Barring wage-price controls or a national emergency, the government's white-collar civilian, workers and all military personnel can look forward to a projected 6.5 per cent October pay raise that will cost around $3.2 billion.
More than 350,000 federal employees and Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine and Coast Guard aides here would benefit from the increase, which would be a major shot in the arm to the area's federal payroll, which already exceeds $554 million each month.
President Carter's revised budget that went to Congress yesterday sticks with the 6.5 per cent October civilian-military pay projection that was contained in former President Ford's last budget proposal to Congress.
Federal officials stress that the 6.5 per cent pay increase is a projection and not a definite commitment. President Carter has until sometime in August to decide the exact amount of the pay raise that will go into effect in October to bring federal wages up to comparable levels with private industry.
The wage survey - which is conducted by government employees - is just now getting under way. But the fact that both the Ford and Carter administrations set a 6.5 per cent "guess estimate" for the size of the pay raise is a good sign it will be in that neighborhood.
The last general white-collar federal pay raise in October, 1976, was for an average of 4.83 per cent. But it angered many employees - and unions - because it was a sliding scale boost with lower-level secretaries and clerical workers getting smaller percent-age boosts that middle and upper-level executives.
Government pay experts say the sliding scale raises of last year probably will not be duplicated in 1977, or perhaps for years to come.
In fact, they expect the Carter administration will be under heavy pressure from federal employee unions for a much more substantial increase of between 9 per cent and 11 per cent. Reasoning is that the unions will see the 6.5 per cent estimate in the budget as the base from which to begin their demands, which will include more money to make up for past years when Presidents Nixon and Ford cut back amounts recommended to them by both union and management groups in government.
Nationwide, the October pay raises will go to 1.4 million civil servants - in Grades 1 through 18 - and to Foreign Service staff, VA medical personnel and employees in agencies linked to federal pay scales, or to one-of-a-kind government units, like the D.C. government.
Main beneficiaries of the October pay raise will be the nearly 2 million military people. They get the same percentage increases at white-color civilian employees.
Insiders believe the only thing that could persuade President Carter from giving government workers less than the projected 6.5 per cent would be the imposition of wage and price controls (which he says he's against) or a domestic economic crisis that could force him to require government workers to bite the pay bullet.