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House Set to Back 2.7% Pay Raise for Feds in 2022

A weekly roundup of pay and benefits news.

The House Appropriations Committee appears set to sign off on President Biden’s proposed average 2.7% pay increase for civilian federal employees in 2022, according to a draft of appropriations legislation released Wednesday.

The committee’s Financial Services and General Government subcommittee is set to mark up and advance its portion of the fiscal 2022 appropriations legislation on Thursday. A copy of the bill makes no mention of a pay raise for federal employees, effectively endorsing Biden’s plan to give feds an average 2.7% pay raise next year.

It remains unclear how the White House would divvy up the 2.7% between an across-the-board increase to basic pay and an average increase in locality pay, although traditionally 0.5% has been reserved for locality pay increases.

Rep. Jennifer Wexton, D-Va., a member of the committee, previewed the panel’s position on a pay raise on Tuesday during a summit hosted by the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association on federal personnel policies.

“We seem to have consent across the board for that 2.7% and that’s what is going to be included in our appropriations bills coming out of the House and I think the Senate is going to do the same,” she said. “So I’m cautiously optimistic.”

The bill may come as a disappointment to some Democratic lawmakers and federal employee union officials, who had been pushing for the more generous average 3.2% pay raise proposed by Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., earlier this year. Under that proposal, feds would receive a 2.2% across-the-board pay increase, in addition to an average 1% boost to locality pay.

The appropriations bill includes a number of other provisions impacting federal employees. It contains a $41 million increase from fiscal 2021 for the Office of Personnel Management, bringing the agency’s appropriation to $372 million. The committee said in a statement the increase would go toward managing and providing “guidance on federal human resources” and to improve administration of federal retirement and health insurance programs.

The bill also would eliminate a long-included provision barring insurers in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program from covering abortion services, and it would make recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals eligible for federal employment.

Also included in the legislation are a number of new protections for federal employee unions. It bars federal funds from being used to block federal workers from using official time or space in federal buildings “for union activities.” It also blocks agencies from preventing telework-eligible employees from working remotely “when the health or safety” of the employee is “in question.”