President Issues Executive Order Finalizing 2022 Federal Pay Raise

President Biden has issued an Executive Order implementing an average federal employee pay raise of 2.7% effective January 1, 2022.

As often happens, the road to arriving at the 2022 federal pay raise has taken some unusual twists and turns.

Federal employees will receive an average pay raise in 2022 of 2.7% including the amount allocated for locality pay.

President Biden issued an Executive Order on December 22nd implementing the pay raise effective on January 1, 2022. The 2022 pay tables are now on the Office of Personnel Management website.

President Biden issued an “alternative pay letter” on August 27, 2021 noting:

Specifically, I have determined that for 2022, the across-the-board base pay increase will be 2.2 percent and locality pay increases will average 0.5 percent, resulting in an overall average increase of 2.7 percent for civilian Federal employees, consistent with the assumption in my 2022 Budget.  This alternative pay plan decision will not materially affect our ability to attract and retain a well-qualified Federal workforce.

The adjustment described above shall take effect on the first day of the first applicable pay period beginning on or after January 1, 2022.

3.02% Pay Raise for Washington, DC and New York

More information will become available shortly on the amount allocated to each locality pay area. Here are several examples of how federal employees will fare in 2022.

A number of readers are in the Washington, DC statistical area. The total increase in this locality pay area for 2022 will be 3.02%.

Federal employees in the San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland, CA locality pay area will come out ahead of those in the Washington, DC area. The raise for this locality pay area will be 3.14%.

The “Rest of the United States” which is generally applicable to federal employees not in a locality pay area will receive a raise of 2.42%.

Any Chance of a Higher 2022 Federal Pay Raise?

For now, the federal government is still operating with a continuing resolution as a way of funding the government. An entire federal budget for the current fiscal year has not been passed.

While it is unlikely, in a volatile political environment, predicting what will happen in Congress is just a prediction and often unreliable as the political winds change. It would be unlikely to see Congress overturn an executive order on federal pay for 2022. Congress does have the authority to pass legislation as part of the budget process giving a higher raise.

That is unlikely. But, with the budget in disarray, and political alliances and negotiations changing as more time passes, it could happen. But, in preparing a personal budget for your household, it would be wiser to plan on the pay raise currently in place and likely to remain in place. Anything extra would be an unexpected bonus.

The text of the Executive Order is included below.

Executive Order on Adjustments of Certain Rates of Pay

December 22, 2021

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1.  Statutory Pay Systems.  The rates of basic pay or salaries of the statutory pay systems (as defined in 5 U.S.C. 5302(1)), as adjusted under 5 U.S.C. 5303, are set forth on the schedules attached hereto and made a part hereof:

     (a)  The General Schedule (5 U.S.C. 5332(a)) at Schedule 1;

     (b)  The Foreign Service Schedule (22 U.S.C. 3963) at Schedule 2; and

     (c)  The schedules for the Veterans Health Administration of the Department of Veterans Affairs (38 U.S.C. 7306, 7404; section 301(a) of Public Law 102–40) at Schedule 3.

Sec. 2.  Senior Executive Service.  The ranges of rates of basic pay for senior executives in the Senior Executive Service, as established pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 5382, are set forth on Schedule 4 attached hereto and made a part hereof.

Sec. 3.  Certain Executive, Legislative, and Judicial Salaries.  The rates of basic pay or salaries for the following offices and positions are set forth on the schedules attached hereto and made a part hereof:

     (a)  The Executive Schedule (5 U.S.C. 5312–5318) at Schedule 5;

     (b)  The Vice President (3 U.S.C. 104) and the Congress (2 U.S.C. 4501) at Schedule 6; and

     (c)  Justices and judges (28 U.S.C. 5, 44(d), 135, 252, and 461(a)) at Schedule 7.

Sec. 4.  Uniformed Services.  The rates of monthly basic pay (37 U.S.C. 203(a)) for members of the uniformed services, as adjusted under 37 U.S.C. 1009, and the rate of monthly cadet or midshipman pay (37 U.S.C. 203(c)) are set forth on Schedule 8 attached hereto and made a part hereof.

Sec. 5.  Locality-Based Comparability Payments.

     (a)  Pursuant to section 5304 of title 5, United States Code, and my authority to implement an alternative level of comparability payments under section 5304a of title 5, United States Code, locality-based comparability payments shall be paid in accordance with Schedule 9 attached hereto and made a part hereof.

     (b)  The Director of the Office of Personnel Management shall take such actions as may be necessary to implement these payments and to publish appropriate notice of such payments in the Federal Register.

Sec. 6.  Administrative Law Judges.  Pursuant to section 5372 of title 5, United States Code, the rates of basic pay for administrative law judges are set forth on Schedule 10 attached hereto and made a part hereof.

Sec. 7.  Effective Dates.  Schedule 8 is effective January 1, 2022.  The other schedules contained herein are effective on the first day of the first applicable pay period beginning on or after January 1, 2022.

Sec. 8.  Prior Order Superseded.  Executive Order 13970 of December 31, 2020, is superseded as of the effective dates specified in section 7 of this order.

December 22, 2021.

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