2021 NDAA Passed by Congress with PPL Fix, Annual Leave Carry Over; Waiting on POTUS


The 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), an annual defense-centric bill that traditionally includes some governmentwide workforce measures, passed Congress and is sitting on the president’s desk awaiting signature.  President has promised to veto the bill because of unrelated provisions however the bill passed both chambers with large majorities, enough to defeat a veto by the president.  The prevailing hope by Democrats and Republicans is that Trump will recognize the futility of a veto and will sign the bill into law instead.

The road to the final version of the 2021 NDAA was long but federal employees stand to make some advances through it, including:

  • A fix to the paid parental leave law that unintentionally cut out several classifications of federal workers, including FAA and VA professionals. Upon signing of the NDAA (or upon a final vote to override the veto), NFFE members who were left out of the original law will enjoy the same 12 weeks of paid leave as everyone else.  This was a priority for NFFE since the law was passed last year with a huge gap in the final language that left thousands of workers out.
  • A governmentwide annual leave carryover increase of 25% for the 2020 to 2021 year to allow for workers who accumulated leave over leave caps.
  • DoD civilians received additional pay allowances when serving in combat areas, and DoD is prohibited from reducing civilian FTE until a comprehensive study is completed on impact.
  • BRAC (Base Realignment and Closure) was prohibited for another year.
  • Also included was the Congressman Elijah Cummings Federal Employee Antidiscrimination Act establishing requirements related to discrimination and retaliation complaints, and mandating that federal agencies create independent EEO programs free from agency human resources and general counsel office influences.

In pay news, NFFE-IAM is pushing for the 2021 omnibus spending bill to remain silent on a pay increase so that an automatic 1% increase kicks in for next year.  Despite our best efforts to get pay parity with the military, the House has remained silent on the civilian pay increase while the Senate supported a civilian pay freeze.  Both the House and Senate supported a 3% pay increase for the military.