Federal Benefits Service

5.2 Percent Federal Raise Pending for Presidential Approval as Congress Exits

The House has recessed for the year and the Senate is following this week, leaving much of Capitol Hill’s 2023 work left undone while also opening the way for President Biden to finalize an average 5.2 percent federal employee pay raise to be paid in January.

Among the late actions taken was passage of the annual DoD authorization bill without most of the social policy riders that House Republicans had added and which had held up that must-pass bill. The measure: expands and extends various special hiring and pay authorities at DoD; makes military service time creditable toward the one-year employment for federal employees to take paid parental leave; and makes spouses of transferred DoD civilian employees eligible for special hiring authorities for spouses of transferred military personnel.

In the weeks since enacting stopgap funding just before a November 17th deadline, Congress however did not enact any of the regular appropriations bills for the fiscal year that began October 1st. When Congress returns January 9 it will be facing the expiration 10 days later of temporary funding for some federal agencies and the expiration two weeks after that of temporary funding for the rest.

The House versions of many of those appropriations bills also contain social policy provisions of the sort that initially held up the defense authorization, leaving a path forward on agency funding uncertain just ahead of those two deadlines.

Among the bills still awaiting action is the general government measure, with the House version containing language to roll back telework to 2019 levels, bar gender-affirming care coverage in the FEHB program and defund agency DEI programs—none of which are in the Senate versions.

By not enacting that bill with language setting a federal employee raise before year’s end, Congress in effect is allowing Biden’s raise proposal to take effect by default.

Earlier in the year he said he would set an average 5.2 percent raise to be split as 4.7 percent paid across the board and the funds for the other 0.5 percentage point divided up among localities. An executive order finalizing that boost would specify raises by locality, likely ranging from several tenths of a percentage point below 5.2 to several tenths above.

That order now could come at any time, although it most commonly is issued during the last week of the year. The raises would be effective as of the first full pay period of the year, which for most employees will be January 14th, meaning that it would be reflected in pay distributions covering that period, which employees would receive in the early days of February.

In order to learn more about changes in the federal workforce or to receive TSP fund recommendations from our trained and licensed team, become a member at Federal Benefits Service today.

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