White House: Your Pay is Officially Frozen Through March 2013

By on December 21, 2012 in Current Events, Pay & Benefits with 38 Comments

The president made the pay freeze extension on the federal workforce official this afternoon when he issued a presidential memorandum directing heads of agencies to not issue any pay increases until at least March 27, 2013.

President Obama had previously said he wanted to end the pay freeze in 2013 and give federal employees a 0.5% pay raise, but would not do so until Congress passes a budget. This has obviously not happened, and this memo comes on the heels of the news that the fiscal cliff talks hit a major obstacle last night when House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) announced he didn’t have the votes to move forward with “Plan B.”

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

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
December 21, 2012


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.


© 2016 Ian Smith. All rights reserved. This article may not be reproduced without express written consent from Ian Smith.

About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of FedSmith.com. He enjoys writing about current topics that affect the federal workforce. Ian also has a background in web development and does the technical work for the FedSmith.com web site and its sibling sites.

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  1. Eagle1 says:

    Obama is a poor excuse for a leader!   He thinks he is a dictator.  This is the worst mistake America has ever made.   He is hell bent on destroying America and everything this great country stands for.  Hopefully America will survive the next four years and put someone in office who is qualified and loves America.  Obama is all about political gain and nothing else.  He is about promoting his socialist, progressive, liberal agenda.   Spread the wealth, disarm America!  

  2. Spec50 says:

    Well it is official, those federal employees that voted for Obama are now realizing that Obama simply used them for his re-election needs.  He hasn’t and will never give a crap about the rank and file federal employee!  Those that voted for him deserve this action and the rest of us knew this would happen all along.  Some will continue to follow Obama’s agenda for that is how they have lived their lives, because following is easy compared to doing research on matters.  Your SS tax break is going away, your contribution to FERS retirement is going up, your health care cost will rise, and you are under a pay freeze to boot.  For those that voted for Obama this is what you deserve and the rest will just have to ride it out with the followers!

    • Createland says:

       and what is the House trying to do to federal employees?  Screw them even worse than Obama.  So who are you for Spec50?

      • Spec50 says:

        Createland, the House is not the problem.  They have put forth bills.  While the POTUS and the Senate may not like them it is the POTUS and the Senate that are not putting forth any bills!  Oh, they talk on TV and at other speaking events, but they are not putting their words into a bill.  In my lifetime of 45 years of Federal and Military Service I have endured many changes, some that I liked and some that I didn’t, but as long as they benefitted the U.S. of America then I accepted them.  So I am for the U.S. of America, not a political party.  But when I see either party making bad decisions I call them on it.  Both sides need to do better, but the POTUS is the leader of the U.S. and I have not seen him lead thus far.  He calls for compromise and then goes back on his word (most of the time nothing in writing) and when he put forth his budget plan he couldn’t even get the Democratic controlled Senate and the individual Democratic Senators to vote for it!!  So it is common place for every POTUS and Congress to “take it out on the Federal workforce” after they have been elected!  Obama, in my opinion is not good for the U.S. as his policies and agenda have not produced any positive results thus far.  Unemployment is still high (he has not put forth an effort to reach out to the business community – in fact he villifies businesses if they are not on his side), he and the Democratic controlled House and Senate rammed Obamacare down our throats and didn’t tell the truth about the costs and taxation, he has given a pass to tax cheaters as long as they are for him (Timothy at Treasury), he has done nothing to make those accountable for Fast & Furious be held for their acts, he appointed a Commission to provide ideas for improving the Nation’s fiscal problems and then blew Simpson/Bowles off, the fisaco in Libya is a mess and he doesn’t want to do anything about it, he places blame quickly on those he opposes and then will not admit his mistakes, he has not lived up to his promises such as GITMO, he has wasted taxpayer huge amounts money on failed businesses like it was nothing more than buying a candy bar that was a mistake, and he simply does not feel that he is subject to scrutiny by anyone!  So I am not for Obama, I researched his background before he ran in 2008 and knew his background of associates and ideas were not those that I as an American or as a believer in the U.S. could support.  I wasn’t convinced that he was qualified to be POTUS due to his limited experience and his overwhelming effort (financially) to seal his past records and documents gave me great concern.  So Createland, I am for the U.S. of America before myself, for if there is no U.S. of America then there is no freedom for Spec50.  SO, WHO ARE FOR?

  3. Rdpetehog says:

    Is Congress pay frozen also?

