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The Federal Salary Council has set its annual meeting for October 28, when it will recommend specific locality-based raises for January 2017. Unless Congress changes direction on the raise issue during a post-election session, a raise of 1 percent will be paid across the board in January and funds for an additional 0.6 percentage points will be divided up and paid in differing amounts among the GS localities. That likely will yield raises ranging from about 1.4 to about 1.8 percent, varying according to figures the Labor Department will present to the council on pay gaps between the federal and private sectors by locality. The council, consisting of union representatives and outside experts on pay, reports to a higher-level body, leading to a late-year executive order formally setting raises. While that arrangement specifically applies only to GS employee raises, for many years wage grade employees—who are under a separate locality-based system—have received the same amounts paid to GS employees locally. SES members and employees in several other high-level systems are paid under performance-based systems and don’t get a raise in tandem with the GS increases; however, a general raise lifts the salary cap applying to them, as well as a separate cap affecting some employees in the upper reaches of the GS. The Salary Council also makes recommendations regarding adding new localities and expanding the boundary lines of existing localities—both actions that produce raises for affected employees larger than they would have received otherwise. Last year it recommended adding new localities in the Norfolk, Va., and Burlington, Vt., areas, along with expanding numerous existing localities. There has been no formal action on those recommendations since then, however; the upcoming meeting could clarify their status.