President Trump has issued a pay plan for federal civilian employees, officially giving workers, a 1.9 percent raise in 2018. This includes a base increase of 1.4 percent and a 0.5 percent locality pay raise.
The president had until midnight August 31st to announce a pay raise. If he had not informed Congress of an alternative pay plan, a formula based increase automatically kicks in, in accordance with the 1990 Federal Employee Pay Comparability Act. Under this act, the base raise is determined by the change in Employment Cost Index minus 0.5 percent, which for 2018 would’ve been about 1.9 percent. This is also the amount President Trump proposed in his budget for next year.
According to the White House, the locality pay increase, as mandated by FEPCA, would’ve averaged 26.16 percent, and would’ve cost the government $26 billion. In Trump’s letter to Congress, he wrote, “A pay increase of this magnitude isn’t warranted, and federal agency budgets could not accommodate such an increase while still maintaining support for key federal priorities such as those that advance safety and security of the American people.”
The president of the National Treasury Employees Union, Tony Reardon, said this pay raise isn’t enough and supports legislation in Congress to give employees a 3.2 percent pay raise in 2018. “NTEU believes this figure is too low especially because federal law calls for a 1.9 percent across-the-board raise and private sector wages are growing at an even faster rate,” he said. “Add to that, current proposals attacking the federal retirement system would result in a pay cut for federal workers.”
The president of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association, Richard Thissen, applauded the pay raise but said NARFE would continue to push for Congress to approve a larger increase next year. “While federal employees appreciate the raise, an average increase of 1.9 percent is the minimum required to prevent federal pay from declining further, and more rapidly, below market than the current 35 percent wage disparity between public- and private-sector wages,” he said. “Both Congress and the president should work together to pursue a more robust pay increase to maintain the highly qualified workforce needed to run an efficient federal government.”
Ultimately, Congress has the final say on how much federal employees will earn in 2018.