Washington DC, Jan 10, 2019 - USDA employee Lona Powell, center, holds up her sign as she joins union members and other federal employees at a rally to call for an end to the partial government shutdown, at AFL-CIO Headquarters in Washington. Image: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP/Shutterstock

The continued delay in paying out the average 1.9 percent raise enacted into law February 15—and the accompanying delay in paying back pay reflecting that boost retroactive to January 6—is generating growing frustration in the federal workforce, their organizations and among some on Capitol Hill.

Most employees are to receive pay distributions later this week or early next week for the pay period that ended March 16, the third pay distribution since enactment of the retroactive raise that will not contain the increase. For GS and wage grade employees, raises will vary by locality from about 1.7 to about 2.3 percent, but as has been the case for more than a month now, the administration still has not released the new pay tables.


The length of the wait for a formal order containing those tables has now exceeded that of one of the two prior similar situations in 2003 and 2004, although is still below that of the other, in which the wait was six weeks. In those cases, even after the tables are issued, there was a time lag for the new rates to be programmed into payroll systems, and in many cases an even longer wait until back pay was calculated and paid out.