Long-Term Costs and a 2019 Federal Employee Pay Raise

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has issued a statement opposing a federal employee pay raise in 2019.

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has issued a “Statement of Administration Policy” regarding government appropriations for the coming year. Specifically, the statement of policy is addressing the Senate spending package. The bill is likely to receive a vote in the next few days.

Federal Employee Pay Raise and OMB Policy Statement

The spending package in the House does not reference a 2019 pay raise for federal employees. As noted in Congress and the 2019 Federal Employee Pay Raise, “In recent years, Congress has left the decision on a pay raise up to the president. This decision has included a decision not to have any federal pay raise including one stretch of a pay freeze extending from 2011-2013.”

The Senate version does provide for a 1.9% pay raise in 2019.

If the final bill that is passed does not include a provision for a pay raise next year, it is very likely there will not be an across-the-board pay raise in 2019.

The OMB policy statement takes issue with the Senate calling for a raise in 2019 for federal employees. Here is the language in the OMB statement:

Pay Adjustment.

The Administration is concerned that the bill provides an across-the-board pay increase for Federal employees in calendar year 2019. Across-the-board pay increases have long-term fixed costs, yet fail to address existing pay disparities, or target mission critical recruitment and retention goals. As proposed in the Administration’s request for a Workforce Fund, the Administration continues to support performance-based pay that is strategically aligned toward recruiting, retaining, and retraining high performers and those in mission-critical areas.

The OMB statement does not ensure that the bill will be altered in the Senate to eliminate the pay raise. On the other hand, it certainly does not increase the odds the pay raise will survive in the final Senate version (or the final version that passes in Congress).

In short, the question of a 2019 pay raise issue is still open.

OMB Statement of Policy on Federal Appropriations

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