No Federal Pay Raise in 2011 or 2012 as Obama Freezes Federal Employee Pay Rates


In an effort to address growing budget deficit concerns and political pressure, President Obama announced a proposal to freeze federal pay increases. This freeze would affect over two million federal government employees, and with inflation set to rise over the next few years the pay freeze essentially amounts to a pay cut for the next two years in real terms.

The freeze applies to all federal workers, including civilian Defense Department employees, but does not apply to military personnel, government contractors, postal workers, members of Congress, Congressional staffers, or federal court judges and workers. The 2011 pay freeze would take effect on Jan. 1, pending Congressional approval by the end of this year. 2012 pay freezes will be proposed as part of fiscal 2012 budget proposals to be unveiled early next year.

“Getting this deficit under control is going to require some broad sacrifices and that sacrifice must be shared by the employees of the federal government,” Obama said in a speech announcing the pay freeze. He added, “I did not reach this decision easily, this is not a line item on a federal ledger, these are people’s lives……Federal employees are hard-working and dedicated and essential to delivering services to the American people. Today [I am] clearly asking them to make a sacrifice.”

USA Today reported this month that the number of federal workers earning $150,000 or more has doubled since Obama took office, fueling public and political outrage over what federal workers are paid

“A federal pay freeze saves peanuts at best,” John Gage, president of the American Federation of Government Employees, said “The American people didn’t vote to stick it to a Veterans Administration nursing assistant making $28,000 a year or a border patrol agent earning $34,000 per year.”

The pay freeze will not impact bonuses for federal workers or when a federal worker is promoted to a new level of pay, meaning federal workers promoted in the next two years will receive a new level of pay, but not receive any additional annual raises. The decision is expected to save the government about $2 billion for the remainder of fiscal year 2011 and $28 billion over the next five years, the White House said. Federal civil service pay rose 2 percent in 2010 after rising 3.9 percent in 2009 and by 3.5 percent in 2008.

The long-term savings and budget reduction come from lowering the government’s base compensation over the next two years. The administration already has ordered a three-year freeze in non-defense and national security programs in Obama’s budget released Feb. 1, and ordered some agencies to reduce their 2012 budget requests by 5 percent.

The government is projected to spend $457 billion on personnel costs in the 2011 fiscal year, according to the Congressional Research Service. That’s up from $447 billion spent in 2010. Obama made the announcement Monday because Tuesday is the deadline to set federal locality pay, or variations the government makes in pay and benefits based on geographic location.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), whose district is home to thousands of federal workers, said he was pleased Obama instituted only a two-year freeze instead of the three years proposed by the Deficit Commission. But Obama also should have cut pay for some military personnel, Hoyer said in a statement. Obama has already frozen the salaries of top White House officials and top political appointees. But freezing the salaries of all civilian workers is a much bolder step that will result in a big economic hit to the Washington region, which is home to more than 600,000 federal workers and their families.

Republican lawmakers, who support the pay freeze, have already introduced several proposals to cut federal pay and benefits and curtail the size of the federal workforce, including cuts to the government payroll through attrition or firing federal workers who fail to pay taxes.

I will continue to provide updates and the latest federal pay tables as new information is made available. I encourage you to subscribe (free) via Email or RSS to get the latest information.

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53 Comments on "No Federal Pay Raise in 2011 or 2012 as Obama Freezes Federal Employee Pay Rates"

Saturday 12:10 pm

No pay raises for federal emplyoees? Well.. Big Deal! I think that this policy is perfectly justified taking account the Gigantic and still growing deficit. The fact is that Real wages of Americans are declining. The 1970 to 2010 trend is from 40k down to 30k (all men of working age, including those between jobs and part time). Source: Census, Hamilton Project, Brookings Institution. The government employees don’t have to deal with medical insurance premiums that increase 20% for each year. Infact: beeing eligible for the government covered ‘all you can eat’ healthcare benefits for entire family is fully equivalent to getting a 5% pay raise every year!!!

