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 2.1 percent average GS raise will be paid, effective with the first full pay period of the year (in most cases, that starts January 8; some agencies are on different payroll cycles). The amounts will vary by locality from 1.63 to 2.88 percent. Pay tables by locality were released this morning (Wednesday), following an executive order that finalizes the raises.
The numbers and boundaries of the GS localities are unchanged for 2017, after major expansions of both in 2016 that yielded higher pay rates for more than 100,000 employees above what they would have received otherwise. The raise will result in the GS pay cap (which affects those in the high steps of GS-15 in some localities) rising from $160,300 to $161,900. 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 $185,100 to $187,000 (in agencies with certified performance appraisal systems; slightly lower in others). Wage grade employees, who are under a separate locality pay system, will get the same raise applying to GS employees in their area, up to a cap of 2.43 percent; wage grade raises are paid at differing times of the year, varying by location.