Adding New Federal Locality Pay Areas for 2014

Federal employees in a number of metropolitan areas are likely to be included in new locality pay areas in 2014.

Several readers have asked recently about the status of locality pay areas for 2014. We do not have a great deal of information yet. Here is what we do know that will be of interest to those in these metropolitan areas.

The Federal Salary Council reviewed data for Combined Statistical Areas  (CSAs) and Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) with 2,500 or more GS employees that are currently  in the “Rest of U.S.” locality pay area. Based on this review, the Council recommended a phased approach for removing areas from the Rest of U.S. locality pay  area and establishing them as individual locality pay areas.

For additional locality pay areas to be established in January 2014, the Council selected 12 areas with the largest pay disparities between GS and non-Federal pay averaging more than 10 points above that for the “Rest of U.S.” locality pay area over a 4-year period. These 12 areas are:

  • Albany-Schenectady-Amsterdam, NY Combined Statistical Area
  • Albuquerque, NM Metropolitan Statistical Area
  • Austin-Round Rock-Marble Falls, TX Combined Statistical Area
  • Charlotte-Gastonia-Salisbury, NC-SC Combined Statistical Area
  • Colorado Springs, CO Metropolitan Statistical Area
  • Davenport-Moline-Rock Island, IA-IL Metropolitan Statistical Area
  • Harrisburg-Carlisle-Lebanon, PA Combined Statistical Area
  • Laredo, TX Metropolitan Statistical Area
  • Las Vegas-Paradise-Pahrump, NV Combined Statistical Area
  • Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL Metropolitan Statistical Area
  • St. Louis-St. Charles-Farmington, MO-IL Combined Statistical Area
  • Tucson, AZ Metropolitan Area

The President’s Pay Agent has tentatively approved the Federal Salary Council’s recommendation and plans to establish by regulation the 12 new locality pay areas in January 2014.

The pay rates for these 12 new locality pay areas will be excluded from the “Rest of the U.S.” computations. The Federal Salary Council noted in its report that some locations would be entirely surrounded or nearly surrounded by separate locality pay areas if its recommendations are implemented. These areas include Los  Alamos County, NM, if Albuquerque is made a separate pay area with Santa Fe included;  Berkshire County, MA, if Albany is made a separate pay area; and Lancaster County, PA, if  Harrisburg, PA, is made a separate pay area. In the Council’s view, locations completely surrounded by separate pay areas should be added to the adjacent pay area with which it has the highest level of commuting and areas nearly surrounded should be evaluated on a case by case basis.

Locality pay is a complex subject. More information is available from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). We do not yet know what the pay rates will be for 2014. When new pay rates are established, we will provide readers with the latest information.

About the Author

Ralph Smith has several decades of experience working with federal human resources issues. He has written extensively on a full range of human resources topics in books and newsletters and is a co-founder of two companies and several newsletters on federal human resources. Follow Ralph on Twitter: @RalphSmith47