Is a 5.2% 2024 Federal Pay Raise Ensured?

An average 5.2% 2024 federal pay raise is virtually certain because of recent events. Here is a quick summary.

Update: President Biden has issued the executive order finalizing the 2024 federal pay raise. The original story follows below.

2024 Pay Raise Virtually Ensured

The House of Representatives has started its Christmas recess and will reconvene after the start of the new year. The Senate is currently still in session but Senators will be leaving town shortly and returning early in 2024 as well. No action has been taken on the 2024 raise for federal employees. This means that the proposed federal employee pay raise is virtually ensured for 2024.

An executive order on the pay raise will be issued before the end of December with the 2024 pay tables. A pay raise of 5.2% will be the largest pay raise for federal employees since 1980 when it exceeded 9% as a result of high inflation.

While anything can happen in politics, these events mean there is virtually no chance the proposed 5.2% 2024 average pay raise will not be implemented.

NDAA Has 5.2% Raise for Military Personnel

The fiscal year 2024 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) has also been passed by Congress and signed by the president. The bill provides for a 2024 pay raise of 5.2% for military members, which can be an influential factor in the 2024 federal pay raise.

This is the largest military pay raise in over 20 years. It is not a coincidence the president’s alternative pay plan for 2024 also provides for an average pay raise of 5.2% for the federal workforce. This is derived from a basic raise of 4.7% and an additional 0.5% for locality pay. In practice, this means that some federal employees will receive a raise that is higher than the average and some will get less.

Here are examples of how the amount of the pay raise is different in each locality pay area. In 2023, for example, the raise in Seattle was 5.15%, 4.95% in New York, 4.85% in Minneapolis, and the “rest of the U.S.” category was 4.86%. A list of the 2023 raises in each locality pay area is included in this article.

What is Pay Parity?

Pay parity is the concept that federal employees should receive the same annual pay raise as military personnel receive.

There is no requirement for pay parity. The argument is frequently raised by federal employee unions when a higher raise for military personnel is proposed. It is also raised by legislators, particularly from the Washington, DC metropolitan area, who seek a higher raise for many of their constituents working for the federal government.

Because the military may get a 5.2% pay raise in 2024, and President Biden has already approved this same average pay raise for federal employees, it is increasingly likely that 5.2% will be the final raise for the federal workforce in 2024.

While this is likely, Congress could still intervene. That is unlikely to happen at this late date.

The final decision will be announced with an Executive Order in late December. In 2023, this Executive Order was announced on December 23rd.

Here is a chart displaying the average military and civilian pay raises.

This table shows how the average military and civilian pay raises have come out over the last 20 years:

YearMilitary Pay RaiseFederal Employee Pay Raise

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