The Office of Personnel Management July 6 published a proposal to establish four new General Schedule locality pay areas in a move that could see about 62,000 federal employees receive pay increases for 2019.
“Based on its review, the Federal Salary Council has recommended new locality pay areas be established for four metropolitan areas with pay gaps averaging more than 10 percentage points above that for the ‘Rest of U.S.’ locality pay area over an extended period,” the federal register notice of the proposed rule change said.
The new pay areas proposed are Birmingham-Hoover-Talladega, Alabama; Burlington-South Burlington, Vermont; San Antonio-New Braunfels-Pearsall, Texas; and Virginia Beach-Norfolk, Virginia.
Locality pay areas are calculated by measuring the cost of living in certain parts of the country against the standard government pay schedule and these designations provide a pay bump to those employees living in particularly expensive areas.
The Federal Salary Council recommended in 2017 and 2018 that these four locations be added to the current 46 locality pay locations across the U.S.
Adding the four new areas could also have an impact on feds in other locality pay areas, as existing practice for locality pay increases in the federal government is to allocate the same amount of funds established for pay increases across the larger number of employees in the event of additions.
“Implementing higher locality pay rates in the four new locality pay areas could thus result in relatively lower pay increases for employees in existing locality pay areas than they would otherwise receive,” the notice said.
Interested members of the public can provide comments on the proposal to the Federal eRulemaking Portal or email firstname.lastname@example.org.