fedweek.com | decision on norfolk locality pending

Among the issues regarding federal pay still pending is whether new GS localities will be created for 2018, as recommended by the Federal Salary Council, the advisory body that oversees the GS pay program.

That group for several years has recommended creating two new city-area localities, in the Norfolk, Va., and Burlington, Vt., areas, and last year further recommended yet two more, in the Birmingham, Ala., and San Antonio areas. That would shift tens of thousands of federal employees working in those areas from the catchall “rest of the U.S.” locality into specific localities where pay would be higher.

However, carrying out those recommendations would require rule-making, which hasn’t started. The last time localities were added–during 2015, effective in January 2016–proposed rules were issued in early June and finalized in late October. That expansion was the largest in the numbers of new localities and affected employees since the GS locality pay program began.

At that time the boundary lines of many of the pre-existing localities further were expanded, also resulting in a pay boost for affected employees leaving the RUS locality. The salary council has a pending recommendation to again revise the boundary-drawing policy, although it would affect fewer employees than the one carried out for 2016.

The council meanwhile is monitoring more than 40 city areas to determine whether they might merit their own locality rates in the future. It typically makes such recommendations at its annual fall meeting. At that time the council also presents the latest data–based on Labor Department figures–on the pay gap between federal and non-federal jobs by locality, for use in dividing up funds available for locality pay in the upcoming year.