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The White House has recommended a 4.6 percent federal employee pay raise for next January in what would be the largest raise since 2002, saying that “federal pay adjustments have not kept pace with the national labor market overall, or increases in the cost of goods, services and benefits.”

The amount “is needed to prevent federal pay from falling even further behind. This pay raise helps ensure fair compensation for employees by keeping pace with economic indicators—and, also recognizes the federal workforce’s tireless and selfless dedication to mission and service to the American people,” the annual budget proposal says.


The 4.6 figure matches the number indicated by federal pay law and also matches the proposal for uniformed military personnel—in contrast to many past years when the recommendation for the latter group exceeded that for the former.

Federal employee organizations lauded the raise although saying they will continue pushing for the 5.1 percent proposed by some congressional Democrats. That proposal called for carving out 1 percentage point as a locality component, which would result in some variation by locality. The White House’s proposed amount also presumably would be split, although that is not specified.

Also without providing specifics, the budget says the administration “is proposing a number of changes to federal compensation to include: modifying critical position pay, establishing a critical skills incentive, increasing the special rate limitation for certain positions, and updating General Schedule pay setting for new appointments.”

Further, the FEHB program would be among programs affected by a broader proposal regarding mental health service coverage in health insurance. It would require coverage of three primary visits and three behavior health visits without cost-sharing.”

The budget otherwise is silent regarding federal benefits.

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