay raise next year?
We don’t know the 2018 pay raise yet, but this 2.1% increase occurred because of the constant advocacy of AFGE members and staff, who, in February, called for a 5.3% catch-up pay. Members and staff kept up the pressure on lawmakers throughout the year, and ultimately convinced a group of lawmakers to pressure President Obama to honor pay parity.
5. Why hasn't there been a pay raise before now?
Since the three-year pay freeze lifted in 2013, there has been a raise each year since 2014.
6. Who decides when or which federal employees get a raise?
Federal employees’ pay rates are governed by the Federal Employees Pay Comparability Act (FEPCA). Under the law, most federal employees are supposed to be paid 95% of the market rate in their area. To accomplish that, FEPCA requires that the government conduct market surveys and provide employees with annual pay adjustments that have two components: one nationwide adjustment and one locality-based adjustment.
7. How does this raise compare to the private sector? How much do similar professions make for government positions?
Average earnings in the private sector rose 2.4% last year, and the gap between federal and non-federal salaries for the same jobs has remained at a national average of just over 34%.
Have additional questions regarding pay and benefits? Write us at Comments@afge.org
AFGE has been at the forefront of fighting for and winning fair compensation for federal employees. We fought to end the pay freezes. We fought for locality pay increases. We fought for a meaningful raise.
Want to join in the fight? Join AFGE and ask your co-workers to join AFGE today. By standing together, AFGE members have a stronger voice when defending your pay, retirement and job security.