Bill Would Provide 5.1% Federal Pay Raise in 2023

Legislation introduced in Congress would set the 2023 federal pay raise at 5.1%.

Federal employees would get an average 5.1% annual pay raise in 2023 under legislation just introduced in Congress.

The Federal Adjustment of Income Rates (FAIR) Act (H.R. 6398) was introduced by Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-VA) and Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI). It would set the 2023 average federal pay raise at 5.1% via a 4.1% across-the-board increase plus a 1% average increase to locality pay.

A press release on the bill explains the rationale for the 5.1% figure:

Over the past decade, federal employees have endured government shutdowns, pay freezes, hiring freezes, and lost pay as a result of sequestration-related furloughs. More recently, they’ve spent two years working tirelessly throughout a global pandemic in service to the American people. The FAIR Act’s wage adjustment restores years of lost wage increases for federal employees by ensuring that federal employees serving in all 50 States on behalf of constituents in every congressional district earn an average pay increase of 5.1% percent.

With 2021 inflation hitting 7%, many federal employees are probably wanting to see a figure higher than 5.1%. How inflation will fare for the remainder of 2022 remains to be seen, and whether or not Congress and the president would factor that into a 2023 pay raise for federal employees is unknown at this point. However, the annual pay raise for federal employees is not based on inflation; rather, it is based largely on salary levels in specific locality pay areas. The reality of the current inflation situation though is that it rose so rapidly last year that it effectively wiped out the 2022 federal pay raise.

The FAIR Act has become an annual tradition for the two lawmakers and it is introduced each year around this time to give federal employees a pay raise in the following year that would generally be higher than they otherwise would receive. The figure proposed in the legislation generally does not come to pass, however.

Last year, for example, Schatz and Connolly’s bill called for a 3.2% pay raise in 2022. As our readers know, the final pay raise this year ended up being 2.7%.

For 2021, the FAIR Act proposed a 3.5% federal pay raise. The final figure ended up being 1%.

Regardless of what may end up happening with this bill or the final 2023 federal pay raise figure, the introduction of the FAIR Act represents the first step in kicking off the annual process of determining the pay raise for federal employees for the coming year. As more events transpire that can impact your future pay raise, FedSmith will continue to keep our readers informed about them.

About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of 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.