Proposed Pay Increase for Federal Workers in 2013

By on January 6, 2012 in Current Events with 173 Comments

Updated 1/6/2012 1:50 PM CST

The Washington Post is reporting that the White House intends to propose a 0.5% pay increase for civilian federal employees as part of its 2013 budget proposal.

The increase would be the first pay raise federal workers have seen since the two year pay freeze was announced in late 2010.

For an employee making $75,000 per year, a 0.5% pay increase would amount to around $375, or $7 a week.

“A permanent pay freeze is not an acceptable policy,” said one administration official. “While modest, a 0.5% increase reflects the belt-tightening we must do in these difficult times.”

When the freeze was first proposed by the President, he said it was going to be the first cut of many. “The hard truth is that getting this deficit under control is going to require some broad sacrifice. And that sacrifice must be shared by the employees of the federal government.”

The proposed increase would require congressional approval in order to take effect, and such a proposal could face difficulty getting through Congress since Republicans in the House have proposed extending the current pay freeze through 2013.

Federal employee union leaders were generally unimpressed with the pay increase announcement.

NTEU President Colleen Kelley said in a statement, “The good news is that the pay freeze is ending, but I am disappointed at the size of the proposed 2013 increase.”

AFGE issued a scathing statement, saying, “After freezing federal employee’s salaries for two years, the Obama administration is proposing a minuscule half-percentage point increase in their wages next year… The fact is, this increase is well below the rate of inflation of 3.6%, and will be wiped out by higher costs for health care, groceries and other essential needs,” but went on to add, “We’re hopeful that this is a positive step that spells an end to the barrage of attacks on pay and benefits for working people and serves as an acknowledgment that attacking the jobs we have won’t create the new jobs we need.”

William R. Dougan, president of the National Federation of Federal Employees, called the proposal “a breath of fresh air for all those who serve their country every day.”

The pay increase is well below the 3.6 percent cost of living adjustment that went into effect this week for Social Security recipients and most federal retirees to keep pace with inflation. It is also below the 1.6% pay raise the military got in 2012.


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Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of He enjoys writing about current topics that affect the federal workforce. Ian also has a background in web development and does the technical work for the web site and its sibling sites.

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  1. notsobigspender says:

    HeHe….that sounds about right, .5%.  I made the right call when I bet that if I stayed working, I would end not making much more than if I left when I did. Staying another 4-5 years would make NO difference in my high 3 (or 5).  On top of only getting .5% (for the 3rd of 4 or 5 years I contemplated staying), the other factor that affected me leaving is having my pay frozen BEFORE the freeze every came about!

  2. Mcvickie says:

    If this keeps up, federal employees will be accessing federal money through welfare. It is a false economy being made by small minds.

  3. Inefficient Mess says:

    Seriously, not to be ungrateful, but the amount of paperwork it will take to change everyone’s salary is more work & lost productivity than it’s worth. 

  4. Nsb1 says:

    What I would like to know isIF the congress and senate are taking the same cuts as we are.
    They have different and better retirements, insurance and all other benefits.  I think the buck should start with them and then Iwould feel better sacrificing.

  5. Dennis987654321 says:

    What a slap in the face, its discusting.  Hard working federal employees are treated like second class citizens.  I bet you there is no shortage of extravagant parties in Washington DC on the back of the tax payers.  SHAME ON YOU!

  6. gov guy says:

    Keep the pay raise… With raising out insurance costs and addtional contributions to our retirement the raise means nothing. When we deploy to a war zone you tax every dollar I earn unlike to the contractors and military. We eat sleep and take convoys just like the military but are not allowed to carry a weapon to defend ourselves all for the pleasure of being told we are greedy and over paid. I lost a close friend last year in Afghanistan. As a government worker I don’t think he was overpaid.
    I understand the pay freeze but to insult all government workers after they get the pay freeze and benefits cut is unacceptable. We may not be republicans or democrats in washington they have take untold amounts of bribe money or accepted gifts from political friends. We have a rules against that with the expectation of being fired. The shame is on the politicians that can’t or won’t do their jobs and blame the government worker. All the high rollers are in Washington that make are draining the america. They just want the rest of americans to focus their sights on government workers and not them. No politician deserves to be in office at this rate and they are the ones to blame.
    I’ll be leaving government service because its just not worth it.

  7. Maureendorrian says:

    you got to be kidding. 0.5 per cent increase. that is such a joke.  Guess what Obama. Keep your dam payraise.  Your not going to be here in 2013 so why even propose it.  could it be a election year!!!!

    Stop the entitlements for 5 years  see what that leaves in the bank to pay bills. 

  8. Desi says:

    Sooooo how much of an increase did the Congress have to suffer with.  If the “broad sacrifice….that must be shared by the employees of the federal government.” Does not that include the members of the United States Congress.  History has shown, over and over again, that decision are easily made by those to whom the decisions have no consequence.  When are we going to demand a change in the law to make our congress and legislature bend to the same laws we (federal employees and general United States Citizens) have to abide by and adhere to???!!!  I draw more parallel between the British Monarchy and the United States Administrative Branch lately than I’m comfortable with. 

