What Impact Does the Continuing Resolution Have on the 2022 Federal Pay Raise?

Will the continuing resolution have an impact on the 2022 federal pay raise for federal employees?

Q: Just wondering, since Congress was looking to implement a ~2.7% 2022 federal pay raise in January, how does that work with a continuing resolution through mid-February? Will we continue to be paid our 2021 salaries (no raise) in January and February until such time as a budget is approved? If/when a budget is approved in February, would the pay raise be retroactive to January? Not sure how any of this works.

A: The short answer is “I don’t know” given the unusual circumstances.

The president has proposed an average 2.7% raise, and unless Congress overrides that with legislation, that becomes the raise for the following year under normal circumstances.

Based on past precedent, what may happen is that the president issues an Executive Order implementing the pay raise for 2022, next year starts off with the pay raise in place, but once Congress gets around to passing a budget, federal employees could ultimately see a different raise amount. However, the 2.7% raise could remain in place in that case as well as part of the budget that will presumably eventually get passed.

A similar situation occurred late in 2017 when the fiscal year 2018 budget and appropriations were not done by the end of the 2017 calendar year and a continuing resolution carried things forward until the spring. What happened in that case was President Trump issued an Executive Order implementing an overall average pay raise of 1.9% in December. It looked at one point like a partial shutdown might occur in March 2018, but Congress eventually passed a spending bill and the 1.9% pay raise ultimately remained in place.

The bottom line is that we won’t know for sure until the entire budget process plays out in Washington. We will continue to keep our readers up to date on news about the 2022 federal pay raise as it breaks.

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.