In President Trump’s Budget for Fiscal Year 2021, released today by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the White House called for a 1 percent pay raise for Federal employees.
In the past two years of the administration, President Trump championed a pay freeze before giving in to a pay raise. Those raises in 2019 and 2020 were 1.9 percent and 3.1 percent, respectively.
“The administration proposes a 1 percent pay increase for Federal civilian employees for calendar year 2021, while also increasing funds available for on-the-spot and ratings-based performance awards,” the budget said. “The administration has attempted to make pay more flexible and performance-based, since across-the-board pay increases have long-term fixed costs and fail to address existing pay disparities or to target mission-critical recruitment and retention goals. A more targeted approach that rewards the top performers with the most critical skills is needed.”
President Trump’s proposal falls short of legislation introduced last month by Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., and Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii. The legislation, dubbed the Federal Adjustment of Income Rates (FAIR) Act, would give Federal employees a 3.5 percent pay raise in 2021.
However, the White House’s proposed budget does align with a framework released by the Republican Study Committee (RSC), a caucus of sitting House conservatives. The framework, released Feb. 6 includes a bevy of policy solutions targeting the Federal workforce, including moves to slash automatic Federal pay raises, eliminate the Federal Employee Retirement System, and reduce paid leave benefits.
It’s unclear how the pay raises will be applied, but the 2020 pay raise was split in two with 2.6 percent going to a basic pay increase an average 0.5 percent increase to locality pay.
“In addition to lifting the cap on the amount of salary devoted to awards, the 2021 budget includes funding for agencies to spend an additional one percentage point of their salary budget on awards for their high performing employees and those with critical skill sets,” the budget reads. “This increase in awards spending will allow agencies to effect an awards and recognition program that drives positive behavior; provides opportunities for employees to develop, grow, and enhance their careers; and recognizes accomplishments in a timely way.”
Elsewhere in the budget, the Administration proposed a 3 percent pay raise for military service members, as well as a pay raise for transportation security officers.