$15 Minimum Wage for Federal Workers Officially Begins

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The White House Office of Personnel Management issued a directive Friday to raise minimum wage to $15 for many civilian government employees. The change went into effect on Sunday, Jan. 30. The executive order, announced in November 2021, is designed to attract and retain good workers and provide economic security to federal employees.


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Perhaps more significantly, the increase sets the bar for minimum pay standards across industries. “Increasing pay rates to at least $15 per hour will keep the federal government competitive in the marketplace and is another way that we can serve as a model employer, setting a high bar for other sectors to follow,” Kiran Ahuja, director of the Office of Personnel Management, said in a statement.

The wage increase applies to 67,000 of 2.2 million government employees, according to the statement. The bulk of the employees who will see the increase work at the Department of Defense. The remainder primarily work within the Department of Agriculture or Veterans Affairs. The pay increase applies to all executive branch agencies apart from the U.S. Postal Service and Postal Regulatory Commission.

In addition to DoD employees, those who will receive the rate hike beginning with their next paycheck, effective as of Jan. 30, include:

  • Wildland firefighters
  • Plant protection technicians who inspect farms and other properties
  • Custodial workers in VA medical centers and other government buildings
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“Raising pay rates across the federal government to a minimum of $15 per hour reflects our appreciation for the federal workforce and our values as a nation,” Ahuja said in the statement. “As the largest employer in the country, how the federal government treats its workforce has real impact.”

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