Question: Is a pay freeze a done deal,? or is there still a chance for a raise next year?

Answer: President Trump¡¯s budgetary proposal last week recommended no federal employee raise for January 2019. That is only a proposal, and Congress would have to agree; some members have proposed a 3 percent raise.

However, Congress has deferred to the White House on raises in recent years. By staying silent, it has allowed recommended boosts in the 1?percent to 2 percent range for the last five years. Before that, there was a three-year freeze over 2011-2013.

During that time, employees in the largest pay system, the General Schedule, continued to receive within-grade raises, paid every one, two or three years to those performing acceptably. But such raises ¡ª worth about 3 percent of salary ¡ª stop when an employee reaches the top of a pay grade. Also, some government pay systems don¡¯t include them.

Whether those raises would again be allowed in a new freeze would have to be determined. Separately, the White House has proposed lengthening the waiting times between those raises, without specifics.

Employees remained eligible for raises on promotion during the?last?freeze, and presumably that would be the case again.