President’s Pay Plan for 2020 Endorses Pay Raise

In a letter to the Speaker of the House and President of the Senate, President Trump has endorsed a pay increase for all federal employees with no locality pay increase. This plan goes against the president’s previously proposed pay freezes for federal employees. Congress must now pass funding measures to determine the exact pay increase federal employees will receive.

Each year, the president is required to submit an alternative pay plan to Congress before the end of August. Under the Federal Employee Pay Comparability Act, automatic pay increases would take effect without the president’s proposed pay adjustments. Had Trump not issued an alternative pay plan, locality pay would rise by 24.01% next year, and base pay would increase 2.6%.

In his letter to Congressional leaders, President Trump offered a 2.6 percent pay increase to federal employees but advocated against a locality pay increase. President Trump explained, “We must maintain efforts to put our Nation on a fiscally sustainable course; Federal agency budgets cannot sustain such massive increases in locality pay.”

President Trump also noted a push for performance based pay in the letter, stating, “Our pay system must reform to align with mission-critical recruitment and retention goals, and to reward employees whose performance provides value for the American people.”

Now the Senate and House must pass appropriations legislation codifying any pay adjustments into law.

The Senate has not taken up any spending measures at this time; however, the House has already passed an average 3.1 percent pay increase for federal employees. The House passed legislation includes a 2.6 percent across the board pay increase and a 0.5 percent increase in average locality pay.

J. David Cox, national president of the American Federation of Government Employees, told Federal Computer Week that the action by Trump "is a positive step" but that the 2.6% raise "falls short by failing to provide any locality-based pay adjustments, which are essential if the government is ever going to make real progress is closing the wage gap between the federal and private sectors."

The administration noted in their letter to Congress that the proposed pay plan would “not materially affect our ability to attract and retain a well-qualified Federal workforce.”

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