President Trump has issued an executive order finalizing new pay rates for this year reflecting an average 1.9 percent raise retroactive to January 6.
Under the order, GS raises will range by locality from 2.27 percent in the Washington-Baltimore locality to 1.66 percent in the catchall “rest of the U.S.” locality for areas in the that do not have a city-based rate; Alaska and Hawaii are localities in their entirety.
The pay order also increases the pay caps that apply in the upper steps of GS-15 in some localities from $164,200 to $166,500. The separate cap applying to the SES and other pay systems at senior levels is rising from $189,600 to $192,300, with a new minimum of $127,914, up from $126,148. Employees in those systems do not get raises automatically but instead receive raises based on performance ratings.
Wage grade employees are to receive the same raise applying to GS employees locally, up to a cap of 2.06 percent.
The issuance of the order six weeks after the raise was signed into law came just ahead of the close of the current biweekly pay period applying to most employees, March 30. The new rates now have to be programmed into agency payroll systems, making it questionable whether the next pay distribution will reflect them.
The back pay element will have to be calculated separately and is a more complicated, and thus longer, task—especially for employees who have earned various forms of premium or overtime pay in that time. In similar situations in 2003 and 2004, some employees received the back pay as an add-on to a regular pay distribution while others received it as a separate distribution.