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WASHINGTON — Civilian Defense employees will see at least a 2.5 percent pay raise this year under guidelines set by the White House on Friday.

That’s smaller than the base 3 percent pay raise for military personnel worldwide and the average 3.5 percent pay bump for federal employees stateside, but it does not take into account a number of other incentives overseas civilians receive according to their assignment.

Language in the $516 billion omnibus spending bill signed into law last month set the overall federal employee pay raise at 3.5 percent.

Under Friday’s executive order outlining government salary tables, 2.5 percent of that became a base, across-the-board raise while the remainder was assigned to locality pay adjustments to compensate workers in high-cost U.S. cities.

For example, workers in Washington, D.C., will see a total 4.49 percent jump in their paychecks, while employees in Raleigh, N.C., will see only a 3.06 percent increase.

Overseas government workers do not receive locality pay adjustments, according to officials at the Defense Finance and Accounting Service, so they receive only the base pay raise from the salary table changes.

But that doesn’t mean the 2.5 percent increase will be the only paycheck changes those foreign-based employees will see. Overseas cost-of-living adjustments, family and housing stipends, hardship assignment payouts and other incentives all play into the total pay package.

The pay rate increases all go into effect Monday, meaning government employees won’t see any change in their pay stubs until the end of the month.

Meanwhile, military personnel still could see another 0.5 percent pay increase once Congress and the White House settle their dispute over the 2008 Defense authorization bill. Last month, President Bush vetoed the legislation over concerns that a provision about private legal claims against Iraq could freeze reconstruction funds in that country.

Both the president and legislators have promised to make the 3.5 percent pay raise outlined in that legislation retroactive to Jan. 1 once they reach a compromise on the bill.

Also under the guidelines, members of Congress will see a 2.5 percent increase in their pay to just over $169,000 a year.


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