President Carter's new budget provides for a maximum weekly pay raise of about $23 beginning in October for the typical Washington-based civil servant. For federal white-collar workers away from this headquarters town, the raises would be about $18 a week (before taxes) on the average.
Although the Carter budget talks about a 6 percent raise, the earmarks $3.3 billion to pay for it, the president makes it clear that the 6 percent figure is tops under his new program of voluntary wage and price constraints in 1978 for government, business and labor.
The actual guidelines set down by the president would limit 1978 pay raises to an amount "below" the averages in each sector for the past two years. As reported here Saturday, that amount for federal workers and military personnel would be 5.9 per cent.
The amount the president will propose for the annual October "catch-up-with-industry" federal and military pay raise won't be decided, officials say, until sometime in August. Insiders say it is safe to speculate that the amount Carter will propose will be under the 6 percent he's budgeted for and could be as low as 5.4 percent.
The federal and military payroll is now running at $69.4 billion a year, and each 1 percent increase costs in excess of half a million dollars.
Locally, more than 300,000 white-collar civil servants and about 80,000 military personnel will benefit from whatever increase the president decides is due them in October. Officials estimate that the average white-collar federal employee here earns about $20,000 a year.
The budget for the 1979 fiscal year, which begins next October, must of course be approved by Congress. At this point, it is really a shopping list of what the president wants for various government operations and programs.
Personnel figures in the budget are based on estimates of employment as of next September, and the levels the president proposes for September, 1979. Under that budget the following agencies would increase: HEW, up 800 jobs; Housing and Urban Development, 1,400; Interior, 300; Justice, 1,700; Transportation, 300; Treasury, 2,800; Enviromental Protection Agency, 600; General Services Administration, 100; VA, 600; Civil Service Commission, 200; Nuclear Regulartory Commission, 100; Small Business Administration, 100 and the Tennessee Valley AUthority, up 400 jobs.
Departments and agencies that would lose jobs from September 30 of this year to September 30 of 1979 are: Defense, down 7,300 jobs; Department of Energy, down 400 jobs and the Agriculture Department, which would drop 800 jobs.
Other items proposed in the new budget would require the government to:
Push ahead with legislation that would eliminate three of the five longevity pay steps for the government's half million blue workers. The plan also would limit raises for blue collar workers to between 2 per cent and 3 per cent for the next few years.
The White House believes that most federal blue-collar workers are over-paid - by between 8 and 12 per cent - when compared with similar employees in private industry. Lopping off three longevity pay steps, each worth 4 per cent, administration planners say, would save federal agencies $45 million in pay costs next year. Put another way, it means that federal blue collar workers would not be getting raises worth $45 million.
Increase the number of permanent part-timers (who get prorated pay and benefits based on hours worked) through an experimental program in five test agencies. The program would encourage job restructuring by permitting part-timers to be hired ceilings. Instead, hours of work would be counted and costs to the agencies would be approximately the same for two part-timers as for one full-timer employee.
The part-time hiring program will get rolling sometime in July and be limited, for now, to the Veterans Administration, Export-Import Bank, General Services Administration, Federal Trade Commission and Environmental Protection Agency.
Authorize a two-year study of federal retirement systems including Social Security, the military and civil service pension programs. Idea is to find ways to avoid duplication and hold down costs. It is expected that the stuy will propose a link between the Civil Service retirement system and Social Security.