White House Budget Proposal Invests in Federal Workforce

Press Release May 28, 2021

Washington D.C. – Federal employees would receive higher pay, expanded benefits and greater resources at the workplace under President Biden’s first budget proposal released today.

The proposal includes a 2.7 percent average pay increase for federal employees in 2022, a paid family leave program that would help working Americans care for critically ill family members, and agency funding levels that enable federal employees to have the tools and staffing they need to do their jobs.

“This budget proposal is a recognition that our nation’s nonpolitical, career civil servants are worthy of investment,” said NTEU National President Tony Reardon. “Only when the government is able to recruit and retain highly skilled employees can our federal agencies do what needs to be done on behalf of the American people, and this budget is all-in on that concept.”

Reardon called the 2.7 percent average pay raise a solid step in the right direction, especially after four years of White House proposals for low or no pay increases and policies that disrespect middle class public servants across the country.

But NTEU is also working with Congress to pass the Federal Adjustment of Income Rates Act (H.R. 392 and S. 561) which would provide federal employees a 3.2 percent average pay increase next year. This legislation has broad support and provides a 2.2 percent average across the board increase and a 1 percent adjustment to locality pay, which is essential for employees who live in high-cost areas of the country.

“We look forward to working with the administration and lawmakers to meaningfully recognize the contributions of the federal workforce, a bedrock of our democracy,” Reardon said. “Before, during and after the pandemic, these civil servants always step up to meet the missions of their agencies and the needs of taxpayers.”

The Federal Salary Council reports that federal employees make 23.11 percent less than their counterparts in the private sector.

NTEU fully supports President Biden’s request to give American workers paid family and medical leave for when they or a family member has a serious medical problem and needs extra care.

“For the first time in four years, federal employees can read the president's budget proposal and feel hopeful about the future,” Reardon said. “There are no devastating cuts to their retirement benefits, insulting commentary about their role in government or dramatic reductions in agency staffing or funding. Instead, President Biden’s budget honors federal employees and values their contributions to our country by investing in them and their agencies, and in return expects them to continue delivering high quality service to the American people. That is a fair bargain and one that NTEU strongly supports.”

President Biden’s budget also calls for agency funding increases across government. The IRS, for example, would receive $13.5 billion for fiscal year 2022, which is enough to support an additional 8,493 full-time employees over the 2021 operating plan.

“Rebuilding the IRS workforce after a decade of cuts is essential to making sure our tax code is enforced fully and fairly, and we will urge Congress to follow through on this proposal and help improve enforcement and customer service at the IRS,” Reardon said.

NTEU represents employees in 34 federal agencies and departments.