Larger paychecks between now and January 1 could present some federal employees with a problem in the new year.
Military and civilian federal employees can’t opt out of the payroll tax deferral President Donald Trump ordered September 1. Federal agencies should communicate – a lot – with their employees between now and then, according to the Representative of the House district with the largest number of federal employees.
Agencies should “remind them what their paychecks are going to look like in January,” Representative Don Beyer (D-VA) told “Government Matters” Sunday. “Because of the other deductions, it’s going to look like about a 10% increase. If you were taking home $1,000 a week, now you’ll be taking home $1,100. What we need to remind them is, in January it will only be $900, or $875. We need to make sure people are planning ahead.”
The timing of the deferral is potentially problematic for that planning, Beyer said. Some employees “may be tempted to spend that extra 6-1/2% between now and Christmas,” Beyer explained, “and then not have it when they have to pay double in the first four months of next year.”
Beyer calls the deferral, for federal employees and military at least, “the state of play.” “There’s not really” a legislative remedy, Beyer said. “We have a House bill which could pass, but it’s not likely to be taken up by [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell. As a consequence, I don’t think our [House] leadership will spend a lot of time on it.”
The other option Beyer discussed was legal, but “courts tend to take a long time. I think the most reasonable thing to assume is that this is the state of play, that people will see their paychecks increase in these two categories, but then they’d better be ready to pay them back,” he said.
Beyer said payback is the biggest concern his constituents are voicing to his office. “I was an employer for many years, and people hate having their paychecks messed with. People don’t even like it when they’re increased unexpectedly, because they fear it’s going to come back to bite them later on.”