The House of Representatives appears ready to sign off on President Biden’s proposed 2.7% federal pay raise for civilian employees in 2022.
Appropriators have prepared a draft of legislation that was released Wednesday.
Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-Va.), a member of the committee, has spearheaded and supported this pay raise, but wants it to be higher. While Wexton supports and is pleased with a 2.7% bump for civilian employees next year, she’s a co-sponsor of the Federal Adjustment of Income Rates (FAIR) Act, which is promoting a 3.2% federal pay raise.
“We seem to have consent across the board for that 2.7%, and that’s what’s going to be included in our appropriations bill coming out of the House,” Wexton said Tuesday at the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association’s virtual legislative conference. “I’m pretty sure the Senate is planning to do the same thing, and so I feel very cautiously optimistic that that’s what we’re going to see happen.”
The House of Appropriations Committee’s Financial Services and General Government subcommittee is scheduled to edit and advance its portion of the fiscal 2022 appropriations legislation on Thursday. Currently, the updated copy of the bill makes no mention of a pay raise for federal employees, essentially endorsing Biden’s plan to give feds an average 2.7% pay raise next year.
“I think you’re going to be happy, but it’s too soon to say exactly what to expect,” Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-Pa.), vice chairman of the financial services and general government subcommittee, told NARFE members on Tuesday. He has declined any further comment or preview of legislation.
That 2.7% proposal is a recognition of the “meaningful work performed by employees to better our nation,” said Pam Coleman, associate director of performance and personnel management for the Office of Management and Budget.
“The administration values the federal workforce and is committed to having the executive branch be the employer of choice,” she said Tuesday during NARFE’s legislation conference. “We understand the vital role that decent pay plays in the lives of our employees.”
It’s still unclear how exactly the pay raise will be allocated and divided up among federal employees, but some major details about the bill are available.
The appropriations bill includes a number of additional provisions impacting federal employees. Specifically, a $41 million increase from 2021 for the Office of Personnel Management, upping the agency’s appropriation to $372 million. This increase is aimed at managing and providing guidance on federal human resources and to improve the administration of health insurance and federal retirement programs.
Additionally, the bill contains a number of new protections for federal employee unions. In particular, it prevents federal funds from being used to block federal workers from using official time or space in federal buildings “for union activities.” It also bans agencies from preventing telework-eligible employees from working remotely “when the health or safety” of the employee is “in question.”
The bill also is set to remove a long-standing provision barring insurers in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program from covering abortion services, and it would grant eligibility of recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals for federal employment.
Although the pay raise isn’t as high as some representatives would like it to be, the 2.7% raise is generally welcomed and seems imminent.