Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP

Biden Formalizes Plan for Average 2.7% Raise for Civilian Feds in 2022

The White House published an alternative pay plan for the federal workforce providing a 2.2% across the board raise along with an average increase of 0.5% to locality pay.

President Biden on Friday formalized his plan to provide civilian federal employees with an average 2.7% raise in 2022 in a letter to congressional leadership.

In May, Biden first proposed the pay raise as part of his fiscal 2022 budget plan, but that document did not lay out how the raise would be split between basic and locality pay. Friday’s announcement clarifies that, if implemented, federal employees would see a 2.2% across-the-board increase in their basic pay, and an average 0.5% raise in locality pay.

Every year, presidents issue the so-called “alternative pay plan” by the end of August, which declares there to be a national economic emergency preventing automatic pay increases from kicking in as prescribed by the Federal Employee Pay Comparability Act.

Although federal employee groups and some lawmakers have continued to advocate for a more generous pay raise of 3.2%—split between a 2.2% increase in basic pay and a 1.0% average bump in locality pay—Congress thus far has shown no signs it will override Biden’s plan. The House passed a minibus spending package that typically serves as the avenue for pay raise legislation without any language on federal compensation, effectively endorsing the president’s proposal, although it is unclear if the evenly divided Senate will follow suit.

National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association National President Ken Thomas applauded Biden’s pay plan, describing it as “market-value.”

“With his proposed 2.7% average pay increase for the civil service, Biden is demonstrating respect for hard-working civil servants and the jobs they do, as well as a commitment to recruitment and retention of talented federal employees,” Thomas said. “[The] pay increase will work to narrow the wage gap between federal employees and those in the private sector—who make as much as 23% more than public servants in comparable jobs—and strengthen the federal government’s ability to maintain a highly qualified and effective workforce.”

But National Treasury Employees Union National President Tony Reardon said his union will continue to lobby lawmakers to institute a larger raise for next year.

“We appreciate President Biden’s desire to give federal employees a pay raise in 2022, especially one that includes an increase in locality pay rates,” he said. “This is a vast improvement over the previous administration’s attempts to freeze federal pay. However, federal employee pay increases have lagged for years and there is still a very real gap between federal pay and comparable positions in the private sector.”