By Orhan Cam shutterstock photo ID: 545314126

Trump signs pay raise, family leave bills

President Donald Trump signed the annual defense policy bill and two funding bills into law late on Dec. 20, in time to avoid a government shutdown.

The National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2020 includes a new benefit for federal employees -- 12 weeks of paid family leave upon the birth, adoption or fostering of a child. The benefit takes effect Oct. 1, 2020, and covers feds with one year or more of service.

The two funding packages, signed before the current continuing resolution expired at midnight Dec. 20, fund discretionary programs at $1.4 trillion, with most department seeing spending hikes. The bill includes a 2.6% pay raise for federal employees and an average uptick of 0.5% in locality pay, so many feds will see a 3.1% pay raise.

Trump tweeted out a letter to "Our Incredible Federal Workforce" after signing the funding bills in evening.

"Your great contributions to this Nation are why I am pleased to inform you that I recently signed into law major improvements to compensation and benefits for Federal Employees," Trump wrote. "As the chief executive of the Country's largest workforce, I am proud to say that our Government is leading by example in changing the culture of how we support working families."

The House and the Senate passed the funding bills earlier this week, dividing the 12 appropriations buckets into two bills: one focused on domestic spending, including Veterans Affairs and foreign aid, and the other funding defense, homeland security and law enforcement as well as commerce, science, financial services and general government. Both bills easily passed in both chambers of Congress.

The signing of full-year appropriations bills not only ends the threat of a shutdown, it gets agencies off of continuing resolutions, giving acquisitions and future planning a boost.

The bills also include a host of cyber, IT, acquisition and government operations changes. One notable provision is a $25 million boost for the central Technology Modernization Fund -- a no-year revolving pool of money authorized through 2025 that agencies can access to underwrite IT upgrades, typically moves to managed services.

The family leave measure in the NDAA is the result of years of activity on the part of federal employee advocates and lawmakers. The legislative language was offered as an amendment by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), who has long backed family and dependent care leave benefits for feds. The benefit was added in a bit of legislative horse-trading that allowed for the establishment of Space Force.

Tony Reardon, national president of the National Treasury Employees' Union, called the new policy, "one of the most consequential workplace benefits granted to federal employees in many, many years."

Reader comments

Mon, Jan 6, 2020

My fellow employees, Please accept the pay raise without complaint OR email the White House telling the President your don't want it. Time to grow up OR quit.

Sat, Dec 28, 2019

"The President came through again." By signing a budget bill that had a larger pay raise than he proposed, after he initially proposed a pay freeze? Are you high?

Tue, Dec 24, 2019

Democrats and republicans all have knifed the federal employee in the back. Obama made sure three years were without cost of living increases so he could help the banking and insurance industries make sure they fund the democrat's election funds. The republicans all millionaires of course had no interest in helping others than making sure their corrupt cronies pay big dollars into their election campaigns for favors latter down the pike. Also big pharma has helped elected these minions of both parties found in congress and senate.

Tue, Dec 24, 2019

The President came through again. On top of the hot economy, an unemployment rate of 3.5%, increasing funding for our military, increased border security and so much more. Thank you Mr. President. He could have limited it to much less, Social Security recipients and federal retirees are are receiving just 1.6%.

Mon, Dec 23, 2019

Happy Holidays to everyone and may the New Year bring you good health and good cheer

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