(Reuters) -U.S. federal agencies have been directed to raise the minimum wage for government employees to $15 an hour, according to a new guidance from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).
The directive will impact almost 70,000 federal employees most of whom work at the Departments of Defense, Agriculture and Veteran Affairs, OPM said in a statement on Friday.
President Biden made supporting blue-collar workers a priority of his presidential campaign, saying strong unions and higher wages could resurrect America's middle class while helping bridge economic and racial inequities.
Last year Biden issued an executive order raising wages of federal contract workers to $15 an hour.
"Raising pay rates across the federal government to a minimum of $15 per hour reflects our appreciation for the federal workforce and our values as a nation," Kiran Ahuja, Director of the Office of Personnel Management, said in the statement.
OPM has asked agencies to implement the new wage by Jan. 30, and it excludes the U.S. Postal Service and Postal Regulatory Commission, the statement said.
(Reporting by Akriti Sharma, Ann Maria Shibu and Jahnavi Nidumolu in BengaluruEditing by Mark Heinrich)