Federal employees that work for an hourly wage can receive a different level of locality pay adjustment than their salaried counterparts due to the laws that determine the boundaries for such pay.
But legislation introduced in the House and Senate Dec. 11 by Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-Pa., and Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., would ensure that locality pay boundaries — which determine whether a federal employee is located in a sufficiently expensive area of the country to need a pay bump — are the same for both salaried and hourly workers.
“There’s no reason we should be using two different sets of pay boundaries, especially when it results in such an unfair wage gap,” said Cartwright in a news release.
Casey and Cartwright pointed to Tobyhanna Army Depot in Pennsylvania as an example of a federal worksite where salaried employees under the General Schedule pay system are grouped into the New York City locality pay region, while the hourly workers are considered part of the “rest of the U.S.,” meaning that they make 25 percent less than salaried employees on average.
The Senate version of general government appropriations legislation defers to the White House in some budget areas but defies it in others.
“Workers at these Army depots are serving our nation and deserve fair treatment from the federal government. This legislation would put an end to these pay disparities and create a more equitable compensation system,” said Casey in a news release.
The bill, titled the Locality Pay Equity Act, would prohibit the Office of Personnel Management from including more than one local wage area within a pay locality while also ensuring that no employee receives reduced pay because of the changes.
“Federal employees in the skilled trades commute along the same routes and face the same living costs as their salaried coworkers, and there is no rational reason why the government pretends they are in different locations once they arrive at work," American Federation of Government Employees National Secretary-Treasurer Everett Kelley said in a statement.