More Details from the 2022 Pay Raise
A weekly roundup of pay and benefits news.
Last month, President Biden signed an executive order finalizing the average 2.7% pay raise for federal employees, set to begin with the first full pay period of this year.
The pay raise amounts to a 2.2% across-the-board increase to basic pay along with an average 0.5% increase in locality pay for General Schedule employees. But as the Office of Personnel Management’s memos implementing the order explain, the pay raise is slightly different if you’re a federal worker hired under one of the government’s other personnel systems.
For prevailing rate wage employees, OPM wrote that their raises are capped at 2.9%—the sum of the basic pay raise received by General Schedule employees and the difference between the average locality pay increases between fiscal years 2021 and 2022.
“Lead agencies must establish wage rates for affected prevailing rate employees for fiscal 2022 by determining the maximum rates applicable under the pay limitation provisions of [the fiscal 2021 appropriations package], determining the minimum pay increase . . . and then applying the higher of the rates to affected prevailing rate wage schedules,” OPM wrote.
Because some wages under the prevailing rate system are supposed to update with a new fiscal year, rather than the calendar year, raises for these employees will be retroactive to Oct. 10, 2021. But for others, the raises may not take effect until later this year.
Administrative law judges, who also have their own pay system, will receive a 2.2% increase in basic pay, rounded up to the nearest $100, according to OPM. And members of the Senior Executive Service whose salaries are less than the new minimum pay rate will see their pay increase automatically, while senior level and scientific and professional workers will also see a 2.2% increase in basic pay.
Biden’s pay plan continues the practice where the pay of agency heads and other senior political appointees is frozen until Feb. 18, when congressional appropriations are set to expire. Although Congress has not reached agreement on a deal to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year, the House and Senate versions of spending legislation both continue the pay freeze on political officials in 2022.