Fedweek

Palm Beach, Fla - Dec 2019: President Donald Trump waves to members of the media following a Christmas Eve video teleconference with members of the military at his Mar-a-Lago estate

President Trump has released a letter “to our incredible federal workforce” saying that their “devoted and vigilant efforts are critical to our nation’s success as we work together to serve the citizens of our magnificent country.”

“In 2020, most federal employees will see their pay increase by an average of 3.1 percent—the largest raise in more than 10 years. This pay raise reflects the excellent work of our federal workforce and complements another unprecedented benefit that I also just signed into law—paid parental leave,” it says.

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The latter provision “ensures parents are not forced to choose between their jobs and spending precious time with their children . . . as the chief executive of the country’s largest workforce, I am proud to say that our government is leading by example in changing the culture of how we support working families. Along with the pay raise, the new paid parental leave benefit will help ensure federal employees have the resources and support they need to raise healthy and happy families,” it says.

The original White House budget proposal sought no federal employee raise for 2020 but Trump later endorsed a 2.6 percent boost.

House Democrats initiated the 3.1 percent figure, which was included in a budget measure providing funding for the remainder of the current fiscal year.

Trump’s initial budget did propose paid parental leave for federal employees among other workers but the benefit was included in a defense budget bill at the impetus of House Democrats and was included in the final version of that bill as part of a deal in which they dropped a bid for providing paid leave for other medical-related purposes as well, while consenting to his call for creating a Space Force as a new branch of the military.

Trump’s message also cited the full day off he granted federal employees for December 24—past practice had been to grant a half day off at most when Christmas Day falls on a Wednesday—and said that due to a strong stock market, “your Thrift Savings Plans are reaching extraordinary levels!”