Will Your Pay Raise Take Effect In January? Maybe Not

Controversial provisions in the huge spending bill may delay agency budgets and the federal pay raise

Will you get a pay raise in January? If so, how much will it be?

Our advice: don’t spend the money you expect from a new raise on Christmas gifts this year. Your credit card bills may have come and gone by the time you see the extra money.

Eventually, it appears federal employees will get a 4.1% raise. But that may not happen on January 1st.

The reason is simple. While House and Senate negotiators have agreed to the 4.1% amount, Congress has not passed the huge spending bill that contains authorization for the raise. If that happens, the amount of the raise for federal employees in January will be the 2% raise recommended by President Bush earlier this year.

As you may recall, something similar happened last year. As most readers know, the government process doesn’t usually move quickly. Employees eventually got the larger raise but Congress had to approve the measure, the President had to sign the bill, then OPM and other administration representatives had to decide how to implement the raise in different locality pay areas.

The result was that everyone got the larger 4.1% pay boost but some did not get it until mid-way through the year.

So why won’t the omnibus spending bill pass this year?

There are several controversial issues in the bill that some in Congress don’t like. Some Democrats are very unhappy with provisions in the bill and think that delaying passage until January may give them a better chance of making changes. The controversial issues include revision of overtime payment rules (which will also impact some federal employees) and also provisions that, according to some contractors, would effectively kill the move to contract or compete more jobs currently held by federal employees.

In effect, you will probably see the 4.1% raise. The unknown factor is when you will see it.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving turkey!

About the Author

Ralph Smith has several decades of experience working with federal human resources issues. He has written extensively on a full range of human resources topics in books and newsletters and is a co-founder of two companies and several newsletters on federal human resources. Follow Ralph on Twitter: @RalphSmith47