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White House Finalizes 1.9 Percent Pay Raise for Civilian Feds

Nearly six weeks after its enactment, federal workers will finally see their 2019 pay increase.

President Trump on Thursday signed an executive order authorizing a 1.9 percent pay increase for federal employees this year, retroactive to January, ending six weeks of waiting and speculation about when the measure would be implemented.

On Feb. 15, Trump enacted a spending package to keep the government open through September that included a 1.4 percent across-the-board pay increase for civilian federal workers and an average 0.5 percent increase in their locality pay for this year. The provision was retroactive to the first pay period of the year, which began Jan. 6.

But since then, it had been unclear when the measure would be implemented. Last week, acting Office of Personnel Management Director Margaret Weichert told reporters that the process was very “legalistic” but that the pay raise was in the “final clearance” stages.

Pay tables on OPM’s website had not yet been updated as of mid-Thursday afternoon and the agency did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Depending on how quickly federal payroll processors are able to switch over to the new pay tables, federal employees could see the raise reflected in their paychecks as early as next week. But it is unclear when they will receive lump sum payments to cover what they are owed as part of the retroactive portion of the pay increase.

The raise overrode a pay freeze that Trump had authorized last December. Trump has proposed another pay freeze for federal civilian employees in 2020, although he proposed a 3.1 percent pay raise for members of the military in his fiscal 2020 budget request.