Civilian Federal Employees MUST receive a VERY MUCH deserved raise!!!
“Pay Parity” with the Uniform Services was a norm during the 1980’s and much of the 1990’s!! Many Civilian Federal Employees and Members of the Uniform Services perform IDENTICAL WORK (I am a Retired Federal Employee with 24 years of Government Service). I was a GS-2210-Information Technology Management Specialist. 16 of those years was with the Health Resources and Services Administration of the DHHS. Many of my Office of Information Technology (OIT) co-workers and many other employees within the agency were Members of the Uniform Services (they were Members of the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps). Those that were OIT co-workers often performed identical type (or very similar) work to what I performed. Members of the Uniform Services receive additional Hazard Pay if/when they are deployed. Furthermore, Members of the Uniform Services receive a Housing Allowance to help cover their rent/mortgage expenses (something Civilian Federal Employees DO NOT receive)!!
Yes, some Federal Employees are over paid; however, far more are under paid!!
You CANNOT compare the Federal Government with the Private Sector! The Federal Government DOES NOT do retail (No Walmart, No Target). The Federal Government DOES NOT do Hotels, Restaurants and Entertainment (No Marriott, No Holiday Inn, No Movie Theater, No Broadway, No McDonald's, No TGI Friday’s, No The Cheesecake Factory). As such, the age and education is much greater for the average Federal Employee when compared with the average Private Sector Employee.
The General Schedule (the Pay System that covers most White Collar Federal Employees) is very out dated! It was not until the mid 1990’s that a Locality Pay component was added!! Until that time Federal Employees in San Francisco and New York City received the same pay as Federal Employees in such cities as Cleveland, Kansas City, and Indianapolis!!!
A very large number of Federal Employees DO NOT have their own Locality Area. As such, all of these employees are lumped into a Rest of United States (RUS) Pay Area. Employees in such areas as Rochester, New York; Bismarck, North Dakota; and Fresno, California receive the same pay (many others do too)!! This makes no sense at all due to the major difference of these smaller cities and towns)!
Although we now have Locality Pay, the law has never been fully followed. This is due to a feature in the law that allows the President and/or Congress submit/approve an alternative!!!
A NEW LAW/ PAY SYSTEM is greatly needed!!! It MUST take into account the Federal Employee’s OCCUPATION, LOCATION, PERFORMANCE, and LONGEVITY (a general Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) Component MUST also be included)!!! Additionally, since Civilian Federal Employees and Members of the Uniform Services often work so closely together Pay Parity is EXTREMELY important (This being said, revising the Uniform Services’ Pay System may also be needed)!!!
In the short term (this current Fiscal Year), Civilian Federal Employees MUST receive a VERY MUCH NEEDED and VERY MUCH DESERVED raise (Many of these employees have been through a lot during the past year, not to even mention the past month in itself)!!! We MUST also maintain the policy of Civilian Federal Employee and Uniform Services Pay Parity!!!
Other things to keep in mind. The Retirement Pay of Federal Employees is based on their income while working. Employees who are still on the payroll from Pre-Locality Pay days have not caught up in terms of their Retirement Pay. The situation is much worse for those in high cost areas such as San Francisco, New York City, Washington, D.C., Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Etc.
Although they are calling for a raise of 2.6%, not all employees will receive that amount. The 2.6% will be broken up into a National Component and an average Locality Pay Component. Most likely 2.0% will go to ALL General Schedule Federal Employees, and Locality Pay will be in a range of about 0.29% to about 0.91% based on a complicated formula and many factors (but it will average out to about 0.6% of payroll). There are currently 44 Metropolitan Area Locality Pay Areas, Alaska, Hawaii, and a Rest of United States Pay Area (for a total of 47 Locality Pay Areas). If an employee was to move from one part of the country to another (even if it was the same agency, same duties, etc. their pay could change!! Example: GS-12, Step 4: Washington, D.C. $89,703; San Francisco $97,440; Pittsburgh, PA $82,798; New York City $92,438; Miami, FL $85,799; Cleveland, OH $84,008; Boston, MA $89,185; Cincinnati, OH $83,861; Hawaii $82,854; Rest of United States $80,713 (Say for example a IRS GS 12 Step 4 Customer Service Representative in Cincinnati, OH transferred to the Fresno, CA Office (Fresno DOES NOT have it’s own Locality Pay Area, as such, it is in the Rest of United States Locality Pay Area). As such, that employee’s pay will go DOWN from $83,861 to $80,713)!! Yes, Fresno does have a lower cost of living than Cincinnati; but, does it really make sense to compare it to such areas as Rochester, NY and Bismarck, ND (which are also in the Rest of United States Locality Pay Area). Hence, there is a VERY GREAT need to revise the Civilian Federal Employee White Collar Pay System. Any Pay System MUST take into account the Employee’s Occupation, Education, Experience/Longevity, Location/Locality, and Performance. An annual Cost-Of-Living Adjustment is also very important! Furthermore, due to the fact that Civilian Federal Employees and Members of the Uniform Services often work very closely, and in many cases perform similar, if not identical work maintaining Pay Parity is a MUST!! Additionally, this may raise the need to revise the Uniform Services Pay System, and more closely link the two systems!! This DOES NOT mean taking away special benefits that Members of the Uniform Services rightly deserve. I am just saying that linking this two systems may be a good idea due to the fact that Civilian Federal Employees and Members of the Uniform Services work very closely often performing similar or identical work in such agencies as DOD, DHHS, and the VA (Members of the Uniform Services receive Hazard Pay when they are deployed and they receive a Housing Allowance to help pay their rent or mortgage. Civilian Federal Employees DO NOT receive any type of Housing Allowance; however, they DO receive Hazard Pay if/when their duties take them into dangerous situations. To my knowledge, Members of the Uniform Services DO NOT receive Locality Pay (Which they should; hence, a need to revise their Pay System also)!!