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Office of Personnel Management Raises Fed Minimum Wage to $15/Hour

January 21, 2022 by Dan McCue
Office of Personnel Management Raises Fed Minimum Wage to $15/Hour
The Office of Personnel Management. (Photo by Dan McCue)

WASHINGTON — Fulfilling a directive President Joe Biden issued on his first day in office, the Office of Personnel Management on Friday formally raised the minimum wage for federal employees to $15 an hour.

The change means a raise for approximately 67,000 federal employees, commencing on Jan. 30, 2022.

Departments and agencies unable to adjust their payrolls by that date will have to make their pending pay rate adjustments retroactive to that pay period, according to a directive issued by the OPM.

Because 80% of the federal workforce lives and works outside of Washington, D.C., employees set to receive a raise are located in every state in the union.


President Biden signed his executive order setting the pay raise in motion on Jan. 22, 2021.


In response, the OPM established an interagency working group comprised of agencies that had employees paid less than $15 per hour to look at the issue of hourly pay and develop recommendations as to how best to implement the directive.

In a report to the president, the working group said it found the vast majority of the 2.2 million federal civilian employees already earned at least $15 per hour.

The report then set out a roadmap on how to bring those not currently earning $15 per hour up to that threshold by maximizing the use of flexibilities such as the special salary and special wage rate authorities in Title 5, United States Code. 

The OPM said the establishment of General Schedule and Federal Wage System special rates would be the most effective and appropriate method for achieving a $15 per hour minimum pay rate for these employees and recommended that special rates authorities be utilized for this purpose.


Toward that end, the OPM has already established GS special rates and will soon approve FWS special rates based on the determination that low pay rates are resulting in or will likely result in significant difficulties in recruiting and retaining qualified employees in these positions. 

Dan can be reached at [email protected] and at https://twitter.com/DanMcCue.

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