What's in Store for Federal Pay in 2021? A Look Forward

For a long time, federal pay has been a sticking point for employees who work with the government. The last year saw a multitude of pay cuts to federal employees in various capacities as departments at both a state and federal level struggled to keep up with the COVID-19 pandemic, further exacerbating the issue.

Now, the Biden Administration may have a chance to make adjustments to pay for federal employees, which is the topic of today's blog.

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Federal Pay in Previous Administrations: A Look Back

The past two presidential terms haven't been kind to federal employees in terms of pay. The Obama administration proposed a 2% raise for federal employees in 2009, and the Trump administration proposed a 1.9% increase in 2018.

However, the Trump Administration also proposed cuts to retirement benefits and changes for new federal employees that would increase the amount workers paid towards their benefits. Although the Administration proposed these changes each year President Trump held office, none of them were enforced.

Meager raises throughout the past two administrations have left federal employees wanting more, with many advocating for significantly increased pay under the new Biden Administration.

Federal Pay in 2021 & Beyond

On that note, the Biden Administration has not yet formulated a proposal to raise pay in 2021. However, the Administration has proposed a number of significant spending targets, including increased resources allocated to the border for DHS employees and a proposal for a massive infrastructure bill primarily funded by increased corporate tax rates. Although these proposals don't include a raise for federal employees, they could entail better-paying opportunities for workers in the federal sector.

If a pay raise comes, it will likely happen in 2022, after the Administration has the COVID-19 pandemic (hopefully) firmly in its rear-view mirror. Democrats in Congress are targeting a 3.2% increase to federal pay, although that figure could drop as Congress negotiates a raise package for federal employees. Additionally, it appears the Biden Administration won't seek the same cuts to employee benefits the Trump Administration pursued.

At John P. Mahoney, Esq., Attorneys at Law, our lawyers can help you pursue an optimal outcome in your employment law dispute. To work with a veteran federal employment law attorney, contact us online or via phone at (202) 759-7780.

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