Biden Finalizes 4.6% Pay Raise for Employees Ahead of Holiday Weekend

President Biden on Friday issued an executive order implementing his plan to provide federal civilian employees with an average 4.6% pay raise in January. 

As proposed in his fiscal 2023 budget plan last March, the raise provides federal workers with a 4.1% across-the-board raise to basic pay, as well as an average 0.5% increase in locality pay. 

The 4.6% figure marks the largest pay increase for federal workers since 2002, when the George W. Bush administration provided them with the same percentage increase. 

But with year-over-year inflation over 7% as of November and feds’ share of insurance premiums through the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program growing by an average of 8.7% next year, federal employee groups had hoped for a more generous pay increase of 5.1% as proposed by Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., and other Democratic lawmakers. Despite their lobbying efforts, neither the House nor Senate opted to override the president’s pay raise proposal in their appropriations packages for fiscal 2023, effectively endorsing Biden’s plan. 

The 4.6% raise marks an increase over the 2.7% average pay boost federal workers received in 2022. 

The 4.6% pay raise is an average, meaning not everyone will see that exact amount added to their paychecks next year. Depending on where they work in the country, some feds might see slightly higher bumps, while others might see slightly lower numbers. 

For instance, General Schedule employees working in the Baltimore/Washington, D.C. metropolitan area will get a total raise of 4.86%, while employees in the Atlanta/Athens, Georgia, pay locality area will receive a pay increase of 4.43% in 2023. 

Federal employees in the Seattle/Tacoma, Washington, pay locality area will get the highest raise in 2023, with an increase of 5.15%, according to data from OPM. 

Employees in the Corpus Christi/Kingsville-Alice, Texas, pay locality will see the lowest pay raise of 4.35% next year. General Schedule employees in the “rest of U.S.” pay locality, the catch-all group for any employees outside the other 53 distinct pay localities, will get a raise of 4.37%. 

The president’s pay agent tentatively approved four new pay localities, but civilian employees working in Fresno, California; Reno, Nevada; Rochester, New York; and Spokane, Washington won’t see any effects of that change until January 2024 at the earliest. 

The Office of Personnel Management now must publish pay tables outlining the pay raise across all General Schedule pay grades and locality pay areas. Once updated, they will be available on the OPM website. The pay raise will go into effect for the first full pay period of 2023. 


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