Federal agencies were directed to implement President Biden’s $15 an hour minimum wage for government workers on Friday.
The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) issued a memo to heads of executive departments and agencies, which provides guidance for adjusting pay rates for employees to at least $15 per hour.
OPM called it a “general policy” of the Biden-Harris administration that federal employees receive a $15 minimum wage. The rule is set to take full effect on Jan. 30, the Labor Department announced in November.
The higher wage will impact 70,000 workers from mainly the Defense Department, Department of Agriculture and Department of Veterans Affairs, according to OPM.
The memo also noted that OPM established a working group to develop recommendations on the $15 minimum wage rule and found that “the vast majority” of the 2.2 million federal workers already earn a pay rate of at least $15 per hour.
The rule follows an executive order signed by Biden in April to increase the minimum wage for federal contractors from $10.95 an hour, impacting all workers involved in covered federal contracts and applies to all 50 states and Washington, D.C.
Biden, in a statement in April, said that the rule to raise the minimum wage “enhances worker productivity and generates higher-quality work by boosting workers’ health, morale, and effort; reducing absenteeism and turnover; and lowering supervisory and training costs.”
Democrats and organized labor have pushed for a similar minimum wage increase for all American workers, but no such action has been able to move in Congress. The national minimum wage is $7.25 an hour.
–Updated at 8:51 a.m.