President Trump has issued an executive order finalizing and dividing by locality the average 3.1 percent federal employee pay raise he earlier signed into law, resulting in raises ranging from 2.85 to 3.52 percent.

The raises will be effective as of the start of the first full pay period of January, on the 5th for almost all employees. That pay period will end on January 18, with most employees receiving a pay distribution for that pay period about a week afterward reflecting the raise.


Under the law providing for the increase, the total was broken down as 2.6 percent across the board and 0.5 percentage points divided as locality pay according to the pay gaps as measured by the Federal Salary Council based on Labor Department figures.

At the top end are Washington-Baltimore, 3.52; San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, 3.4; Seattle-Tacoma, 3.4; San Diego, 3.37; Los Angeles, 3.33; and New York, 3.31.

The “rest of the U.S.” locality outside the metropolitan areas with specific rates (Alaska and Hawaii also are localities, in their entirety) will again receive the smallest increase, 2.85 percent. Other areas on the low end include Cincinnati, 2.89; Indianapolis, 2.91; Cleveland, 2.92; Milwaukee, 2.92; Miami, 2.93; and Palm Bay, Fla., 2.95.

While the raise is paid under laws and rules specific to GS employees, for many years wage grade employees have had their raises capped at the local GS amount, a policy that will continue. Wage grade employees receive raises at varying times of the year.

The order also increases the pay caps for career SES, senior level and senior scientific and professional positions who are paid within a range and get performance-based raises. The minimum for them now will be $131,239 and the maximum either $197,300 or $181,500. The higher figure applies to agencies where the performance evaluation systems are certified as making meaningful distinctions based on differences in performance; most agencies have that designation.

The “total compensation” cap—pay and awards combined—will be either $253,300 or $219,200, again depending on that certification.

The order also sets out rates for separate salary systems for the Foreign Service, administrative law judges and others.


2020 GS Pay Tables by Locality

President Trump previously signed an order continuing the practice of paying locality pay in certain occupations where that is not required by law but has been extended to them annually for many years. These include government-wide categories such as administrative law judges and administrative appeals judges—many of whose salaries are up against caps in any case—certain other high-level employees in special situations, as well as some agency-specific categories.

More about the General Schedule Pay System at ask.FEDweek.com