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White House Officially Freezes Federal Employee Pay Through March 2013

December 21, 2012

At this time of year, normally federal employees would expect a release of the anticipated pay raise tables for the next year. But this year, those tables will be delayed until April, as the White House today officially announced the two-year federal pay freeze is extended through March 2013.

In August, President Obama recommended a 0.5 percent 2013 federal employee pay raise -- delaying it until the House and Senate passed a budget.

Later, in October, Obama signed a continuing appropriations resolution to fund the government for another six months.  The measure included an extended pay freeze for federal employees and members of Congress until April 2013.

Today, in the absence of a 2013 budget from the House and Senate, the White House issued an official memo directing heads of federal agencies to not issue any pay increases for federal employees until at least March 27, 2013.  This officially extends the two-year pay freeze that started in January 2011.

The pay freeze extension affects the annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA).  Federal employees are eligible for pay grade step increases or raises if they receive promotions.

Below is the text of today's official White House memorandum:

Presidential Memorandum -- Federal Employee Pay Schedules and Rates that are Set by Administrative Discretion


SUBJECT: Federal Employee Pay Schedules and Rates That Are Set by Administrative Discretion

On December 22, 2010, I issued a memorandum stating that the heads of executive departments and agencies should suspend any increases to any pay systems or pay schedules covering executive branch employees, and should forgo any general increases in covered employees' rates of pay, that could otherwise take effect as a result of the exercise of administrative discretion during the period beginning on January 1, 2011, and ending on December 31, 2012. In light of section 114 of the Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2013 (Public Law 112-175), I am hereby instructing the heads of executive departments and agencies that they should continue to adhere to this policy through March 27, 2013, the date after which statutory pay adjustments may be made pursuant to section 114 of Public Law 112-175.

This memorandum shall be carried out to the extent permitted by law and consistent with executive departments' and agencies' legal authorities. This memorandum is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

The Director of the Office of Personnel Management shall issue any necessary guidance on implementing this memorandum, and is also hereby authorized and directed to publish this memorandum in the Federal Register.