Leahy, Sanders And Welch Welcome Pay Increases For Federal Employees in Vermont
(FRIDAY, March 29, 2019) – On Thursday the Office of Personnel Management announced an across-the-board 1.4 percent pay raise for federal employees, effectively ending President Trump’s cruelly timed executive order freezing federal workers’ pay. Last December, in the midst of a 35-day partial government shutdown that left 800,000 federal employees furloughed or working without pay, Trump unilaterally cancelled a 2.1 percent across-the-board pay raise that was set to take effect in January. The spending bill which passed in February included provisions for the pay increase, but the Trump administration did not implement the raise until now. As vice chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Patrick Leahy (D) acted on behalf of the entire Vermont congressional delegation in making this a high priority during negotiations on that bill.
“While the pay increase is less than what Congress had previously approved, and is certainly less than what the nearly 5,000 hardworking federal employees here in Vermont deserve, we are very pleased that there is at least some forward progress ending Trump’s misguided pay freeze,” said Senator Patrick Leahy, Senator Bernie Sanders (I) and Representative Peter Welch (D) in a joint statement.
OPM also announced yesterday the long-awaited establishment of a “Locality Pay Area” for northwestern Vermont. This designation recognizes the high cost of living in the area and the need for federal pay to keep pace with prevailing wages so federal agencies can attract and retain high quality federal employees. Together with the across-the-board pay raise, the Locality Pay designation means federal employees in Chittenden, Franklin and Grand Isle counties will receive a total 2.11 percent pay increase, retroactive to January 6.
“We have been strongly advocating for Locality Pay for northwestern Vermont for years now, and we are very pleased the administration has finally agreed to implement the policy. It is long overdue,” the delegation said. “We will continue to fight for a similar Locality Pay designation and appropriate pay for the many federal workers in the White River Junction area.”
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