On average, federal employee salaries fall behind those of private-sector workers by 31.86 percent according to a report from the Federal Salary Council (FSC) Tuesday. The figure, based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), is a slight decrease compared to its prior reporting of around a 34 percent federal-private sector pay gap. Tuesday’s meeting was the first since 2016.
As GovExec reports, comparisons between federal and private sector compensation are controversial:
Although Democrats and federal employee groups tend to cite FSC and BLS data, Republicans frequently point to calculations by the Congressional Budget Office, which uses a different methodology and found last year that feds made 17 percent more than those in the private sector from 2011 through 2015.
The president establishes the salary council to include three seats for experts in labor relations and pay policy and six seats for employee organizations representing large numbers of General Schedule employees. The council submits annual recommendations on the locality pay program including the establishment or modification of pay localities, the coverage of salary surveys used to set locality pay, the process for making pay comparisons, and the level of comparability payments that should be made. In the past, the salary council’s reports usually have little affect on annual pay raises for federal employees.