Fedweek

It's almost certain that the next pay distribution for federal employees will not contain either the new rates or the back pay.

Now almost a month since President Trump signed into law an average 1.9 percent federal employee pay raise to be paid retroactive to January 6, salary rates still have not been increased to reflect the boost nor have back payments been made.

With the end of the current pay cycle just ahead on Saturday (March 16) it is virtually certain that the next pay distribution for federal employees won’t contain either the new rates or the back pay. That process can’t even start until the administration issues the revised pay tables—which will include variations by locality, ranging from about 1.7 to 2.3 percent—which are generated by OPM but formally set by an executive order that has yet to be issued. Those new rates then will have to be entered into payroll systems, and for the back pay element agencies will have to calculate how much to increase pay already received, including special forms of pay such as overtime and premium pay.

The delay has left many employees frustrated and some worried that in some way the increase won’t be paid. However, the raise has been signed into law and there has been no sign that the administration is looking for a way to avoid paying it. In a similar situation in both 2003 and 2004, the pay order was not issued until more than a month had passed from enactment of the raise, and it was several pay periods later until many employees saw an increase in biweekly pay and received the back pay—which was paid as a lump-sum, either with a regular distribution or as a separate distribution.

Many employee also have asked whether they will be due interest on the back pay portion due to the delay. In the prior situations, the policy was that no such interest was payable.