2019 locality pay tables expected early spring

Federal employees now have a time frame for when they can expect updated locality pay tables and their pay raises to kick-in.

As of now, the Office of Personnel Management has sent updated pay tables to the Office of Management and Budget for review and clearance, according to Tara Vales, spokesperson for Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), the chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government

After OMB’s review, President Donald Trump must sign an executive order to begin the process for federal payroll providers to  update their systems. Vales said the increase could come as soon as the March 22 pay check or as late as the April 5 check.

The March time frame was first reported by Government Executive.

Frustration over the delay in the pay raise and the little to no information coming from the administration is growing.  On Thursday, Senate lawmakers from Maryland and Virginia wrote a letter to OMB acting director Russell Vought requesting more details on when the 1.9 percent pay increase will happen.

“More than 800,000 dedicated federal workers went without pay during the recent government shutdown. We ask that you provide a timeframe for when these civil servants will see this modest cost-of-living adjustment in their paycheck,” wrote Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.).

This is the second letter to OPM and OMB this week. On Monday Tony Reardon, president of the National Treasury Employees Union sent a letter to Margaret Weichert, OPM acting director and OMB deputy director for Management, asking OPM for an update on when the new locality pay tables would be announced.

Back in December, during the partial government shutdown, the president froze pay at 2018 levels for the rest 2019. Though expected, employee unions and lawmakers alike, particularly Democrats and those from the Washington, D.C. area, expressed frustration with the White House’s decision.

This meant that nearly 72,000 employees in Birmingham, Alabama; Burlington, Vermont; Corpus Christi, Texas; Omaha, Nebraska; San Antonio, Texas; and Virginia Beach/Norfolk, Virginia, saw locality pay rates frozen for the first few months of 2019, even though the the president had approved them as areas separate from the “rest of U.S.” back in December. Employees in these six newly established locality pay areas should see different rates whenever the 2019 pay raise is implemented

Then, on Feb. 15 Trump effectively reversed the freeze by signing a spending deal to avert a second shutdown in 2019 and give federal workers a 1.9 percent pay raise retroactive to Jan. 1. This was made up of a 1.4 percent across-the-board raise and a 0.5 percent locality pay adjustment.

Federal News Network’s Jason Miller contributed to this report.

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