WASHINGTON, DC – The full House Appropriations Committee included, by a solid bipartisan vote of 42-16 (25 Democrats and 17 Republicans), a Federal Employee Pay Parity amendment in the Fiscal Year 2005 Transportation, Treasury, and Independent Agencies Appropriations Act today that was offered by Congressman Steny Hoyer (D-MD). A bipartisan group of lawmakers, including Hoyer, Representatives Frank Wolf (R-VA), Jim Moran (D-VA), and Tom Davis (R-VA), worked to secure passage of the amendment, which provides for a 3.5% pay adjustment for federal civilian employees, including blue collar employees, and gives them pay parity with military employees.
“Military personnel and federal civilian employees work side-by-side and for the same employer,” said Mr. Hoyer. “Our nation is able to deploy our air, sea and land fleets safely and swiftly thanks to the muscle and logistical support of both federal civilian employees and military employees. So it is appropriate to provide them with equal pay adjustments. In addition, a fair pay adjustment is needed to keep pace with private sector salaries so the federal government can compete for quality employees.”
“Federal civilian employees perform vital jobs for our country, including many who are on the front lines of the war against terrorism alongside those in uniform. Granting a 3.5 percent pay increase for civilian federal employees and military employees provides fairness and recognizes and rewards the important contributions of both groups,” said Mr. Wolf.
“Pay parity is critical to the retention and recruitment of first-rate federal employees. I'm pleased that Congress has continued the tradition of providing equal compensation for civilian and military employees,” said Mr. Moran
“Both the Armed Services and the Federal civilian workforce are integral to fulfilling the role of government for the American taxpayer; both must be compensated accordingly,” said Congressman Davis. “Congressmen Wolf, Moran, Hoyer, and myself feel parity in pay adjustments remains the vehicle to help achieve comparability between the public and private sectors on the issue of pay, and therefore an important tool in our recruitment and retention efforts. At the end of the day, the government’s number one resource is its people.”
The Hoyer-Wolf-Moran amendment reflects the overwhelming view of the House, which endorsed HR 581 in support of pay parity by a vote of 299 to 126 this March 31st. In that resolution, the House reaffirmed the nearly two-decade long tradition of pay parity, stating that “in fiscal year 2005, compensation for civilian employees of the United States should be adjusted at the same time, and in the same proportion, as are rates of compensation for members of the uniformed services.”
Under the Federal Employees Pay Comparability Act (FEPCA), signed into law in 1990, all federal GS employees in 2005 should receive a 2.5% across-the-board pay increase as well as locality pay increases that would average 13.06% nationwide in order to achieve comparability with private sector salaries. Budget deficits may preclude a pay adjustment at the rate dictated by FEPCA but a 3.5% pay increase is necessary to keep pace with the private sector. The Mercer Human Resource Consulting ‘2004/2005 US Compensation Planning Survey,’ which covers the pay practices for nearly 14 million workers, reports that U.S. employers are planning a 3.5% pay raise for their workers in 2005.