Thousands of federal employees across the country could be getting bigger paychecks with the expansion of new locality-based pay into 13 cities.

The Office of Personnel Management issued proposed regulations June 1 that would expand locality pay into 13 new areas and expand several existing locality pay areas, according to the Federal Register.

The new areas are: Albany-Schenectady, NY; Albuquerque-Santa Fe-Las Vegas, NM; Austin-Round Rock, TX; Charlotte-Concord, NC-SC; Colorado Springs, CO; Davenport-Moline, IA-IL; Harrisburg-York-Lebanon, PA; Laredo, TX; Kansas City-Overland Park-Kansas City, MO-KS; Las Vegas-Henderson, NV-AZ; Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL; St. Louis-St. Charles-Farmington, MO-IL; and Tucson-Nogales, AZ.

But it is not clear what percentage increases in pay the new locality areas would receive. The proposed regulations merely state that "locality pay rates for the new locality pay areas would be set by the President after the new locality pay areas would be established by regulation."

Interested parties have until July 1 to make any comments to the proposed regulations. Final regulations could be issued January, 2016, although no decisions on the amount of the pay increases have been made, according to OPM.

The American Federation of Government Employees had pushed for the new locality areas, saying they would be a tremendous help for federal employees.

"AFGE has been leading the fight for several years to provide federal employees in these cities with salaries that are more closely aligned with regional standards," said AFGE Public Policy Director and Federal Salary Council member Jacqueline Simon. "Federal employees nationwide have suffered terribly from pay freezes and below-market salaries."

The proposed regulations would also expand the locality pay areas of a number of existing localities, including Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, New York City and Washington, D.C. to include a larger portion of the surrounding area.

Colleen Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, said in a statement the new locality areas were an important step forward for federal employees in the area. Federal data shows that private sector pay in these areas exceeds federal pay, she said.

But the new regulations are just one step in the process, and that it is still not clear when the new rates would kick in for these areas, Kelley said.

"No increases, or changes, to locality pay have been authorized been authorized for the past five years, leaving employees falling further and further behind the counterparts in the private sector. NTEU will continue to fight to close the gap between federal and private pay for all employees and to provide appropriate locality pay," Kelley said.

The Administration is committed to ensuring the federal government remains competitive and is able to attract and retain the best talent for public service, according to an official at the Office of Management and Budget.

"That is why, after years of pay freezes, furloughs, and sequestration, the President's last three budgets have proposed modest pay increases for federal workers to help attract and retain the best talent while maintaining efforts to keep our Nation on a sustainable fiscal course," the official said.

However, there have been no final decisions on the locality pay areas, which is why OPM is working its way through the process via proposed regulations, according to the official.

The expanded locality pay areas would include the counties listed below.

Atlanta—Athens-Clarke County—Sandy Springs, GA

Clarke County, GA; Gordon County, GA; Jackson County, GA; Madison County, GA; Morgan County, GA; Oconee County, GA; and Oglethorpe County, GA.

Boston-Worcester-Providence, MA-RI-NH-CT-ME

Androscoggin County, ME; Cumberland County, ME; Sagadahoc County, ME; and all portions of York County, ME, that are currently in the "Rest of U.S." locality pay area.

Chicago-Naperville, IL-IN-WI

Bureau County, IL; LaSalle County, IL; and Putnam County, IL.

Cincinnati-Wilmington-Maysville, OH-KY-IN

Mason County, KY, and Union County, IN.

Cleveland-Akron-Canton, OH

Carroll County, OH; Erie County, OH; Huron County, OH; Stark County, OH; and Tuscarawas County, OH.

Columbus-Marion-Zanesville, OH

Guernsey County, OH; Hocking County, OH; Logan County, OH; Muskingum County, OH; and Perry County, OH.

Dallas-Fort Worth, TX-OK

Bryan County, OK; Hopkins County, TX; and Navarro County, TX.

Dayton-Springfield-Sidney, OH

Shelby County, OH.

Houston-The Woodlands, TX

Trinity County, TX; Washington County, TX; and Wharton County, TX.

Huntsville-Decatur-Albertville, AL

Marshall County, AL.

Indianapolis-Carmel-Muncie, IN

Decatur County, IN; Delaware County, IN; and Jackson County, IN.

Los Angeles-Long Beach, CA

All portions of Kern County, CA, currently included in the "Rest of U.S." locality pay area.

Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Port St. Lucie, FL

Indian River County, FL; Martin County, FL; Okeechobee County, FL; and St. Lucie County, FL.

Milwaukee-Racine-Waukesha, WI

Dodge County, WI; Jefferson County, WI; and Walworth County, WI.

Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN-WI

Le Sueur County, MN; Mille Lacs County, MN; and Sibley County, MN.

New York-Newark, NY-NJ-CT-PA

Carbon County, PA; Lehigh County, PA; and Northampton County, PA.

Pittsburgh-New Castle-Weirton, PA-OH-WV

Jefferson County, OH; Indiana County, PA; Brooke County, WV; and Hancock County, WV.

Portland-Vancouver-Salem, OR-WA

Benton County, OR; Linn County, OR; and Cowlitz County, WA.

Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, NC

Lee County, NC; Robeson County, NC; Scotland County, NC; Vance County, NC; and all portions of Granville County, NC, currently included in the "Rest of U.S." locality pay area.

Seattle-Tacoma, WA

Lewis County, WA.

Washington-Baltimore-Arlington, DC-MD-VA-WV-PA

Dorchester County, MD; Kent County, MD; Talbot County, MD; Franklin County, PA; and Rappahannock County, VA.

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