Obama gives pay raise to federal workers

President Obama on Friday ordered a 1-percent across-the-board pay raise for federal employees in an executive order issued shortly before departing on his vacation to Hawaii.

The wage increase will become effective on Jan. 11, according to a memo by the Office of Personnel and Management. It is federal workers’ second pay increase during the president’s time in office, matching a 1 percent raise granted last year.

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The president froze mandatory pay increases in his first term, as the country was grappling with the immediate aftermath of the recession. Congress extended that provision in 2013, but baked the modest wage increases into government funding legislation passed in the past two years.

But the legislation specifically excludes certain senior political officials — including Vice Presiden Biden, who will not see a salary increase in 2015.

And unions representing federal workers say the increases are inadequate in helping federal employees keep up with cost-of-living increases.

“One percent is not nearly enough to make up for the financial hardship wrought by years of frozen pay and substandard increases,” said American Federation of Government Employees president  J. David Cox in a statement. “Including the FY15 increase, employees have seen a paltry two-percent total increase in their paychecks over last five years. When accounting for inflation, most federal workers have actually taken a substantial pay cut.”