Workforce

Pay raise, family leave become law

By Orhan Cam shutterstock photo ID: 545314126 

President Donald Trump signed the annual defense policy bill and two funding bills into law late on Dec. 20, in time to avoid a government shutdown.

The National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2020 includes a new benefit for federal employees -- 12 weeks of paid family leave upon the birth, adoption or fostering of a child. The benefit takes effect Oct. 1, 2020, and covers feds with one year or more of service.

The two funding packages, signed before the current continuing resolution expired at midnight Dec. 20, fund discretionary programs at $1.4 trillion, with most department seeing spending hikes. The bill includes a 2.6% pay raise for federal employees and an average uptick of 0.5% in locality pay, so many feds will see a 3.1% pay raise.

Trump tweeted out a letter to "Our Incredible Federal Workforce" after signing the funding bills in evening.

"Your great contributions to this Nation are why I am pleased to inform you that I recently signed into law major improvements to compensation and benefits for Federal Employees," Trump wrote. "As the chief executive of the Country's largest workforce, I am proud to say that our Government is leading by example in changing the culture of how we support working families."

The House and the Senate passed the funding bills earlier this week, dividing the 12 appropriations buckets into two bills: one focused on domestic spending, including Veterans Affairs and foreign aid, and the other funding defense, homeland security and law enforcement as well as commerce, science, financial services and general government. Both bills easily passed in both chambers of Congress.

The signing of full-year appropriations bills not only ends the threat of a shutdown, it gets agencies off of continuing resolutions, giving acquisitions and future planning a boost.

The bills also include a host of cyber, IT, acquisition and government operations changes. One notable provision is a $25 million boost for the central Technology Modernization Fund -- a no-year revolving pool of money authorized through 2025 that agencies can access to underwrite IT upgrades, typically moves to managed services.

The family leave measure in the NDAA is the result of years of activity on the part of federal employee advocates and lawmakers. The legislative language was offered as an amendment by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), who has long backed family and dependent care leave benefits for feds. The benefit was added in a bit of legislative horse-trading that allowed for the establishment of Space Force.

Tony Reardon, national president of the National Treasury Employees' Union, called the new policy, "one of the most consequential workplace benefits granted to federal employees in many, many years."

About the Author

Adam Mazmanian is executive editor of FCW.

Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial roles at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, New York Press, Architect Magazine and other publications.

Click here for previous articles by Mazmanian. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.


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