2019 Federal Pay Raise Update: Trump Signs Executive Order For Retroactive GS Pay Increase

UPDATE: 03/29/19: New pay tables including those with locality adjustments can be found, here. Details regarding retroactive pay can be found, here.

On Thursday, President Trump signed an executive order that made the 1.9 percent pay raise promised to federal employees earlier this year official.

The raise was part of a spending bill signed by President Trump on February 15. The bill allowed for the government to remain open through September 30, while also issuing a 1.9 percent pay raise for General Schedule employees. The raise includes a 1.5 percent increase across the board, with an additional .4 percent allocated for locality pay. According to the Federal News Network, the raise is applicable to the vice president, members of the Senior Executive Service, political appointees and GS-15s who have reached the Executive Schedule ceiling. Pay raises for higher level government positions have been on freeze for several years.

When does the new pay raise take effect? What about backpay?

The increase is retroactive, with an effective date of January 1, 2019. Federal employees can expect to see the raise appear in their next paycheck. According to The Hill, the check should also include back pay from January 1 to the present. Newsweek has reached out to the OPM for confirmation.

The executive order signed today rolls back one signed by the President in December which froze pay rates for GS employees to 2018 levels. According to Margaret Weichert, acting director of the Office of Personnel Management and deputy director for the Office of Management and Budget, finalyzing the new pay tables was a long and complex legal process that points to a need for change in the federal government's pay and employee management structure.

“To me this is an object lesson in the complexity of our pay systems,” said Weichert. “The EO that unleashes the retroactive pay is dealing with pay tables that are so highly complex that it is exceedingly legalistic how we actually have to get this squared away … it's a good example of why we need innovation in how we look at the structure of our civil service's entire framework.”

In addition to signing the executive order, the President also approved the new locality pay scale tables for 2019. The OPM is expected to release the new tables and locality adjustments in the near future. No official date has been given. As more is learned about when and where the new pay tables will be published, we'll be sure to update this post.

UPDATE: 03/29/19:New pay tables including those with locality adjustments can be found, here. Details regarding retroactive pay can be found, here.