Fedweek

It took several more pay cycles to fix problems that arose in 2003 and 2004 when retroactive raises with back pay similarly were enacted.

With the next biweekly federal employee pay distribution just days ahead, agencies have delivered a mixed message to their employees regarding the average 1.9 percent pay raise and back pay retroactive to January 6.

Some have told employees that both the raise and the back pay will be in the upcoming distribution—covering the pay period that ended April 13—being made later this week or early next week, in most cases. Others have told employees that the distribution will include the raise but that the back pay part may be delayed. Still others have said not to expect either until the payout for the current biweekly pay period, which ends April 27, with the distribution about a week after that.

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In all cases, employees are experiencing a second round of impatience. The retroactive raise was signed into law February 15 and not until six weeks later did the White House issue an executive order carrying it out and setting new pay tables reflecting increases ranging by locality from 1.66 to 2.27 percent. The current wait, following that order until the money is actually paid out, will be three weeks at least and five weeks for those who will have to wait one more cycle.

It took several more pay cycles to fix problems that arose in 2003 and 2004 when retroactive raises with back pay similarly were enacted. The highest potential for problems involves employees whose salary rate changed—for reasons such as promotion or a move to a different locality—or who earned overtime or premium pay during the back pay period.