Vast Majority of Readers Believe in "Pay Parity" With Military Personnel

By on March 25, 2004 in Pay & Benefits with 0 Comments

The vast majority of readers support the concept of “pay parity” with military personnel.

86% of readers responding to a recent poll support pay parity. 12% do not think civilian employees should have pay parity and 2% are undecided.

The comments from readers fall into two distinct categories.

Those who do not favor pay parity argue that the military is fighting and putting themselves in serious danger while civilians are usually in the United States in a safe, secure job. These are the thoughts of a logistics management specialist from Ft. Monmouth, NJ that reflect this line of thought:

“It doesn’t make sense to me. How many of us civilians are in harm’s way during the course of a normal workday? When ALL civilian employees’ job standards include a provision to work in the war zone, then we can demand pay parity.”

A human resources specialist from Texas echoed this theme: “During war times, that’s when we realize that maybe military personnel should be paid more than civilian employees. They are, after all, the ones risking their lives.”

On the other hand, a number of readers argued that they are not really in secure positions even while in an accounting office in New Orleans. An accounting technician from the Department of Agriculture in New Orleans wrote: “I know some will say that the military stands in harms way…..and they do…..but so do ALL Federal Employees because any crazy with a bomb will make his/her statements against the Federal Government by just blowing up any Federal Building with the intentions of killing or wounding any Federal Employee!”

Elsewhere in New Orleans though a personnel specialist disagreed with this thought process. “I’m sitting in this safe office writing this e-mail while some GI is walking thru some neighborhood in Iraq, where he or she could be blown up or shot dead in the next minute or so. I’m making 3 times the pay of that soldier and am able to hug my wife and kids, while he or she don’t (sic) know whether he/she will ever see or touch their family again. My job vs their job is a joke.”

A number of readers apparently don’t think they are paid enough compared to the military in any event.

An analyst with DoD in Boston writes: “The Federal employee has always been considered a 2nd class citizen. The govt holds federal employees to a much higher standard. The military includes many add (sic) pay features that the federal employee doesn’t have. The military has better salaries and retirement benefits.”

A housing specialist with the Navy in Groton, CT argued: “I think what many people loose (sic) sight of is that many if not most military members get a lot of non taxable wages that are not part of their normal wages. Because of this they actually make very good money.”

A reader who describes himself as a “paper pusher” with the Social Security Administration in Baltimore writes: “It’s mixing apples and oranges to argue that military personnel are being killed in Iraq and Afghanistan and taken away from their friends and families for months at a time. For that small portion of the military in those circumstances can get a seperation from family bonus, hazardous duty pay, combat bonuses, combat zone tax relief, assignment incentives, et cetera. While those add-ons may need adjustment, that is no reason to give all uniformed personnel more money. Then when you throw in a housing allowanace, cut rate buying at commecaries,(sic) and full retirement after 20 (?) years, being a uniformed fed is pretty, pretty lucrative.” 

A contracting officer with the Dept. of Veterans Affairs added this comment: “With the military pay increase comes increases in tax free allowances for subsistence and housing. In addition, they are compensated for being in harm’s way and for extended periods of time away from family. Enlisted members also receive all their pay tax free when in a designated hostile area. All federal employees are asking for is to get the same raise – not these other considerations that military personnel get.”

Finally, several readers expressed the general concern of this Navy employee from Pensacola, Florida who believes he is seriously underpaid: “If pay parity isn’t made a reality, then the government will see more of it’s employees on food stamps and other programs.”

Thanks to all readers who took the time to vote in this poll and to send in their comments. Feel free to add your comments at the bottom of this page.

© 2016 Ralph R. Smith. All rights reserved. This article may not be reproduced without express written consent from Ralph R. Smith.


About the Author

Ralph Smith has several decades of experience working with federal human resources issues. He has written extensively on a full range of human resources topics in books and newsletters and is a co-founder of two companies and several newsletters on federal human resources.