President Biden has proposed a 5.2 percent pay raise for Federal employees in his budget plan released today for fiscal year (FY) 2024. If enacted, the increase would total the largest annual pay raise for Feds in 43 years.

The average pay increase of 5.2 percent for civilian and military personnel would come in as the largest since 1980, when the Carter administration issued a 9.1 percent average pay increase.

For 2023, Congress approved a 4.6 percent pay increase for Federal employees.

However, the proposed pay increase falls short of the 8.7 percent pay raise that Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., and Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii proposed in the latest version of their Federal Adjustment of Income Rates (FAIR) Act.

The two lawmakers said their proposed 8.7 percent wage increase would “restore years of lost wage increases for Federal employees.”

The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) – the largest union for Federal employees – said President Biden’s 5.2 percent pay raise is a “significant step in the right direction,” but urged the passage of the FAIR Act’s 8.7 percent adjustment.

“AFGE applauds President Biden’s reported inclusion of a proposed 5.2 percent pay adjustment for Federal employees in his proposed 2024 budget,” AFGE National President Everett Kelley said. “Not only would this be the largest increase since 1980, it would also be a significant step in the right direction for efforts to recruit and retain the next generation of Federal workers.”

“While we applaud the President’s proposal, it is not enough,” Kelley added. “More must be done to make serious progress in closing the double-digit pay gap between Federal employees and their private-sector counterparts. Congress should pass the FAIR Act’s 8.7 percent adjustment.”

Federal employees’ salaries lag behind the private sector by 22 percent, according to last year’s estimate from the Federal Salary Council. The Federal Salary Council comprises three presidential appointees and representatives from five Federal employee unions, including AFGE.

National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE) National President William Shackelford made note of the pay gap with the private sector, but also recognized the significance of the proposed 5.2 percent pay raise.

“If enacted, a 5.2 percent average pay increase would be the largest since 1980, building on the progress toward parity with the private sector,” Shackelford said. “The amount would also track with the expected military pay increase for the third consecutive year.”

“Keeping up with private-sector pay growth is essential to maintaining the Federal government’s ability to recruit and retain a highly qualified and effective workforce,” he continued. “While pay rates for public servants will still trail private-sector rates, a proposed average raise of 5.2 percent would ensure they will not fall further behind.”

In addition to the proposed 5.2 percent pay increase, President Biden’s FY 2024 budget proposal also maintains the administration’s support for the Federal workforce through its advancement of a legislative proposal to block any future proposal to create a Schedule F for Federal employees, which the White House said “would threaten the proper functioning of the Federal Government by unduly subjecting career employees to politicization and favoritism.”

Read More About
More Topics
Grace Dille
Grace Dille
Grace Dille is MeriTalk's Assistant Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.