Monday 3:00 am
ae em, The argument that the real wages are declining is a very valid point, just not when trying to make your agrument. Back in the 1970’s the US had a much better manufacturing base, which paid better than minimum wage for lower skilled labor. An individual could get a factory job without a higher education. The NAFTA and CAFTA agreements took into account the theory of specialization which basically means that countries or businesses specialize in what they can make the cheapest due to the resources they have on hand. So if a country has a lot of oil, food stuffs, or cheap unskilled labor for pennies an hour then they take advantage of that; why would they pay an American factory worker close to $20/hour when they can pay a worker in China less than $20 to work a fourteen hour day? We lost a lot of manufacturing… Read more »
No 2013 Federal Government GS Pay Raises | Saving to Inve$t
Tuesday 5:31 pm

[…] and signed a six-month government spending measure (continuing resolution), that means an extended pay freeze for federal employees and members of Congress; who will not see a pay rise or salary bump until […]

Monday 7:36 pm

In thee oh LORD I put my trust, eventually every knee with have to bow, and all will have to depend on GOD, including our highest officials in the government.

Thursday 8:59 pm

This is totally bogus! My pay has been froze for 3 years now and yet prices keep going up and yet Congress keeps getting these big raises. Just think of the millions of dollars we would save if those buggers did without their raises for about 5 to 10 years.

Thursday 1:24 am

No pay increase TWO years in a row. While yes, as a government employee, I may go up a step once a year, it doesn’t make me that much more money. As a veteran, and helping to provide for my family, I take it as a slap in the face. I work hard, I DO NOT get ANY kind of bonus. We have children to raise.

When my husband retires from the military, I am going to have to be the bread-winner in the family for a while as he goes to school. All of us that work, we all pay our taxes. There has GOT to be a better way!!

Sunday 9:05 am

a step once a year! i’m a federal emplyee also. according to my gs pay schedule, i’ll get a within pay increas every year for the first three years in that grade. every two years for the next three steps. finally, every three years fo the last three steps.

Sunday 1:14 pm

Federal employees and retirees need to have a 25% pay cut done by executive order. I wonder why we have all this occupy movement on TV constantly even if six people show up when the Tea Party had limited media coverage and was in the thousands. I also wonder why don’t any of these occupy people go to the super rich areas and do their thing in front of overpaid movie starts or Oprah Winfrey’s house, who makes sure she isn’t a full time resident of California to avoid paying taxes in California, maybe GE who paid no taxes but supported Obama.

Monday 7:33 pm

Because nothing from nothing lead to nothing. If you get $1600 take home pay and your rent/mortgage is $950, food $500, gas to work $200, utilities $600, health care $250, car insurance and child care $500 if you are lucy and etc, etc. Do the math. It is worth if you are retired.

[…] earmarks and future bailouts, and passing a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution. CBG freezes federal civilian hiring and salaries until the budget is balanced (the government spent $1.3 […]

Madeleine Levine
Monday 12:22 pm

I am a retired senior and I am half dead. Try living on $14,000 per year. 60% of Americans have no private pensions; my pension Trust has been bankrupted. Doctors will not take Medicare patients. All we had was the safety nets we paid for and now we have become the target for cuts and hate. We pay $112 per month Medicare, $37 Part D and all co-pays and deductibles. I need a supplement but cannot afford one because my doctor no longer will care for Medicare patients because $500 billion was stolen frm Medicare Trust for National Health for people who never paid a dime into it.

[…] 5.4% next year. This is well above the level of inflation and with the prospect of continued pay freezes, higher costs will directly hit employees take-home pay. Employers have been trying to contain […]

Sunday 2:57 pm

The freeze should DEFINITELY include members of Congress.

Tuesday 3:41 pm

Pay freeze on federal employees but does not apply to members of Congress – that is a bunch of
bull- they should not be excluded. The new media puts out information that shows that congressional
members are not always as smart as us. Most think of party only not what is best for American
Citizens. Only thing they worry about is how many women they can make love to without their wives or the public knowing. They can commit crimes and get away with them. They are no better
than us – in fact they are not as good as us!!!!!!

