President Biden informed Congress on Thursday of his intention to raise federal civilian workers’ pay by an average of 5.2 percent, taking a required step to advance the proposal outlined in his 2024 budget request earlier this year.
In letters addressed to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Vice President Harris in her capacity as president of the Senate, Biden outlined his alternative pay plan for an across-the-board pay increase of 4.7 percent and locality pay increases averaging 0.5 percent, for an overall average increase of 5.2 percent.
Biden underscored the need to retain skilled workers to support the work of the federal government.
“We must attract, recruit, and retain a skilled workforce with fair compensation in order to keep our Government running, deliver services, and meet our Nation’s challenges today and tomorrow,” Biden wrote in the letters.
“This alternative pay plan decision will continue to allow the Federal Government to employ a well‑qualified Federal workforce on behalf of the American people, keeping pace with prior wage growth in the labor market,” Biden continued.
Biden said in the letter he was making the adjustment under a U.S. code authorizing the president to make a change if he views it as appropriate because of “national emergency or serious economic conditions affecting the general welfare” — a move regularly made by presidents at the end of August to avoid the otherwise automatic pay increases for employees.
The pay adjustment will go into effect at the start of 2024, according to the letter, but Biden will first need to issue an executive order before the end of the year to finalize the pay plan, another standard step in the process.
The pay increase would be a significant one, especially as inflation has cooled in the past year. Last year, Biden announced an average pay increase of 4.6 percent for civilian federal employees in 2023. The previous year, he announced a 2.7 percent increase for 2022.
Source: The Hill