Message to the Congress Transmitting an Alternative Plan for Federal Civilian Pay Increases

August 31, 1981

To the Congress of the United States:

Under the Pay Comparability Act of 1970, an adjustment in Federal white collar pay will be required in October, 1981.

That Act requires that calculations be made annually of the adjustments that would be required in Federal statutory pay systems to achieve comparability with private sector pay for the same levels of work. My pay advisers have made those calculations and indicated that an average 15.1 percent increase would be required to achieve comparability as the concept and process were defined in the Pay Comparability Act of 1970.

While I fully support the comparability principle as the best basis for determining Federal pay, I believe that significant changes are required in the way that principle is currently defined and implemented. Therefore, last March we transmitted to the Congress proposed legislation to revise and strengthen the comparability process. At that time, we estimated that the revised process would result in an average increase in Federal pay of 4.8 percent in October, 1981.

The reform proposal has not yet been acted upon in Congress, but in accordance with our economic recovery program, the Congress included in the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1981 (P.L. 97 - 35) a provision which limits this October's Federal white collar pay adjustment to the same 4.8 percent. Accordingly, I am submitting to the Congress an alternative plan which would implement that limitation on Federal white collar increases.

Current law provides that the annual increase for the military be the same as the average Federal white collar increase. This year, however, the Congress is expected to provide for a larger military pay increase as a part of the Defense Authorization Act for FY 82. The larger increases proposed under that legislation will supersede the increases that military personnel would otherwise receive under the alternative plan.

Ronald Reagan

The White House,

August 31, 1981.

[Staff of the Reagan Library have removed a portion of the text of this document, April 6, 2000.]