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Federal Employees News Digest

Feds get 2.7% pay hike

The White House announced a federal employee pay increase for next year averaging 2.7%-- to take effect Jan. 1, 2022. 

Months ago, the White House indicated it aimed for precisely this level of increase in its budget proposal documents. But the August announcement—as a letter to the Senate—makes it official. Under federal law, presidents can determine an “alternative plan for pay adjustments”—raises—for feds. 

“I am transmitting an alternative plan for pay adjustments for civilian Federal employees covered by the General Schedule and certain other pay systems in January 2022,” President Biden said in the letter. “I have determined that for 2022, the across-the-board base pay increase will be 2.2 percent and locality pay increases will average 0.5 percent, resulting in an overall average increase of 2.7 percent for civilian Federal employees, consistent with the assumption in my 2022 Budget.”

The president will follow the letter with an executive order, formalizing the raise. 

Unions approve

Federal employee unions had asked for more—with most asking for 3.2%—in the months leading up to the announcement. However, in their early reactions, the largest such organizations issued praise. The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), for example, offered its support for the move—and the fact that it is congruent with the president’s indication he favored parity between the civilian fed and military pay increases. 

“President Biden’s alternative pay plan providing for a 2.7% pay increase in 2022 for federal employees is in line with his proposal earlier this year to provide a 2.7% pay adjustment for military personnel and civil service employees, also known as pay parity,” AFGE said in a release. “Pay parity recognizes the essential contributions that civil service and uniformed personnel make to our country, and we are pleased that the Biden administration has honored this principle.”

The National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) also gave the planned boost its blessing—at least in part, while continuing to press for more.

“We appreciate President Biden's desire to give federal employees a pay raise in 2022, especially one that includes an increase in locality pay rates,” a union statement said, drawing attention to the newly specified 0.5% boost in locality pay. “This is a vast improvement over the previous administration's attempts to freeze federal pay.” 

Still, NTEU like most unions continues to press for a more general correction upward in federal employee pay, due to long-term deterioration of federal wages versus those in the private sector, as well as versus inflation. 

“However, federal employee pay increases have lagged for years and there is still a very real gap between federal pay and comparable positions in the private sector,” NTEU said. “According to the Federal Salary Council (FSC), federal employees are paid 23.11 percent less than their private sector counterparts.”

“NTEU believes that a 3.2 percent average raise is merited in 2022, as called for in the FAIR Act legislation introduced earlier this year,” the release said. “We will continue to urge Congress to implement an average 2.2 percent increase across the board, plus a 1 percent boost toward locality pay.”

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2021 Digital Almanac

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