  4. $15300432 says:

    Wonder if Barak knows that congress is the last arbitrator of spending and no federal raises have been approved

  5. Eagle1 says:

    As far as I am concerned, you can keep the dam&%^ $.15 an hour raise!!!    Thank you AFGE for supporting this community organizer!   I haven’t had a raise since he took office and don’t look for one for the next four years!   You people wanted him back in office, then tis is what you get!   Enjoy!   Oh yeah, the POTUS is on a 4 million $ vacation in Hawaii on the government dime!!!   What a hipocrite!!

  6. Pat Fucile says:

    Like we wouldn’t have figured this out without being told.     I’m preparing for federal shutdown come March because I doubt there will be a budget because the Senate won’t get off their lazy butts and even look at a budget passed by the House.  

    • BOSFED says:

      Einstein with three degrees, the Senate cannot act on a budget because the House republican leadership can’t put together a legitimate, bipartisan budget.  BTW, you from Missouri?  I bet you believe in creationism too.  

      • $15300432 says:

        The house doesn’t need to pull together a “bipartisan” budget.  Its time that barak learns the meaning of the word compromise. He was elected president not dictator

        • Sagitt says:

          Where have you been for the past 2 years???  The T-Party stopped everything all along!!!  They can’t even spell the word “compromise”, let alone know how to use it.   They are rightfully known as the ‘ DO NOTHING’ Congress and that’s a fact!  

          They don’t care anything about the American people, only the $,$$$,$$$,$$$ their rich 1% $Millionaire buddies.

          They are the WORST Congress in American History!!!  They are LazyCS’s!!!

          • Pat Fucile says:

            You are kidding right?   Remember from 2008- 2010 when the Democrats had control of both the House and Senate.   They wouldn’t even let the Republicans make amendments, bring up bills, or even offer comments.    In fact, Obama told the Republicans they could come along for the ride but to shut and get to the back of the bus.    And what has stopped anything the last two years has been the Democrats, especially those in the Senate.   By the way, if you think the Democrats really care about the little guys, you’re wrong.      If they really cared for the little guys, why does the Obamacare taxes hit mainly the middle class?     I got news for you the only thing either the Democrats or the Republicans care about is power.

          • Createland says:

             But Pat, you forgot to mention that the republicans filibustered everything brought up by the democrats. 

          • Pat Fucile says:

            They didn’t filibuster everything.  And that is the only option the Republicans have left after the Democrats  in the Senate did the nuclear option and passed a rule the prevents the minority party from adding amendments to a bill (or budget).

          • $15300432 says:

            We had a democratic congress for 4 years and all that happened was 8 Trillion in new debt. The republicans and tea party want to insure that their grand children don’t inherit a $130,000 debt the day they are born thanks to barak and the dem party. Its easy to spend and give away $$ its the adult party the Republicans that plan to end this rush to communism

          • Sagitt says:

            I guess your memory doesn’t take you back to the Georg W. Bush years when he entered as President with a huge surplus?

          • $15300432 says:

            A recession and hollow military and a non existsnt CIA is what W inherited

          • guestwo says:

            Another ignorant statement.  In the 22nd century the Dems will still be blaming Bush for everything.  Hey, blame him for the 10 plagues on Egypt. 

          • Sagitt says:

            What ingorant about the truth?  You can’t take it back because it’s part of history and that what President Clinton handed over to him.   Read, if you can read, your history books.   I guess you didn’t get  your share of the checks President Bush mailed out to the public back then?     It was money from the surplus he inherited from the previous Clinton Administration.

          • guestwo says:

            Another ignorant statement from the ignorant liberals.  Read, if you can read an economic textbook.   

            Clinton ran deficits throught all 8 years of his term, and one can go to the US Treasury Department and looking through the history of the total outstanding debt through Clintons term. Every year Clinton was in office, the total national debt continued to climb. How Clinton managed to claim a surplus was that while the general operating budgets ran deficits but Clinton borrowed from numerous off budget funds to make the on budget fund a surplus. For example, in 2000, Clinton claimed a $230B surplus, but Clinton borrowed $152.3B from Social Security $30.9B from Civil Service Retirement Fund $18.5B from Federal Supplementary Medical insurance Trust Fund $15.0B from Federal Hospital Insurance Trust Fund $9.0B from the Federal Unemployment Trust Fund $8.2B from Military Retirement Fund $3.8B from Transportation Trust Funds $1.8B from Employee Life Insurance & Retirement fund $7.0B from others Total borrowed from off budget funds $246.5B, meaning that his $230B surplus is actually a $16.5B deficit. ($246.5B borrowed – $230B claimed surplus = $16.5B actual deficit). If there is ever a true surplus, then the national debt will go down.

