3.2% increase proposed by the Fed; Tax debt, MSPB rights also on the agenda

Among the bills recently introduced in Congress is S-561, which seeks to set a salary increase for federal employees of 3.2% for January 2022, to be divided into 2.2% overall plus 1 percentage point to be divided into local salary.

The measure mirrors the one (HR-392) previously introduced in the House and serves as a statement of intent by its Democratic sponsors ahead of the annual budget process that sets the increase for the following year. This process typically begins in early February with the presentation of the White House budget containing its position on an increase, but which has been delayed this year due to the presidential transition. We still do not know when this proposal will be made.

Meanwhile, several Senate Republicans have reintroduced (S-489) a bill prohibiting those with “a large unpaid tax debt” from working for the federal government – either to be newly hired or to keep their current jobs. – unless they work with the IRS to settle this debt. The bill would also require annual public reporting by agencies of tax crimes among their employees.

HR-1624 was also introduced, to extend the MSPB’s appeal rights to certain employees in non-union units there who currently do not have these rights. At present, employees covered by the postal executive and administrative annex remuneration system only have these rights if they are veterans or occupy certain staff-related positions.

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Federal Employee Handbook 2021