President Biden’s 5.2% Federal Pay Raise for 2024: A Closer Look

Federal Pay Raise

Unpacking President Biden’s 5.2% Federal Pay Raise for 2024: What Does It Mean for Federal Workers?

President Biden has unveiled a proposal for a 5.2% federal pay raise for civilian employees, slated to take effect on January 1, 2024. This marks the most substantial increase federal employees would see since the Carter administration’s 9.1% raise in 1980 (Federal News Network). But what does this raise really mean for federal workers, and how does it align or diverge from prior initiatives? Here’s an in-depth look.

How the 5.2% Federal Pay Raise Breaks Down

According to Drew Friedman’s article in Federal News Network, the proposed 5.2% federal pay raise comprises a 4.7% across-the-board increase and a 0.5% average locality pay adjustment. The inclusion of locality pay is consistent with the Federal Employees Pay Comparability Act (FEPCA) of 1990, which seeks to reduce the wage gap between federal and non-federal pay based on locality. However, President Biden, like his predecessors, chose an alternative pay plan rather than fully adopting FEPCA’s formula.

What Congress’s Silence Signifies

Interestingly, neither the House nor the Senate’s spending packages for 2024 have made specific provisions about the civilian federal pay raise. This silence usually signals agreement with the administration’s plans, as Drew Friedman highlighted in Federal News Network.

Addressing the Wage Gap and Attracting Talent

One of the key drivers for this proposed federal pay raise is to attract, recruit, and retain skilled federal workers. According to estimates from the President’s Pay Agent, fully closing the public-private wage gap would cost approximately $19.2 billion. A Federal Salary Council report found that federal workers earned 24.09% less than their non-federal counterparts in 2022. This pay raise aims to chip away at that gap.

FAIR Act Versus Biden’s Plan

While the proposed 5.2% federal pay raise is a step in the right direction, it falls short of the 8.7% average pay increase proposed under the FAIR Act by Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) and Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii). Nonetheless, Rep. Connolly described Biden’s announcement as “great news” (Federal News Network).

Union Responses and Future Plans

Federal employee unions such as the National Treasury Employees Union and the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE) responded positively to the news, emphasizing the critical role of federal employees in serving the country (Federal News Network).

Additionally, the Office of Personnel Management is planning to establish four new locality pay areas by January 2024, benefiting nearly 33,000 federal employees in specified localities (Federal News Network).

Final Thoughts on Biden’s Proposed 5.2% Federal Pay Raise for 2024

President Biden’s proposed 5.2% federal pay raise for 2024 seems to be a step towards valuing the federal workforce more appropriately. It aims not just to keep pace with the cost of living but also to make federal employment more competitive. However, the onus is now on Congress to either endorse this proposal or introduce an alternative pay scheme.


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