President Donald Trump signed an executive order Dec. 31 increasing basic pay for federal employees by 1 percent in 2021.

The order comes after Congress declined to include provisions for federal pay in fiscal year 2021 budget legislation, placing the decision in the hands of the Trump administration, which first proposed the 1 percent increase in February budget documents.

Federal employees nearly faced a pay freeze in 2021, under a Senate budget proposal that would have mandated a freeze regardless of administration intentions. That provision was done away with in the final budget, however.

The pay increase does not, however, impact locality pay, which provides certain employees who live and work in expensive parts of the country with higher pay than what is listed in the base schedule. Locality pay will therefore remain at 2020 levels this year.

However, OPM rules to establish a new Des Moines-Ames-West Des Moines, Iowa, locality pay area and to include Imperial County, California, in the Los Angeles-Long Beach, California, area means that employees in those areas will receive a locality boost in 2021 that they did not have in the previous year.

The 2021 pay tables are available on the Office of Personnel Management website.

Jessie Bur covers federal IT and management.

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