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Federal employee pay freeze ends

Federal employees will get a one percent pay raise in 2014, ending a four year pay freeze. The pay raise is consistent with current budget proposals but had to be finalized by executive order so that agencies could prepare to enact the raises by the first of the year.

The raises took a long time to negotiate as a part of the overall budget deal, but many labor advocates agree that federal workers are entitled to regular wage increases. Unions have spoken out in favor of the increase, saying that federal workers need relief from the tough economic conditions they have had to endure through the federal budget crisis. The pay raise is still not sufficient to keep up with inflation, since the annual rate this year was 1.2 percent and for 2012 it was 2.1 percent.

As we have discussed in the past, fair pay is a major issue in Maryland, D.C., and nationwide. It may seem like a given that employers always pay their workers fairly and that everyone earns a living wage, but the reality for many workers is that they must assert their rights to fair and equal pay.

Employers are not required to provide regular raises for employees. However, employers must pay employees for all of the time that they work and they must pay them equally with similarly qualified coworkers, regardless of age, race, religion, gender, disability status, ethnicity, or national origin. There are no allegations of unfair pay practices or discrimination in the case of the federal pay freeze.

Source: Chicago Tribune, “Obama signs order for federal worker pay raises in 2014.” Ros Krasny, Dec. 23, 2013. 

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