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The arrival of the new year brings changes in the financial pictures of federal employees and retirees, some due to legislative action and some due to routine adjustments. For most employees, of course, the most important compensation element is that a 1.3 percent average GS raise will be paid, effective with the first full pay period of the year (in most cases, that starts January 10; some agencies are on different payroll cycles). The precise amounts will vary by locality from about 1.2 to 1.5 percent. New specific rates have been set for 13 new localities, and the boundaries of most of the previous localities are being expanded–in both cases yielding a higher raise for affected employees than they would have received otherwise. Wage grade employees, who are under a separate locality pay system, will get the same raise applying to GS employees in their area; wage grade raises are paid at differing times of the year, varying by location. The raise will result in the GS pay cap (which affects those in the high steps of GS-15 in some localities) rising from $158,700 to $160,300. The pay cap for the SES and certain other high-level pay systems (which pay within a range depending on performance and other factors) is rising from $183,300 to $185,100 (in agencies with certified performance appraisal systems; slightly lower in others).