If the government were to follow through on the pay formula set by underlying law—which has never been done in nearly two decades of the law’s operation—federal employees would receive an average raise of 19.24 percent in January 2009, according to the Congressional Research Service. The 1991 pay law created a formula of across-the-board raises plus locality pay designed to largely close the indicated pay gap with the private sector. Including both types of adjustments, the indicated raises range from 31.03 percent in the Washington-Baltimore locality to 12.19 percent in the "rest of the U.S." catchall locality for GS employees outside the metropolitan pay zones. The 2.9 percent total raise recommended by President Bush reflects only the indicated across-the-board component of the raise, it noted; employee organizations and some in Congress are working to boost the total raise to 3.9 percent, of which 1 percentage point likely would be carved out and divided up as locality pay.
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