G Moore
Sunday 2:42 am
To add insult to injury the 2012 proposed Federal Budget is asking for an additional three year pay freeze on top of the two year freeze. Here’s an idea- cap the freeze so that federal employees over a grade 12 or 11 and giving a pay increase to employees with lower grades. I am a grade 7 step 1 and a seasonal employee working about 10 months out of 12 per year. At this rate I can’ t even afford to commute to go to work. Better yet, stop illegals from filing fraudulent tax returns using their ITIN numbers to file and stop them from using stolen social security numbers so they are able to work? They file having a minimum of 5 dependents ( none of whom have a legal port of entry), zero tax liability and are entitled to every refundable child and other tax credits ( exception… Read more »
G Moore
Sunday 2:50 am

(continued from previous post)
Am I allowed to amend a filed return if I have a child this year and go back 3 years to receive the credits that I didn’t receive. Billions of dollars are lining the pockets of illegals. Certainly stopping this practice of ” government racketteering” would be a start in the right direction for a healthier economy. Let’s not forget the Treasury’s “excess collection”. I have first hand knowledge!

Marita Thomas
Tuesday 9:43 am

I’m a federal employee and a vet I served my country and I served it well. I resent having to pay for this goverments mishandling of financies, and once again federal employees took it on the chin (hard) knock some of us out. If congress had been doing their jobs we would not be having this conversation Bush adminstration and a rep congress did this. Bush said he had captial and he was going to spend it and the nations idoits cheered yes. Now we are to blame Obama, I blame Obama for not speaking straignt to the people, and caving in to that Bi-partisan crap. another word for coward. And it clear now and the people of this country better wake up The King of England is back and its in the form of the repbulican party.

Saturday 1:21 am

It wouldn’t make any sense to include Postal workers in the freeze. They don’t get government funding.

Monday 2:45 am

They may not get government funding, but the system that they run under is going bankrupt and is not sustainable.

Wednesday 3:56 pm
Maybe if we stop paying the people who dont work we may help the deficit. I understand jobs are hard to find but how many people live off the system and the ones who work pay for it all. I think all government employees including Congress should take a tax freeze and yes I work for the government. Maybe if they stopped paying people $5,000 who only paid $600 in taxes for a year that would save money. I love my kids but does everyone who has more than 5 five really have to receive so much money back from taxes. It is our choice to have children so why does everyone else have to pay for them. Overall maybe if the top dogs take a look at how much they get paid they would see where all our money goes. along with how much they pay people in taxes… Read more »
Monday 11:08 am

This is NOT REALLY A PAY FREEZE. About two-thirds of the 2.2 million federal workers affected will get pay increases each year anyway. Why?

Most federal employees will still receive automatic seniority-based pay increases, called “step-pay” increases, for satisfactory job performance (most every federal worker gets a passing grade).

Federal workers will also continue to get promotions in grade, overtime pay, as well as bonuses.

So a new GS-15 would have started this year at about $124,000. After a year on the job, that government worker’s step-pay increase would lift that salary to about $128,000, even with the President’s pay freeze. And that’s before bonuses and overtime pay.

Wednesday 3:26 am
lessgovnow, What kind of example are you making? You are taking the highest GS in a high paying locality area! These 15s, which there are precious few slots around the world, actually start the pay scale at @ $113,000! Yes, this is a lot but not for a upper management position. Why not look at a GS-9 rest of th US locality and see that it starts off @ $48,000 a year. Then look at the actual job requirements…. you need a Masters degree or a combination of a leeser education and matching work experience or at least one year at the next lower grade. How much money do you think a person with a MBA makes out in the private sector? Look at the website which details the starting pay for MBAs coming out of the top 45 schools…. the lowest starting salaries are @ $67,000 and many… Read more »
Monday 2:49 pm

Excellent post. . .every time the private sector misinformation machine dumbs down the population with anti government propaganda it’s always reported out of context and never reported from the proper or equal perspective!

[…] andys2i With no rise in the Federal General Schedule (GS) pay rates, may federal and state workers on the GS salary […]

Wednesday 6:53 pm


Wednesday 11:25 am

You do realize that Postal workers, FDIC, NCUA, etc. are completely self-funded independent agencies that accept NO taxpayer money. Therefore, any raises or increases in their respective budgets would have NO impact on the federal deficit. I thought this was civics 101.

