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Padilla, Feinstein Urge Increase in Pay for California’s Federal Employees

Government and Politics

December 6, 2022


WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senators Alex Padilla and Dianne Feinstein (both D-Calif.) this week called on the Biden administration to support the Federal Salary Council’s recommendations to reduce the pay gap between federal and non-federal employees.

The letter to Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, OMB Director Shalanda Young and OPM Director Kiran Ahuja follows an August 2022 Federal Salary Council report that detailed the growing pay disparities between federal and non-federal employees.

“As you know, in August 2022, the Federal Salary Council estimated that federal employees in Fresno, California made 14% less than their non-federal employee counterparts, which is among the largest pay disparities in the nation.  We urge you to correct this pay disparity, and others across California and the nation, as it would help attract and retain the best and brightest talent for our federal workforce,” the senators wrote.

Writing in support of the council’s recommendations, the senators continued, “These adjustments would increase locality pay for federal employees in 10 California counties, which is critical to making federal employee pay competitive with the private sector and would enhance recruitment and retention.  Pay increases are especially important in California, which not only has a high cost of living but also a thriving private industry competing to attract talent.”

Full text of the letter is available below:

Dear Secretary Walsh, Director Young, and Director Ahuja:

We write to you in support of the Federal Salary Council’s recommendations to equalize pay between federal and non-federal employees, especially in California, where the pay disparity is particularly stark.  As you know, in August 2022, the Federal Salary Council estimated that federal employees in Fresno, California made 14% less than their non-federal employee counterparts, which is among the largest pay disparities in the nation.  We urge you to correct this pay disparity, and others across California and the nation, as it would help attract and retain the best and brightest talent for our federal workforce.

In its report, the Federal Salary Council recommended establishing a new locality pay area for Fresno, California, where the Council determined that the disparity in pay nearly doubled between 2019 and 2021.  The Council also recommended re-designating certain localities from being paid according to the “Rest of U.S.” scale to an existing locality pay area and recommended changing the criteria used to establish areas of application.  These adjustments would increase locality pay for federal employees in 10 California counties, which is critical to making federal employee pay competitive with the private sector and would enhance recruitment and retention.  Pay increases are especially important in California, which not only has a high cost of living but also a thriving private industry competing to attract talent.

We urge you to accept the Federal Salary Council’s recommendations.  Equalizing pay between federal and non-federal employees will improve the federal workforce’s wellbeing, help with recruitment, and increase the retention of federal employees who bring critical expertise to our government.  Thank you for your consideration, and please do not hesitate to reach out to us with any questions.

Sincerely,