72,000 Feds to Receive Higher Locality Pay

Categories: The Insider

Nearly 72,000 federal employees will begin receiving higher locality payments in January, thanks to our union and allies’ push to close the pay gap between federal and non-federal sectors in those areas.

The Federal Salary Council, on which AFGE President J. David Cox Sr. and Public Policy Director Jacque Simon serve, announced it has added six new regions to the federal government’s locality pay system and expanded two others.

The six new pay localities are:

  • Birmingham-Hoover-Talladega, Ala.
  • Burlington-South Burlington, Vt.
  • Corpus Christi-Kingsville-Alice, Texas
  • Omaha-Council Bluffs-Fremont, Neb.-Iowa
  • San Antonio-New Braunfels-Pearsall, Texas
  • Virginia Beach-Norfolk, Va.-N.C.  

About 70,000 federal employees under the General Schedule pay system work in those six locations.

In addition, two areas will be added to existing pay localities:  

McKinley County, New Mexico, will be added to Albuquerque-Santa Fe-Las Vegas, N.M., affecting about 1,600 GS employees.

San Luis Obispo County, Calif., will be added to Los Angeles-Long Beach, Calif., affecting about 100 employees.

“This is welcome news to the tens of thousands of federal employees who work in areas where wages have fallen further behind their private-sector peers,” Cox said.  

Moving into their own pay locality, as opposed to the catch-all locality that covers the rest of the U.S., means these employees will be in line for larger locality raises in the future.

Several consecutive administrations and Congresses have prevented the locality pay system from working the way the law, signed by George H.W. Bush in 1990, intended. Today, federal salaries remain on average nearly 31% behind non-federal salaries, based on the most recent Labor Department data.  

“At a moment when private sector pay is rising and unemployment is extremely low, there is absolutely no economic reason not to follow the law and fully fund locality pay,” Cox added. “At a minimum, Congress should approve the 1.9% pay raise next year for the hardworking employees who keep our government running every day.”

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