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Pay group reports Federal employee salaries lag by average of 31 percent

Washington Post: “Federal employee salaries on average lag behind those of the private sector by almost 31 percent, an advisory council said Tuesday, while splitting between union and non-union members on whether to recommend potential changes in the way it arrives at that figure. The average salary difference of 30.91 percent reported by the Federal Salary Council is somewhat smaller than the 31.86 percent it reported at a special meeting it held April. The figures of prior years were in the 34 to 35 percent range. Those figures, based on two Labor Department surveys covering some 250 occupations, stand in contrast to assessments of some conservative and libertarian organizations that have concluded that the advantage is about the same or even greater in favor of federal employees. The Congressional Budget Office last year essentially split the difference. It found an average advantage for federal workers of 3 percent, although within that average it said there is a wide range by educational level: from a 34 percent advantage for federal workers with a high school education or less to a 24 percent shortfall for those with a professional degree or doctorate.

Under a federal pay law, the “pay gap” as measured by the Salary Council is to be used in setting annual raises varying by locality for federal employees under the General Schedule, the pay system covering most white-collar employees below the executive levels. However, that law never has been followed due to the potential cost of paying such large raises and disagreements over how the figure is calculated..”

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