Exclusive: Biden administration raises minimum wage for federal employees to $15

Federal agencies are being asked to raise the minimum wage for government employees to $15 an hour, according to new guidance from the Office of Personnel Management first shared with Axios.

Why is this important: The guidelines will affect nearly 70,000 federal employees, most of whom work in the Departments of Agriculture, Defense and Veterans Affairs. OMP orders agencies to implement the new salary by January 30.

  • The largest share of employees, more than 56,000 people, are currently paid below $15 in DOD work.

Catch up fast: During his first week in office, President Biden signed an executive order directing the OPM – which serves as the lead human resources agency and personnel policy maker for the federal government – ​​to provide a report to the president with recommendations to promote a minimum wage of $15 an hour. for federal workers.

  • In the report, which was submitted to the White House, OPM officials said the majority of the 2.2 million federal employees already earn at least $15 an hour.

State of play: In the memorandum released today, the OPM outlines next steps and guidance to all agencies and executive departments to increase the minimum wage rate for all employees serving in the United States (including its territories and possessions) at $15 per hour “beginning on the first day of the first applicable pay period beginning on or after January 30, 2022.”

  • The new guidelines exclude the US Postal Service and the Postal Regulatory Commission since they are legally outside the OPM’s authority.
  • The guidelines also won’t affect employees who have an “extended work schedule”. OPM said that over the next six months it will work to address these employees’ compensation concerns.

By the numbers: Federal employees who will benefit from the Biden administration’s $15-per-hour minimum wage rate policy include:

  • About 130 wildland firefighters, 400 plant protection technicians, 3,800 wardens and 50,000 DOD employees at military bases across the country, per OPM.

What they say : “As the largest employer in the country, how the federal government treats its workforce has a real impact,” OMP Director Kiran Ahuja said.

  • “Raising pay rates across the federal government to a minimum of $15 an hour reflects our appreciation of the federal workforce and our values ​​as a nation.”

USDA Secretary, Tom Vilsack celebrated the tips, saying USDA employees “deserve to be fairly compensated for their talents and for all the important work they do for our country.”

  • “This pay increase is a significant milestone for the civilian men and women who support the military community and their families,” said Gilbert Cisneros, Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness.
  • Affected employees “include food service workers and VA housekeeping staff. They are essential frontline workers, critical to patient safety and improving outcomes for Veterans in the fight against the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough.

Between the lines: As the big resignation continues, Biden administration officials seek to fill thousands of expected government jobs in technology and cybersecurity.

Do not forget : The move comes as a record number of states and cities will increase their minimum wage rates in 2022, many of which will exceed $15, according to a report by the National Employment Law Project.


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