By arda savasciogullari /

Trump Proposes Civilian Pay Freeze for Second Consecutive Year

President's budget includes 3.1 percent increase for military personnel, but only targeted bonuses for select civilians.

President Trump's fiscal 2020 budget released Monday once again proposed freezing civilian federal employees' pay, with the White House saying it would instead propose targeted, incentive-based pay aimed at recruiting and retaining top talent and critical skill sets.

The administration declined to include any across-the-board pay increase in its fiscal 2020 budget, the second consecutive year it has made such a proposal. It suggested a freeze in 2019, but Congress ultimately acted to override that recommendation and instead provide a 1.9 percent pay increase.

“The FY2020 budget forgoes an across-the-board federal civilian employee pay increase in calendar year 2020,” a senior administration official told Government Executive. “The administration is exploring broad alternatives that better target pay increases and incentives toward recruitment and retention of top performing employees that have critical skill sets.”

Trump proposed in his last budget creating a $1 billion “performance fund” to replace across-the-board pay raises, but Congress declined to fund the initiative.

The president recommended a military pay raise of 3.1 percent for 2020, which would mark the largest such increase since 2010. Trump proposed and Congress allowed a 1.4 percent pay raise for civilian workers in his first budget, before suggesting the freeze last year.

Federal employees are still waiting for their 2019 pay raise to hit their accounts. The 1.9 percent increase was approved when Congress came to a spending agreement for unfunded agencies in February, but the Trump administration is still finalizing the pay tables. It will be retroactive to the beginning of the year.