Sunday 3:21 pm
It was argued that terminating the Bush tax cuts would be bad because that money cycles out into the economy. I would use the same argument against the federal pay freeze. Federal workers throughout the country spend their salaries locally and help stimulate the economy in general. No difference! It’s a bad idea to initiate such a wide sweeping slash on our already frail economy. Then there’s the question of the exemptions. If anyone is responsible for this mess, it’s the congress and the president–those in office now and those who have been in office over the last fifty years. No one deserves a pay freeze more than them for their lousy economic policies and failure to properly govern. Then there’s the question of leadership. A leader is someone who’s out front showing the way. Let see them “lead” on this.
Friday 2:03 pm

All of you are wrong.Obama is really a small fish.He can`t do anything about the economy because he inherited a piece of crap economy anyway.Ever since the end of FDR`s New Deal our economy has been steadily declining.Obama might not be the smartest president because he is not a politician,he is an orator.He talks the talk,but cannot walk the walk.The american people elected a person who is an idealist and has no real understanding of economics.As for his extravagant expenses it just shows that we elected a president who is a wall ornament.He looks good on camera and gushes philosophical crap.But people cannot eat philosophy,they must eat bread.Unfortunately Obama like most other politicians feeds us philosophy,not bread.So here is the issue that the american people face:Do you want an idealistic president or a realistic one?.It is a simple choice people,you don`t need college degrees for this!.

Friday 6:04 am

During the election, people gobbled up all that “philosophy”. The problems wont stop until the voters get smarter and less gullible.

Fed Employee
Thursday 1:29 pm
First, the deficit has ballooned out of control, and we should remind ourselves of all those responsible for aiding in our current situation. As the two year cuts go, I believe I can budget to get by with the upcoming loss in personal spending power, because it’s all about sacrifice to fix this mess, right? So why have the President and Congress exempted themselves and some? I’m retired military, and very much approve the exclusion of our troops – they are sacrificing their lives through long deployments away from family to fight serious global threats and will be gainfully employed for many years to come, some on meager wages. But back to my thoughts on the DC club and the postal service (just jealous of their lobbying power) – If the Pres and his congress broadcasted that “we all must make this sacrifice” and joined in on the pay cut… Read more »
Thursday 11:57 am
I am a nurse with the Dept of Vet Affairs. I can tell you that the COLA that i receive does make a difference in my life. If i only clear and extra $30.00 a month that is more on my power bill, grocery bill or other living expenses. My health care is going up $18.00 a month in Janurary, my rent goes up in May. Why are postal workers and memebers of congress exempt from this? I would like to know the last time they are President Obama had to worry about how to pay the power bill, turned down the heat in their apt so that their power bill was not so high or trying to decide which bill to let go just a week til the paycheck arrives. Most of the people i know live from paycheck to paycheck. Just does not seem fair! Why kick someone… Read more »
Wednesday 2:44 pm

I certainly can empathize with the federal workers,since my husband and I live on 1600 dollars a month-social security disability. We are not rent subsidized,and live in the Seatlle area-not the cheapest place to live. We moved here to have the necessary medical facilities. My question is where was the “outrage” when we were told “the cost of living has not increased,so you don’t get a COLA”? At least they are being honest by saying it is to reduce the deficit instead of a bogus reason like we got. Where in this country are living costs the same as in 2009? Maybe only on capital Hill

Wednesday 1:08 am

It would be nice if the Crooks who run our country would stop their bitching about the Trillion dollar deficit when they contribute the most to it by wasting taxpayers harsd earned money ,giving themselves a pension plan no business can ever offer plus the best medical insurance for the rest of their lives even if they only serve 1 term. They do not need raises either because they have caused a lot of hardship on American families byu their voting to let corporastions shit on their employees by leaving the USA and making things cheaper and charging us more.

Tuesday 9:05 pm

I think they all should take a pay cut. I am an educated doctor and will have to work until 66 with no retirement. They cut off everyones unemployment that lost their jobs to China, and they get a raise…..something is wrong with this country. Taken over by greedy crooks.

Tuesday 8:38 pm

A spineless slap at government workers who will certainly, by this action, redouble their efforts to regulate the food you eat, collect taxes from offshore account holders, sweat in the desert to prevent illegals coming through etc. Obama, who held so much hope, can’t seem to stop the military-industrial complex from maxing out their no limit government credit cards. He can’t find the political will in Washington, where we have the best government money can buy, to tax the new billions banks are making. But he can take another punch at the middle class. I have never in my life voted for a Republican candidate and so will sit out the next election. Great going, Mr. President.

