WH proposes 2.7% bump in pay for feds

Good news for feds: The Biden administration is proposing a 2.7% increase in pay next year—if effected, the largest annual bump in pay in over a decade.

The figure, found in the Office of Management and Budget blueprint for spending next year, released just before the Memorial Day weekend, provides parity with the planned pay hike for military servicemembers—and to bolster the administration’s declared commitment to easing lower-paid feds up to a higher minimum wage standard.

“To help departments and agencies recruit and retain a diverse and inclusive Federal workforce, the Budget ensures more Federal employees are eligible for a $15 per hour wage,” the budget release states, “and provides funding for a pay increase averaging 2.7% across the federal civilian workforce, in parity with the military pay increase.”

Federal pay hikes are widely anticipated—but not always enacted—each year. For example, there was no pay hike for the years 2011, 2012 or 2013, consistent with a political wave in Congress at the time against pay raises and for pay freezes. In any case, when increases do occur—as happens most years—they are modest and designed to act as cost-of-living increases, or COLAs. For 2021, the increase was 1%.

In this respect, a dedicated body, the Federal Salary Council, does independent research and makes a base pay raise recommendation, based in part on a measure of nationwide price inflation. The FSC then adds to that base pay increase a higher pay bump in the form of locality pay, wherever appropriate.

A White House raise proposal, if it differs from the FSC numbers is known as the “alternate pay plan.” In the end, Congress can vote for the FSC’s number, the president’s number (normally specified in the White House budget proposal) or its own number regarding federal employee raises. However, if Congress fails to pass legislation specifying a pay raise—or no raise at all—under the law, the president’s “alternate” raise proposal takes effect.

At present, a group of Democrats in Congress have proposed an even higher base pay increase—3.2%

Reader comments

Sat, Jun 5, 2021

Terry Get your facts correct. Obama and Biden are anti-federal employee along with the other democrats and republicans. They froze COLA's for three years. 2.7% is not much of a compensation in the long run. All elected officials are spineless when it comes to protecting the interests of current and retired federal employees.

Thu, Jun 3, 2021

What was, and what is to come are a welcome change , when you don’t have and then buy hard work you receive , I’m going to welcome it because there will always be the ones who had less and now that less will be more not everyone can sustain on someone else’s minimum income all across America this will indeed help with the everyday to day needs

Thu, Jun 3, 2021

I was taught that you evaluate job pay by including benefits along with basic salary. When I became a Fed I was amazed at the benefits. The health plans (so many to choose from), TSP and leave are much more generous than any state/local government or commercial companies. Also consider the job security (and locality pay). For every furlough we have had to go through we always got backpay, our contractors didn't. Feds should stop complaining about pay. Why would any company pay you MORE to do the SAME job? If you don't like what you are making then go get a better job! And yes, usually the pay raises feel like a bribe to like the current administration.

Thu, Jun 3, 2021 terry c

To "Shameless ... " : Your comment is pretty much nonsense. Obama only went along with pay freezes after 2010 and the "tea party" fools who came to Congress, pushed successfully for "sequestration" and the pay freezes. Also, Obama fought to end the pay freeze in 2012 but his effort failed. By the way the same Tea Party reps who went all out for pay freezes as necesary to save money under Obama went nuts spending like drunk sailors after Trump came to town, and even cut corporate taxes so the deficit ended up going much higher still. I think your point's pretty weak, eeven though unions weren't happy he didn't fight harder against the pay freezes.

Thu, Jun 3, 2021

Shameless way to cover for Obama's hiring freezes and pay freezes by blaming Congress for a change, which are the ones to blame for most wrong things the last four decades, especially the democrat lifers like Biden, Pelosi, Schumer, et al.

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