President Biden is pushing for a 2.7 percent pay increase for the Federal civilian workforce in his FY2022 budget request released today. The budget also included funding to ensure more Federal workers are eligible for a $15 per hour wage.

In the budget proposal, Biden said the proposed pay increase aims to keep the Federal civilian workforce “in parity with the military pay increase.” He added that both the pay increase and expansion of the $15/hour minimum wage is necessary to “help departments and agencies recruit and retain a diverse and inclusive Federal workforce.”

If included in final budget legislation approved by Congress, the 2.7 percent pay increase would be a significant step up from the 1 percent increase Federal civilian employees received in the FY2021 spending bill. However, it would be a decrease from the 3.1 percent bump Feds received in the FY2020 omnibus spending package.

The budget proposal also includes provisions supporting Biden’s goal of “achieving better hiring outcomes” in the Federal workforce. The White House says the budget “supports agency efforts to expand and enhance recruitment and hiring of top talent, and to deploy more effective qualifying assessments to improve hiring outcomes.”

As part of the proposed budget, agencies would be required to “revitalize” their internship programs in a push to reverse the decline in the percentage of the workforce under 30 years old, create and fund agency talent teams, and contribute funding to a new office that would support centralized government-wide hiring actions that improve hiring outcomes for critical positions.

In the proposed budget, Biden also touted his efforts to strengthen collective bargaining rights and worker protections for Federal employees, eliminate proposed Schedule F assignments, and sign an executive order to ensure that the Federal government interprets Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as prohibiting workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

The White House also said the administration is “leading efforts to reform how the Executive Branch conducts background checks for its workforce through the Security Clearance, Suitability, and Credentialing Performance Accountability Council (PAC).” The council is leading reforms through the Trusted Workforce 2.0 initiative, which will introduce continuous vetting, reduce the time required to conduct background checks for new hires, and improve the mobility of the workforce.

Biden said that efforts to rebuild the Federal workforce – along with other efforts to deliver government services effectively and efficiently, and to enhance Federal IT and cybersecurity – will support the President’s Management Agenda as it “takes shape in the coming months.”

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk's Assistant Copy & Production Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.