White House officials say the president is prepared to sign legislation that would delay until January a multimillion-dollar pay cut that white collar federal workers are due to take beginning in about 10 days.

Legislation that would defer the pay cut until January, when workers are due a pay raise, cleared the House Tuesday afternoon by a voice vote. The Senate got the bill--which has bipartisan support--yesterday. White House aides say the president is waiting to sign it.

Assuming the bill becomes law--and all the appropriate skids have been greased--federal agencies in January will begin calculating the annual salaries of employes based on a work year with 2,087 hours. Currently salaries of the government's 1.2 million white collar workers are computed on a work year of 2,080 hours or 364 days.

Congress approved the bookkeeping change last year. It was timed to go into effect this October when workers were supposed to get a raise. But that pay increase, a partial catchup with industry of between 3 1/2 and 4 percent, has been put off until January.

Congressional leaders and the White House agreed that it would be unfair to make the pay-cutting bookkeeping change until workers got their pay raise. The cut will amount to $3.20 per paycheck for the typical employe. The raise will be worth a little over $30 for the average worker.