Here's Some Good News For Federal Employees Earning Minimum Wage

President Joe Biden’s administration announced it is raising the minimum wage for U.S. federal workers to $15 per hour, according to guidance issued by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).

The OPM guidance follows Biden signing an executive order in 2021 instructing the agency to issue recommendations for a $15 minimum wage. OPM noted in its report “that the vast majority of the 2.2 million federal civilian employees are already earning a pay rate of at least $15 per hour,” but still “developed a roadmap” for agencies.

Biden’s executive order, signed in April, centered around increasing the minimum wage for federal contractors from $10.95 an hour to $15.00. The president described the move as one that “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.”

OPM’s guidance, published Friday, orders all executive branch agencies and departments to increase pay for U.S.-based employees to a minimum of $15 per hour by January 30, 2022.

While many federal employees already earn more than the new minimum wage, the policy will affect thousands across the country, according to OPM. Around 56,000 Department of Defense (DOD) employees, 130 woodland firefighters, nearly 4,000 custodial workers, and more will see a change in pay because of the order.

In total, almost 70,000 federal employees will be affected by the new guidance. OPM Director Kiran Ahuja praised the move, noting that the federal government’s decisions will impact other workforces.

“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.

There are also twenty-five states that plan to increase their minimum wage by the end of 2022, according to data from the National Employment Law Project.

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