Tuesday 8:36 pm

Every member of our 535 member Congress should work for $1 per year since they make millions by providing favorable services to their corporate pimps, lobbyists, and special interest groupies. It was interesting to see Judge Stevens on 60 Minutes lament on the Supreme Court’s decision to allow unfettered political corporate contributions as it is now, as their ruling was a clear-cut proof of just how pervasive corruption is in our farce of a judicial democracy. I’d be surprised if a single remember of congress had a FICO score over 400 but, not surprised at the extent if their collective fiscal irresponsibility clearly motivated by the second scourge of Man: personal greed.

Tuesday 3:39 pm

Freezing pay for govt. workers should include Congress, the President, their staffs, etc. I am a Democrat but this is another affront to the middle-class, who, dare I say, have been struggling enough. The state governors and their staff should also freeze their wages. Is this a country where only the rich get ahead? It was never like this before. We always had a middle-class in America ( I am part of it! ) and I see it disappearing before my eyes. I am also a senior that has worked hard all of my life to enjoy some of the good things and now I can’t even get 1% interest on the money that I have saved. Pay freeze, my Aunt Fannie!

Gail, DC
Tuesday 1:25 pm

Stop Complaining people. The raise would have been only around 1% anyway and won’t really change the financial situation of most people.

A tiered freeze would have been better, but that would be discrimination against those who actually do the work.

Wednesday 3:45 am
Gail, That 1% a year for two years, the change in step amounts, plus the difference in future percentage based raises, compounded over the next 20 years will cost me at least $40,000. They say that they will save 2 billion a year with the two year freeze, yet we are still giving away money to other countries. When the point is brought up about how stupid it is to borrow money to give away to other countries we are told that it is such a small amount of the countries annual budget that it does not really matter. Well MY $40,000 is a much smaller part of the budget and I do not feel that it should be taken from me while they are still giving money away to other countries. I pay taxes and I am a citizen, take it away from the charitable give away fund FIRST!
Brent Mullen
Wednesday 8:05 am

Sir, Well I take that back. You donot seem to be all there. We have our military at risk everyday & Ask any serviseman that they deresve to be taken care of. You are for our crooked government being paid thousands & much more in bonuses,public appearances,ect. I have a friend that came from Viet N. , lost his leg,brother & insanity. Still to this day he wobbles around on 1 leg & lives on assistance of 800 month. You want-support goverment raise. I think we need to stick you in the middle of Bagdad,give you a gun that is not guarantted to work & tell you “go get them for our country” If I had a say ,I would deploy you today!!!!!!

Monday 3:29 am
Brent, I hear you. I am not sure if your post was directed at myself. If you notice my post was about monies given away to other countries and not to our wounded vets. I have recently been in Bagdad as well as the rest of Iraq and I am scheduled to go to Afghanistan soon. I support the troops… but not all federal employees sit in Washington eating donuts, some of us are right where our troops are suffering deployments and taking the risks of mortars and rockets. I don’t like the pay freeze but I realize that most Federal employees are sitting in an office in Washington or somewhere else in the states and are never awakened in the middle of the night by the shaking caused by a mortar or rocket shot at a base. I have. I take exception to the Congress, President, and Judges who… Read more »
Tuesday 10:29 am
This is addressed to Jebidiah. I agree with you on a lot of what you have posted with regard to pay raises for Congress, as well as ALL federal employees. I for one don’t understand why postal workers aren’t included in the pay freeze. I am a retired state employee and for years we had many mandatory shutdown days, furlough days and optional days off, all without pay. We survived, although we didn’t like it, we did our part. Now with regard to Nancy Pelosi, it’s time to stop blaming her for all the woes of the country. The private plane that everyone keeps ranting about was NOT her doing. It was enacted after 911. Since the Speaker of the House is in line t govern the country should something happen to the President and Vice President, the Speaker of the House is in line. Rather than rely on commercial… Read more »
Wednesday 3:47 am

I believe it was the Republicans back in the 80s… Reagan if I am not mistaken.

