Feds Won’t Be Getting Their Pay Raise This Week

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Three weeks ago, President Trump signed an appropriations package that included a 1.9 percent pay increase for federal civilian employees this year, overriding his executive order last December freezing workers’ pay in 2019. The raise was retroactive to January 1.

But as feds examine their pay checks tomorrow, they will find no change in compensation. In order for the pay raise, which includes a 1.4 percent across-the-board increase and an average 0.5 percent increase in locality pay, to take effect, Trump must issue another executive order and the Office of Personnel Management must publish new pay tables for each of the various federal compensation systems.

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Last month, congressional aides told Government Executive that OPM was working to update the pay tables, and that they expected the raise to show up in pay checks in either the first or third week of March. But OPM has not provided an update on its efforts, and did not respond to a request for comment Thursday.

In recent days, D.C.-area lawmakers have sent multiple letters to the Trump administration demanding an update on when federal workers can expect to see their pay increase. Unlike letters from federal employee unions last month, the lawmakers' correspondence was directed to Office of Management and Budget Acting Director Russell Voight, suggesting that the delay may be with the White House, rather than OPM.

On Feb. 28, Maryland senators Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin, both Democrats, joined fellow Virginia Democratic senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine to request an update on the status of the pay raise from Vought. And nine House lawmakers representing Maryland, D.C. and Virginia sent a similar letter to both Vought and OPM Acting Director Margaret Weichert on Tuesday.

“As you know, Congress passed a 1.9 percent pay raise for federal workers, retroactive to January 1, in the Consolidated Appropriations Act that President Trump signed into law on February 15,” the senators wrote. “However, federal worker paychecks still reflect the pay freeze that President Trump instituted for 2019 prior to passage of the [bill] . . . We ask that you provide a timeframe for when these civil servants will see this modest cost-of-living adjustment in their paycheck.”

“Given the continued impact of the recent shutdown, any delay in implementing the 1.9 percent pay raise enacted into law is unacceptable,” the House members wrote. “It is also imperative that retroactive lump sum payments be calculated in accordance with this pay increase.”

The House delegation, led by House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings, D-Md., and Subcommittee on Government Operations Chairman Gerry Connolly, D-Va., gave the administration officials a deadline of March 15 to respond.

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