An estimated 70,000 federal workers are reportedly set to get a pay increase this week due to a new $15 minimum wage.
According to The Sun, the $15 minimum wage increase for federal workers has been in the works since President Biden signed an executive order for the pay raise in April 2021. The pay raise will go into effect on Sunday (January 30th). The increase for the workers is going from $10.95 to $15.
The media outlet also reveals that the Biden administration says the increase will keep federal workers competitive in the workforce. Currently, there are 2.2 million federal workers. The majority of them are already earning $15 per hour.
The Sun further explains that federal workers in the U.S. are part of the increase. The largest share of workers who will see the $15 an hour increase is for the Department of Defense. This notably includes 56,000 defense contracts. Some of the agencies impacted by the pay increase are nearly 2,000 employees in the Department of Agriculture. This includes around 130 wildland firefighters from New Hampshire to California, and around 140 plants protect technicians.
Meanwhile, at the Department of Treasury, more than 1,200 federal workers will get a pay increase. Over 9,700 at the Department of Veteran Affairs will also get the pay raise. Others included in the pay raise are workers in agencies within the Departments of Commerce; Justice; Energy; Education; and Homeland Security.
U.S. Office of Personnel Management Speaks Out About the Federal Workers’ $15 Minimum Wage
On Friday (January 21st), the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) issued a statement about the federal workers’ $15 minimum wage.
In the statement, Kiran Ahuja, Director of OPM, declared that Biden Administration believes that the federal workers should be treated with dignity and respect. “Raising pay rates across the federal government to a minimum of $15 per hour reflects our appreciation for the federal workforce and our values as a nation.”
Ahuja also revealed that he and OPM know that paying a living wage provides a myriad of benefits. From recruitment to renting to increased productivity and more. “It’s also the right thing to do. We should strive for every federal job to be a good job. And we want to ensure that every federal employee has a pathway to the middle class.”
Ahuja goes on to further explain that increasing pay rates to at least $15 per hour for federal workers will keep the federal government competitive in the marketplace. “[It] is another way that we can serve as a model employer. Selling a high bar for other sectors to follow.”
It was also noted that The Departments of Agriculture, Defense, and Veterans Affairs collectively employ most of the federal workers who are currently paid below $15 per hour.