President announces two-year pay freeze for federal civilian employees

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

President Obama announced today a two-year freeze on pay for all federal civilian employees.  According to a press statement issued by the White House, the pay freeze for 2011 and 2012 will save $2 billion in 2011 and $28 billion over the next five years.  The pay freeze will cover civilian employees of all federal agencies, including the Department of Defense, but will not apply to military personnel.  The announcement noted the important services provided by federal employees and stated the reason for the move “is not to punish federal workers or to disrespect the work they do.”  Rather, the White House said it is one of a series of actions, requiring “some sacrifice from all of us," designed to cut government costs and reduce the deficit ($1.3 trillion in FY2010).  Federal pay has come under increasing scrutiny during the year as the economy has struggled to recover and the national civilian unemployment rate has hovered close to 10 percent.  Critics, citing studies that show average federal salaries higher than their private sector counterparts, have called for pay freezes and even pay cuts for federal civilian employees.  The Directors of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and OMB have argued that these studies do not fairly compare public and private sector jobs.  They point out that average salaries are often misleading because the federal workforce is more educated and experienced and tends to be concentrated in high-cost urban areas.  The president in February proposed a 1.4 percent civilian pay raise in his FY2011 budget.  Numerous attempts to freeze federal pay in Congress this year have failed, but so far only the Senate Appropriations Committee has supported the president's budget request.  Now that the president is calling for a pay freeze, Congress is less likely to support a pay raise this year.  And the situation for federal civilian employees may not be any better next year.  The changed political landscape on the Hill and continued sluggish economic recovery means that it is likely that the 112th Congress (convening in January) will consider more severe reductions to the FY2012 federal budget.

7 Responses to “President announces two-year pay freeze for federal civilian employees”

  • Federal Employee says:

    This is ridiculous. The federal government will spend $1.115 billion via USAID in Southern Sudan alone in FY2009, and another $1 billion in that country whose military is basically warlord rebel groups, amongst the billions spent in other non-strategically important countries, spend millions in DOD for US Marines to deliver school supplies in the Philippines and Africa, and choose to cut/freeze US employee’s salary and not invest in US schools and infrastructure.

  • Janet says:

    With the economy continuing to tank, all county employees where I am employed and most of NC have taken pay ‘decreases’ for the past 3 years. How about ALL federal employees (with the exception of miliary) take at least a freeze. Thank you

  • Mauricio says:

    For the lack of better words I say this proposal is garbage. I understand that we all need to pitch in to get us out of Debt, but let us look at the big picture; How come businesses are filing for bankruptcy, become debt free, and turn around and open the same business under a different name. This is happening all over the country. Just let someone else pay for it!

  • Kat Crockett says:

    This measure will have long term effects on the Federal sector employees planning on retirement in the next several years. Retirement computations are currently based on an average of the employee’s salary over a three year period. For those of us who carefully projected our annuities and planned accordingly, the numbers will now be reduced and this will be the gift that keeps on giving – not!

  • LEWIS BRILL says:

    With the price of gas,heating oils, health insurance etc. going up and the governbment spending freely and foolishly,why are Federal Employees asked to skip two years worth of pay raise in order to save money when we all know the individuals in Washington will find a way to spend this “saved” money

  • Mychale says:

    We want the FBI, DEA, Immigration, border patrol, and any other Fed Law Enforcement agency to protect us from the bad guys.. We want to send them to the Federal Prisons to the Fed Correctional Officer and risk thier lives to protect us, but we wanna take their pay… I dont understand

  • Henry says:

    If everyone must sacrifice, why not freeze aid to foreign countries first, before penalizing hard working Americans. I don’t believe in the Presidents saving numbers and think this move is a political ploy of some sort. Not a good move President Obama.

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