In a rather startling change of direction, President Trump has recommended a 2.6% pay raise for the federal government’s General Schedule employees effective in January 2020.
Locality pay rates would remain at the same level as 2019 though which will be something of a surprise to the large number of federal employees in locality pay areas. This will have a larger impact on federal workers in places such as the Washington, DC metropolitan area and San Francisco where the locality pay raises are often the highest in the country for federal workers.
President Trump’s proposed budget for 2020 was for a pay freeze for the federal workforce. As many will recall, President Trump had also requested a pay freeze in 2019. That was eventually overturned by Congress though and an average retroactive pay raise of 1.9% was eventually implemented for this year overriding the president’s recommendation. The overall pay raise for 2019 was for 1.4% with an additional average of 0.5% for locality pay.
The President’s letter to Congress reads, in part:
Specifically, I have determined that for 2020 — while across-the-board base pay will increase by 2.6 percent, as prescribed under 5 U.S.C. 5303(a) — the locality pay percentages
shownin Schedule 9 of Executive Order 13866 of March 28, 2019, will remain at their 2019 levels. This alternative pay plan decision will not materially affect our ability to attract and retain a well‑qualified Federal workforce.