We know the President and the Vice President of the United States receive salaries, but how much does the First Lady make? Jill Biden’s pay as FLOTUS may surprise you.
Jill Biden will become the 46th First Lady of the United States on January 20, 2021 after her husband, Joe Biden, and his running mate, Kamala Harris, were announced as the winners of the 2020 Presidential election on November 7. After wins in swing states, such as Pennsylvania and Nevada, Joe and Kamala, who beat current President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, were announced as the 46th President and 49th Vice President of the United States respectively. As Americans may know, the president and the vice president receive salaries as government employees, but what about the First Lady? Read on for what we know about how much Jill Biden will make as FLOTUS.
How much does the First Lady make?
Unlike the President of the United States (who gets a $400,000 per year, plus other allowances), the First Lady receives nothing. Former President Ronald Reagan confirmed that the First Lady of the United States is unpaid in an interview in 1982. “You know, with the First Lady the government gets an employee free; they have her just about as busy as they have me,” he said at the time.
According to Metro, former President Barack Obama has also confirmed that the FLOTUS is not paid. “Michelle would point out first ladies get paid nothing. So there’s clearly not equal pay in the White House when it comes to her and me,” he’s said, referring to his wife, Michelle Obama.
There’s a reason that FLOTUS isn’t paid. The First Lady isn’t elected unlike the President or Vice President of the United States, so the FLOTUs isn’t an official government employee. In fact, many First Ladies have have given up their previous jobs to support the president. According to Closer, Michelle Obama earned $273,618 per year as an executive at the University of Chicago Hospitals before she quit to become the First Lady. Hillary Clinton, the wife of former President Bill Clinton, also left her job at Rose Law Firm in Arkansas when her husband was elected. In an interview with CBS News in 2020, Jill Biden confirmed that she plans to keep her job as an English professor at Northern Virginia Community College in Annandale, Virginia, when she enters the White House. If we get to the White House, I’m gonna continue to teach,” she said at the time. “It’s important, and I want people to value teachers and know their contributions, and lift up the profession.”
That said, while the FLOTUS doesn’t receive a salary, she still gets a lot of perks as a member of the First Couple. Along with the president’s $400,000 salary, the POTUS also receives a $100,000 travel account, $19,000 for entertainment and a $50,000 expense allowance. Further, the First Couple has tons of White House perks. For one, transportation is free in the presidential limousine, Marine One or Air Force One. There are also more 100 permanent residents in the White House, including an executive chef, an executive pastry chef, maids, cooks, a plumber, a florist and a head housekeeper. Plus, there’s a movie theatre and a bowling alley also in the White House.
What does the First Lady do?
In Jean H. Baker’s “Give First Ladies a Salary and Expectations,” the historian wrote that being the First Lady is “a full-time, all-consuming job” with duties, such as running the White House, advising the president and promoting causes, according to Metro. Like the president, the First Lady also has to be on duty 24/7. According to Salary.com, the First Lady’s job description includes the following roles: nonprofit program executive, communications executive, events director, secretary to the CEO and interior designer. So while she may not receive a salary like the POTUS, the First Lady still has a lot of work to do when she enters the White House.