The White House has issued an Executive Order (EO) implementing the President’s pay freeze for General Schedule (GS) federal employees that is effective with the first pay period of 2019.
The President’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 budget proposal to Congress recommended a pay freeze for all federal employees covered by the GS. In calendar year 2018, GS employees received on average a 1.9 percent adjustment, with 1.4 percent designated for the across-the-board pay raise and an average 0.5 percent increase to regional locality pay rates.
Today’s EO formally implements the calendar year 2019 pay freeze. Please see the now-released 2019 General Schedule pay tables from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). The OPM pay tables are specific for each designated locality pay area (and Rest of the U.S.) and include the six new established locality pay areas in Birmingham, AL, Burlington, VT, Corpus Christi, TX, Omaha, NE, San Antonio, TX, and Virginia Beach, VA.
Earlier this year, the President, under authority provided by the federal pay law, issued an alternative pay plan to Congress formalizing his pay freeze plan. Under current law, the GS pay adjustment for calendar year 2019 prior to any addition for locality rates, should have been 2.1 percent.
NTEU strongly advocated on Capitol Hill for lawmakers to override the freeze and to instead pass a pay increase for deserving federal employees. This summer, the Senate passed bipartisan language as part of a larger appropriations measure (S. 3107, Senate FY19 Financial Services and General Government appropriations bill) to implement a 1.9 percent increase (identical to the 2018 increase). However, the House did not act to provide a pay raise, and the Senate-passed funding measure containing the 1.9 percent adjustment is now currently stalled as part of the overall shutdown situation at many NTEU-represented agencies. As the shutdown extends into its second week, NTEU has been urging both the White House and Congress to open agencies and for Congress to legislate a pay raise for calendar year 2019 as it also provides back pay to those who are furloughed.
It is shocking that, in the midst of an ongoing shutdown that is already causing severe financial distress to hundreds of thousands of federal employees nationwide, the White House is instituting a pay freeze for the same hard-working individuals who are currently going unpaid through no fault of our own.
NTEU will continue to press lawmakers on the need to provide a deserved pay raise in the funding measure that finally ends this shutdown.