OPM has issued its annual memo telling agencies to review and report on their need for “special rate” pay, a process in which agencies can recommend whether to provide that higher pay for recruitment and retention purposes in certain occupations and locations; continue—and potentially increase—the differential where it is already being paid; or reduce or discontinue it.
If an agency makes no recommendation—the most common outcome of these annual reviews—the differential continues unchanged and those employees will receive the GS across the board pay raise component in January.
The memo says that agencies should plan on a 1 percent GS raise to be paid in January, all of it as an across-the-board increase, and that agencies need only respond if they are requesting a different amount or to reduce rates in a special rate schedule or to end it. The deadline for any submissions is October 30.
About 40,000 employees get special rate pay, which ranges from several percent above the base GS rate for the grade and step of a position to much more. OPM noted that its memo pertains only to special rate pay effective in January and that “agencies can submit special rate requests at any time throughout a calendar year.”