[…] – Dec 2010] – President Obama Proposes Federal Pay Freezes in 2011 and […]

Tuesday 1:32 am
Tuesday 12:10 am

More sick days, here I come. Federal works are going to work even slower and take more days off to protest this pay freeze. Good luck America

Tuesday 12:06 am
I agree with the freeze, but it should encompass all government employees (they work for the American People, right)except military. Congress,Senate, President, EVERYONE. Think how much more would be saved if six billion, over the next ten years, could be saved by just freezing civilian employees pay. Stop serving $160 steaks (I paid this for just a week of groceries and almost fainted). How shameful if this is true. Stop going on “Trips”. No matter how you look at it, peacekeeping, trade, etc. these junkets for the President, Congress, and Senate, government employees are (fancy) TRIPS and they cost the American People more than they produce results. How shameful is that. Videoconferencing is not a new innovation. Cut Congress and Senators pay when they retire. They make enough money during their time in office to retire in leisure. Increase taxes for the RICH. Don’t increase across the board because the… Read more »
Tuesday 12:06 am

I am just starting out as a Federal employee. Having just moved to DC, the cost of living is a lot greater than i expected. I am barely making it from check to check, with 95% of my pay going to the cost of living in DC i have no room to save, let alone pay to keep groceries. I am not the only Federal employee who is living like this. The majority of us are not in the 100,000 salary. Most people like me, are making less than 45,000. I think Obama should have put a freeze on those who can afford to cut back. Not those federal employees who are just making it..they guy who picks up my trash(federal employee) killed himself last week because he couldn’t make it on a 20,000 salary…there is middle and lower class among federal employees also.

Brent Mullen
Wednesday 8:32 am
My local garbage man makes $20.00 a hour & uses every trick in the book to not pick-up our garbage. He does get insurance,sickpay,401ect. Yes I am for a man willing to work at a livable income.Point being, I bet millions, maybe thousands would kill to be paid a salary like this. One more thing I read ” If Obamas HEALTH CARE is so GREAT then why is the Obama family,congress,senetors & family EXEMPT from this plan. We Americans are just being walked all over. If pres Obama is a man of ” INTEGRITY ‘ then why is he any better than all of us. Personally I never voted for him & it sure in hell has nothing to do with his color. I believe everyone needs to be treated equal. God never intended for someone to be better than others!!! Watch, I bet I get a response on this.… Read more »
Monday 9:59 pm

A lot of talk here, little knowledge. I am one of the better paid federal employees, and I can tell you, salaries for us is a minscule part of the budget problem. Look where the money goes. If you can’t reduce defense and medicare spending, everything else is insignificant. Cut it all, and nothing will change. Get real, and look at the numbers. Do you want lower taxes, or thousands of US troops in Europe? Medicare or lower capital gains taxes? Before you go off half@#$%ed, look where the money actually goes.

Monday 9:58 pm
Obama and all the congress people, all need to have there pay raises frozen for the next 10 years, then how many billion of dollars would we save. Lets go forward, all presidents and congress people who are not voted in or retired needs to be on a SS plan, let them pay for there own insurance under SS, just like we do. God how many trillion dollars would we save, if we kept them all on SS and not this dang free money when they retire and that includes there free insurance. Trufully Obama does not care if he is reelected or not, he will receive a pay check for the rest of his life, and free health Care Insurance. Unless we all stop them from getting all of this free, on our tax dollars. Obama is getting lots of expensive vacation trips, that him and Michele could not… Read more »
Monday 9:56 pm

I’ll bet this doesn’t curtail presidential vacation plans! I am also willing to bet that it won’t affect Congress either. And, even if it did they would get around it by padding their expenses!

The Federal Worker outside the Beltway is *NOT* at fault for the mess this regime has made of things. The federal Worker is muzzled and limited in what they can and can’t do to affect Government or Politics!

Now that this regime has dealt a death blow to the economy there are no Private sector jobs to bail to…Yep! ONE TERM PRESIDENT!

[…] million federal government employees, and with inflation set to rise over the next few years the pay freeze essentially amounts to a pay cut for the next two years in real […]


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