      • Pat Fucile says:

        The Senate most certainly can act on a budget.   You see the way it works, the House passes a bill and sends it the the Senate.  The Senate than SHOULD either approve the budget sent by the house OR pass one of their own.   Then a committee of people from both chambers are supposed to get together and put together a budget that is a compromise, and then the members of both chambers then vote on that compromise.     But since the Senate refuses to do their jobs, heck, they won’t even look at the House budget bills, nothing gets done.      And for the record, you wouldn’t know bipartisan if it bit you on the butt.     Also, I ‘m not from Missouri and I’m not Christian either.     Now why don’t you come up with a real debate instead of puerile insults and snarky comments.

      • Spec50 says:

        BOSFED, stay on subject, creationism is not the topic.  BTW being from Missouri (of which I am not) is not an issue either, last I checked those from Missouri have as much right to express their opinion as those from any other State!  The Senate has failed to perform their duty as one half of the Congress and that is to propose their budget plan if they are not in favor of the House budget.  As citizens it is our duty to understand how the three branches of the Federal Government work and it is not to be based on what we want it to be simply because things are not going well for our political viewpoints.  It is not the sole responsibility of the House to pass a bipartsian budget.  It is not the sole resposibility of the Senate to put forth a bipartsian budget.  It is not the responsibility of the POTUS to put forth a bipartsian budget.  IT IS the responsibility of the two chambers of Congress to work in a bipartsian manner to put forth a bipartsian budget and it is the responsibility of the POTUS to work with Congress to get an agreed upon bipartsian budget that will best serve the Nation’s needs.  Doesn’t matter which party is in charge of any one particuliar area, so long as they work together.  From my viewpoint I have not seen the effort come forth, IN WRITING, from anywhere but the House.  The POTUS’ budget plan did not even get the support of the Democratic Senators!  Time is being wasted to bring about a bipartsian budget, so I fully expect that all taxes will be going up, Federal jobs will be at risk of not being filled, furloughs will become common place in the Federal Departments, FERS employees will contribute more to their retirement, health care costs will rise and more so due to Obamacare than having to do with anything else, the AMT will impact more than 30M Americans, SS tax break will go away (should never have been put in place to begin with (SS is in need of more dollars so Obama puts a SS tax break in place that only caused fewer dollars to be in the Trust Fund), and so many dollars have been wasted on failed Green environment companies and many of those dollars went into Obama’s re-election funds – how is that for fraud, waste, and abuse!  And the Federal employee will again serve as the “first area” to be negatively impacted when it comes to cut backs.  Why, because we are easy targets!  So whether you believe in creationism or not the above is what you have to look forward to for the next four years and perhaps beyond.  I did not vote for Obama, so I will not be disappointed in anything he does, but those Federal workers that did vote for him have no RIGHT whats0ever to complain for they should have known full well what he and his Democratic buddies stand for – they are for themselves first and always!

  7. Doug says:

    I think the extra day off is ok so everyone that is b——- should be thankful

  8. wombat1951 says:

    Harry Reid hasn’t bothered with a budget in over 3 years.   If the raise is dependent on Congress passing a budget, it’s going to be a long wait.

    • HRguru says:

      Because a CR means we continue the same level of spending we had previously, going back to 2009, or the year of the stimulus.  We’ve gone from about 20% of GDP to nearly 25% GDP federal spending.  All the talk about the wars, yada yada, is nonsense.  They’ve increased spending drastically, and they’ve locked it in through CR’s for going on 4 years now.   

  9. DON_Supervisor says:

    Thank you Mr President, I know you would stick it to the government employees after you were re-elected.

  10. HRguru says:

    But we got an extra day off!  

  11. Abeck56 says:

    Any fed employee should know we are currently under a CR that runs thru (guess when?)…… March 27th. The POTUS is very strategic in issuing the pay freeze memo, particular in light of the Dec 24th gift.  At least he did not say no pay increase for FY13.  Once the fiscal cliff is resolved and the dust settles then let’s see what he has to say. Until then, our opinions are a dime a dozen.

  12. Haus_von_stein says:

    The monetary value of the extra day off was only $100 less than what I would have been received in 12 months from a 0.5% raise.

  13. Kay Dee says:

    Did he sign that before or after he gave us Christmas Eve off?

  14. Any fed says:

    Yep.  First give Christmas eve.  Feel good moment.  Then freeze pay again.  Same as it ever was.