Image: Steve Heap/Shutterstock.com

President Biden has issued the executive order needed to finalize the 2022 federal pay raise, with increases to vary by locality from 3.21 percent in the Seattle-Tacoma locality to 2.42 percent in the “rest of the U.S.” locality for areas outside the city areas with their own rates.

Because Congress did not take a position on the pay raise by year’s end, Biden put in place the amount he had recommended, a 2.7 percent average raise split as 2.2 percent across the board and funds for the other 0.5 divided as locality pay. The order issued December 22 was needed to make that final and to specify rates among localities.

The raise is effective with the first pay period of the year, in almost all cases beginning January 2.

Following Seattle-Tacoma, the largest raises will go to employees working in the San Francisco (3.14), Los Angeles (3.13), San Diego (3.04), Laredo, Texas (3.03), and the New York and Washington-Baltimore localities (3.02).

Above the catchall “rest of the U.S.” locality the lowest rates will be in the Corpus Christi, Texas (2.43), Miami (2.44), and Palm Bay, Fla. (2.45) localities.

While the order directly applies only to the GS system, raises for blue-collar employees once again were capped at GS increase in an area even though they fall under a separate locality system.

Meanwhile, the salary cap for GS employees will rise from $172,500 to $176,300. That cap, which is linked to a rate for certain political appointees will apply to those in the upper reaches of GS-15 in 30 of the localities–in some cases only to those in the top step.

Meanwhile, the President’s Pay Agent, which oversees the salary council and makes final recommendations on pay to the White House, has issued a report mainly only backing “further study” of several issues that have been pending before the salary council for years. Those include technicalities of how federal and non-federal salaries are compared, drawing of boundary lines of localities and the standards for creating new ones.

The Pay Agent—the heads of Labor, OMB and OPM—however did approve one change, adding Carroll County, Ill., to the Davenport, Iowa locality. Formal rules will be needed to carry out that change, though, making it unclear whether it will take effect in time for the upcoming raise.

2022 GS Locality Pay Tables

Raise, Other Financial Changes Taking Effect with New Year for Federal Employees

Upcoming COLA for Retirees to Be Largest in Four Decades

Key Numbers in TSP, Other Programs Change with New Year

OPM Addresses Raise Considerations for GS, Wage Grade, Special Rate and Appointees

Federal Retirement: When Age Isn’t Just a Number

FERS Retirement Guide 2022