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Despite Silence from Administration, Pay Raise Likely in March

A federal employee union has requested an update on implementation of the 1.9 percent pay increase for federal civilian employees, approved earlier this month.

Federal civilian employees can expect to see a 1.9 percent across-the-board pay increase reflected in their paychecks sometime next month, Government Executive has learned.

Earlier this month, President Trump signed a spending package to keep the federal government open until Sept. 30. That measure included a provision authorizing a pay raise for federal workers for this year, retroactive to the first full pay period of 2019, overriding the president's decision last December to freeze civilian employees’ pay.

But since the bill’s enactment on Feb. 15, there has been no noticeable progress in implementing the pay hike. Trump is required to issue a new executive order to implement the increase, and the Office of Personnel Management must publish new pay tables for the various pay systems and localities.

On Monday, the National Treasury Employees Union sent a letter to acting OPM Director Margaret Weichert requesting an update on implementation of the raise and urging the process be completed promptly, citing lingering financial impact of the 35-day partial government shutdown on federal workers and their families.

“As employees continue to struggle with the lasting impacts of the 35-day government shutdown as well as increased costs of living, it is imperative that the pay increase be implemented as soon as possible,” wrote NTEU National President Tony Reardon. “I would appreciate an update from you on when federal employees can expect the pay tables to be issued and when they might receive the increase provided by Congress.”

OPM was unable to comment by Wednesday afternoon. But a congressional aide with knowledge of the situation said the agency is still working to update the pay tables. 

“Once [the pay tables] are published, agency payroll processors will replace existing pay tables in their systems, likely beginning with the current full pay period which began this week,” the aide said. “The first paycheck with the raise will most likely go out during the first or third week of March.”

It remains unclear when workers can expect to see retroactive lump sum payments that reflect the pay increase for paychecks they have already received for this year.