One month since the 1.9 percent pay raise for federal employees was signed into law, National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) President Tony Reardon called on the White House last week to implement the increase immediately and ensure federal employees receive the money they are due in their next paycheck.
“It shouldn’t take this long to give federal employees their new salary levels, as mandated by law. Federal employees have been patient for one month but now their patience is understandably running thin,” Reardon said.
The 2019 pay raise was part of the omnibus spending deal approved by Congress that funded government agencies for the rest of the fiscal year, and it became law on Feb. 15. Ten days afterward, Reardon wrote OPM Acting Director Margaret Weichert asking when the executive order implementing the raise and the new pay tables would be released. As of March 15, NTEU has not received a response. Several members of Congress have also asked for updates.
The raise included 1.4 percent across-the-board, and another 0.5 percent toward locality pay, retroactive to the first pay period of 2019. The pay increase overturned a pay freeze that had already been enacted.
“After enduring a record 35-day partial government shutdown, during which many employees missed two paychecks, the delay in their pay raise is just another indignity,” Reardon said. “We have no doubt that employees will eventually receive the raise and the back pay they are due, but it is unfortunate that we see no sense of urgency on the part of the administration to make it happen.”
The pay tables that accompany the executive order implementing the raise contain precise salary information for General Schedule employees at every level and in every geographic location, including the new locality areas that were approved for 2019. Employees rely on the information to conduct financial planning for the year.
“At the very least, OPM and the White House should communicate openly with their own workforce about when federal employees can expect the raise to start showing up in their paychecks,” Reardon said. “Obviously, we think they’ve waited long enough.”