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What Needs to Happen for the 2022 Pay Raise, and More

A weekly roundup of pay and benefits news.

With Congress averting a government shutdown last week by passing a continuing resolution to keep federal agencies funded at fiscal 2021 levels until February, the way is clear for federal employees to receive the average 2.7% pay raise proposed by President Biden for next year, but there is still work to be done to finalize the plan.

As part of his budget request, Biden proposed giving civilian federal employees an average pay increase of 2.7% in 2022, split between a 2.2% across-the-board raise and an average 0.5% increase in locality pay. Despite lobbying from federal employee groups, which urged lawmakers to approve the more generous 3.2% average pay raise—a 2.2% across-the-board increase with a 1% average boost in locality pay—proposed by Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., appropriators ultimately left federal compensation out of their funding bills, effectively endorsing the president’s plan.

Although Biden formalized his pay raise plan when he issued an alternative pay plan to override an automatic pay raise in accordance with the 1990 Federal Employees Pay Comparability Act, he still has work to do to ensure the new pay rates go into effect in January. Before the end of the year, the president must issue an executive order finalizing the alternative pay plan.

Once the executive order is issued, the Office of Personnel Management must publish new pay tables incorporating the pay raise at every level of the General Schedule and for each locality pay area. The pay raise then would go into effect for the first full pay period of 2022.

New Leave Provisions in Defense Policy Bill

The House on Tuesday approved the compromise version of the fiscal 2022 National Defense Authorization Act, which again includes a new paid leave benefit for all federal employees.

This year’s version of the bill includes a provision that will grant all civilian federal employees and members of the military up to two weeks per year of paid bereavement leave if an employee’s child dies.

The provision comes two years after lawmakers added a provision to the fiscal 2020 Defense Authorization Act granting federal workers up to 12 weeks of paid leave each year in connection with the birth, adoption or foster placement of a child.

House Democrats introduced a similar bill that would have granted federal workers up to 12 weeks of comprehensive paid family leave earlier this year, but momentum on that legislation stalled after the Congressional Budget Office reported in October that the legislation’s price tag could reach as high as $20 billion by 2027.

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