New Locality Pay Areas Finalized for Nearly 70,000 Feds

Following its announcement earlier this year, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management has finalized six new locality pay areas that will impact nearly 70,000 federal employees across the country. The locality pay rate system ensures federal employees are compensated in a manner consistent with annual cost of living changes, which can vary widely by region. 

The changes will take effect beginning January 2019. The six new locality pay areas are Birmingham, Alabama; Burlington, Vermont; Corpus Christi, Texas; Omaha, Nebraska; San Antonio, Texas; and Virginia Beach/Norfolk, Virginia.

Thirteen new areas were added to the locality pay system last year. This change impacted about 102,000 federal employees.

Back in November of 2015, the Federal Salary Council voted to remove Burlington and Virginia Beach/Norfolk from the “rest of U.S.” pay category and set them up as separate entities.

The President’s Pay Agent also rejected once again the Council’s recommendation to eliminate the GS Employment Criteria– the number of GS employees working in a specific location–as the criteria for its locality pay area decisions.

“We disagree that it is appropriate to eliminate the GS employment criterion for evaluating areas adjacent to locality pay areas or to change the locality pay program’s treatment for micropolitan or single-county locations,” the pay agent wrote in its report.

The President’s Pay Agent also once again emphasized the need to reexamine the federal pay system as a whole, as well as the model and methodology it uses to compare public and private sector pay.

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