White House Reverses Course, Supports Pay Freeze in 2021

The White House has changed its position on a proposed pay raise for federal employees in 2021.

The White House has done a 180 from earlier this year on the prospect of a pay raise for federal employees in 2021.

The White House initially proposed a 1% pay raise for federal employees next year. That was back in February when the budget proposal was released.

But in November, the Senate introduced a series of funding bills, one of which contained a suggested pay freeze for federal employees in 2021. It is this proposal that the Trump administration is now backing, at least in part because of the economic situation with the COVID-19 pandemic.

A November 30 letter from White House Office of Management and Budget Director Russell Vought says:

Federal Civilian Employee Pay. In the context of budgetary constraints and the recent, pandemic-related impacts on non-Federal labor markets, the Administration supports the policy in the bill to maintain for 2021 the current level of Federal civilian employee pay.

So is a pay freeze a done deal for next year? Not yet. This is just the latest move in the political process.

Any funding legislation has to be passed by Congress and signed into law before next year’s pay raise is known for sure. This normally happens in December, but as we saw with the 2019 pay raise, even once a final pay figure is set, it is not impossible for the final figure to change in the following year, something which could be more likely than usual with a new president and Congress coming to Washington in 2021.

As always, we will continue to provide any updates on a pay raise for next year as they become available.

About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of FedSmith.com. He has over 20 years of combined experience in media and government services, having worked at two government contracting firms and an online news and web development company prior to his current role at FedSmith.