  9. Totally Fed up says:

    Personally… I agree with Fed up Fed.  $450 a year before taxes does me no good either.  Every month or so one can see the cost of living rising.  $450 a year before taxes is a slap in the face!!!!!!!!!  My standard of living has not increased in several years.  My bills are pretty much the same, however my savings is continously decreasing when it sould be increasing.  I work as much overtime as I can get and/or handle and cannot stay ahead of the game our gov’t is playing. I realize that I am merely one person, however I WILL NOT nor ever cast a single vote for any politician currently in office.  There’s too much corruption in the gov’t and we all just sit by and tolerate it.  If everyone would do that we would eventually find something that works.  If this country’s founding forefathers knew what this country has become, they would turn over in their graves.  A gov’t like this is what sparked the seperation with Great Britain to start with. 

    If this country continues down (and by down I mean literally) the current path it is on… how will the generations to come live?  It’s already more enticing to not work or hold a low paying job in order to receive all the gov’t freebies.  If I had dependant children, I would be better of financially to quit my job, draw every benefit I could (foodstamps, free housing, free medical, free childcare, free schooling, and work for cash. You can even get assistance with energy bills most of the year until they run out of money. You add the potential benifits up, it is a considerable amount of money.  If you had 2 children the benifits would add up to 35-45k a year in salary.  How many lower income folks make that much?  See, they would be better off not working!!!!

  10. Honeybee60 says:

    This is an insult!

  11. Terri says:

    I would be interested in knowing how much of a decrease the President and Congress took, while our pay was frozen.   Further, in what areas did they make up for anything not paid in salary.  
    My special act (cash) award was taken away, how about theirs  ?
    But our SES received a cash award of $7500  
    WOW, I wish I had a freeze like that.    
    My health insurance rates went up, how about theirs  ?  

  12. old fed says:

    I am surprised he did not propose a 5% pay raise, then negotiate down to .5%.  That would enable them to save another 90 billion over 10 years.

  13. btcdc says:

    Thanks for the extra income. I think anyone would be pleased to have a little something extra in thier check, other than anouther deduction. We all could help tighten the belt with the small increase if they would say “Since FEDs are not getting raises then the price of insurance, milk, gas would freeze as well” or at least only go up no more than 0.5% of our pay.

  14. Retired IRS says:

    I recall that for FY 85, President Reagan proposed a 5% civilian federal employees pay cut. A Republican President may propose a pay cut in the future. These are not good time or federal workers.

  15. grannybunny says:

    Hey, it’s better than nothing — which is what many Postal employees are getting — and better than getting pay or job cuts, which is what some partisan political hacks are advocating.

  16. James Britton says:

    Really? Seriously? I appreciate the effort, I can’t speak for everyone else, but that small bit of an increase you can keep and use towards the deficit reduction. It would be interesting to see just how much them politicians are giving themselves. I was born at night but not last night, I know they have done something under the table.

  17. lazycs says:

    It would be far far better to end Supplemental SS and have us pay an additional 5% towards retirement than this pay freeze

    • James70094 says:

      Just end the pension portion. Then I can be refunded the money I contributed with interest. I’ll simply add more to the TSP and be all set. Especially when the economy turns around and I bail out for a higher paying private sector job.

  18. Retired IRS says:

    There needs to be a correction on a piece of misinformation. Many bloggers are writing that President Obama froze federal pay for two years.  In the Fall of 2010, the President recommended a two year pay freeze. The Congress then passed a law containing language freezing federal pay for two years.  The President did not freeze federal pay, it took an act of Congress. The two year pay freeze was supported overwhelmingly by Republicans and Democrats in Congress and by the American People.
    I laugh at the sense of entitled that federal employees have regarding entitlement to pay raises. Many of you live in a dream world,, get use to the new fiscal realities.

    • John Al Trinidad says:

      Dream world? Maybe you are the one living in the dream world.

      Inflation happens every year. All prices go up. Wages are supposed to keep up with it, regardless if you are a private or public employee. The a**-backwards mentality is why the average person gets less and less money with every decade that passes by.

      You shouldn’t be asking why federal employees should give up their annual raises, you should be asking your employer WHY YOU DON’T HAVE IT.

      Just look at the minimum wage right now. It has fallen so far back that you actually need 2 just to barely make it. That’s unacceptable.

  19. USDA Specialist says:

    1. How did our not getting a parity raise (2% instead of 3.6%) in 2010 help the country?  Are we flush with case now Hussein Obama?
    2.How did our not getting a raise last year that was prescribed by law impact the Treasury Hussein Obama?  Are we flush with cash yet?
    3. Yeah, I suspect we will be completely recovered end of this year… so is that why you ignore Federal pay law and shove a half a percent raise at us in 2013?

    Love the warm and fuzzy feeling of hope and change

  20. guest says:

    Why did the U.S. Central Loan Admin. outsource to India in November ’11 ?