Pay Raise Saga Limping to A Conclusion

With the approval of the omnibus spending bill by the House, the 2008 federal pay raise saga may be limping to an end this week despite predictions of an administrative disaster befalling the government with another shutdown or the possibility of a continuing resolution for the rest of the year.

The 2008 federal employee pay raise is continuing to follow a path that will most likely result in an average raise of 3.5% for federal employees in 2008.

Those federal employees who have been around for awhile will undoubtedly feel like they have been down this road before. The President proposes a raise amount, Congress approves a different amount, the President submits an alternative pay plan, Congress overrides the alternative plan and approves a higher amount than the President requested.

So here is some good news if you are wondering how much additional money will be in your paycheck next year. The big spending bill to fund the federal government for the rest of fiscal year 2008 passed in the House of Representatives this morning. Buried within the 1500 pages or so of the bill is a provision that would reportedly give federal employees the 3.5% average pay raise that many are already expecting. The bill would effectively overturn the alternative pay plan recently submitted by President Bush that would have given an average raise of 3% for next year. The compromise measure may mean the end of the showdown between the President and Congress over the budget and, if finally approved, would end the possibility of a government shutdown because of the budget disagreement. The Senate is expected to add more money for the Iraq war, the bill will then return to the House and it will then go to the President for his signature who is expected to sign the final product if it proceeds as expected.

Many analysts see the final compromise as favoring more of the policies favored by Republicans. No doubt, many readers will just be relieved to see that there will not be a government shutdown and that agencies may soon know what their total budgets will look like for the remainder of this fiscal year. With any luck, the actual numbers will trickle down to project offices in government by February or March.

For more information on locality pay and how it will apply to the specific locality pay areas, see Understanding the 2008 Federal Pay Raise.

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