Schatz Introduces Legislation To Give Federal Workers In Hawai‘i, Across The Country A 7.4% Raise In 2025
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) and U.S. Representative Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) introduced the Federal Adjustment of Income Rates (FAIR) Act, a bill that would provide federal employees with a 7.4 percent pay increase in calendar year 2025. Schatz previously introduced similar legislation in the 115th, 116th, and 117th Congresses.
The federal government has a history of chronic underinvestment in its most valuable asset: the federal workforce. Federal employees have had to endure government shutdowns, pay freezes, hiring freezes, and lost pay as a result of sequestration-related furloughs. According to the Federal Salary Council, Federal employees on average earned 27.54 percent less in 2023 than their counterparts in the private sector. In addition, the 2023 Office of Personnel Management’s Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey governmentwide management report found that over the last three years, pay satisfaction declined from 67 percent to 57 percent. A lack of competitive pay hurts the recruitment, retention, and quality of the civil service.
The Biden Administration has worked to reverse these trends, providing federal employees a 4.6 percent pay raise in 2023 and a 5.2 percent raise in 2024. Nonetheless, federal employee pay increases have failed to keep pace with rising labor and living costs. The FAIR Act’s wage adjustment restores years of lost wage increases for federal employees by ensuring that federal employees, who serve in all 50 states on behalf of constituents in every congressional district, earn an average pay increase of 7.4 percent.
“Whether inspecting our food, conducting medical research, or caring for our veterans, federal workers play an important role in our everyday lives and deserve pay which reflects that,” said Senator Schatz. “After years of pay freezes, our bill gives these dedicated public servants a much-deserved raise.”
Schatz’s FAIR Act is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), John Fetterman (D-Pa.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), and Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawai‘i).
“Congressman Connolly and Senator Schatz propose a strong federal pay raise via the FAIR Act to counter a resilient labor market, steadily increasing private-sector pay, continued price increases, and the persistent gap between private-sector and federal pay for similar jobs. We’re grateful for their support for hardworking public servants, and ensuring federal pay rates approach levels needed to recruit and retain an effective federal workforce,” said William Shackelford, National President, National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE).
“Last year, federal employees again lost ground in the fight for a fair wage,” said Randy Erwin, National President, National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE). “Pay increases for 2024 were not enough to offset rising inflation and the widened federal-private pay deficit, which rose 5% and is now over 27%, according to the most recent report from the Federal Salary Council. Congress must understand that to attract and retain a skilled workforce that best serves the American people, we need to pay our civil servants competitive wages. The FAIR Act is a simple, yet effective tool to ensure all federal employees can earn a living wage and their communities receive the best essential services from the federal government. Thank you to Representative Connolly and Senator Schatz for their commitment to the civil service.”
“The Federal Adjustment of Income Rates Act of 2024 will provide federal employees a civilian pay raise this year that is truly reflective of the extraordinary services that they provide to the public each and every day,” said Matthew Biggs, President, International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE). “The FAIR Act also helps federal agencies recruit and retain the best and brightest by making federal pay more competitive with private sector pay. IFPTE applauds Congressman Connolly and Senator Schatz for their continued leadership on fairness in federal compensation.”
"NTEU strongly supports the FAIR Act by Rep. Connolly and other lawmakers who value the federal workforce and understand the need to raise employee salaries in 2025. Federal pay fell even further behind the private sector last year and the FAIR Act is an important step in addressing that gap. By making the federal government a more competitive option for skilled workers, federal agencies can recruit and retain the employees necessary to better serve the American people. The federal employees we represent live and work in every city and state across the country, and a fair pay raise will improve the economic security of their families and their communities,” said Doreen Greenwald, National President, National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU).
“Federal fire fighters protect our nation’s most valuable and sensitive assets, yet their pay averages just $16 an hour. This low wage is not sustainable for recruiting and retaining our best,” said Edward A. Kelly, General President, International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF). “These men and women deserve pay that recognizes the sacrifices and risks they undertake in the service to our country. A COLA of 7.4% is just one step we must take to ensure federal fire fighters a fair, living wage. I applaud Representatives Representative Gerald Connolly (D-VA) and Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) for their continued support of fire fighters and introducing the Fair Act.”
“Federal managers deserve to be treated with respect for their efforts and the work they have performed over many years. Every job they hold and perform daily is because of a congressional mandate. It is not too much to ask that, in return, feds be given the ability to maintain a living wage that provides for them and their families. We are grateful for Congressman Connolly’s continued leadership on behalf of the entire federal community with the introduction of the FAIR Act. He is a steadfast supporter of the workforce and FMA enthusiastically endorses the FAIR Act. We look forward to working with Congressman Connolly and his office to build support for this important bill,” said Craig Carter, National President, Federal Managers Association (FMA).
“AFGE wholeheartedly supports the FAIR Act and thanks Representative Connolly and Senator Schatz for its introduction,” said Everett Kelley, National President, American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE). “After more than two decades of lagging pay that has led to federal employees earning nearly 28% less than their private-sector counterparts, it is time to start making progress toward parity in federal pay. This bill takes a crucial first step in that direction.”
“Whether they’re responding to natural disasters, keeping the food supply safe, or helping our working families receive the benefits they need to survive, federal employees keep our communities strong. Their pay should reflect the essential nature of their work, and that is why AFSCME strongly endorses the Federal Adjustment of Income Rates Act. The 7.4% raise for 2025 will help retain more quality federal employees, while allowing agencies to recruit more passionate individuals to public service. We applaud Rep. Gerry Connolly and Sen. Brian Schatz for their leadership on this important bill,” said Lee Saunders, President, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME).
The full text of the FAIR Act is available here.