Adding Birmingham and San Antonio to Locality Pay Areas

The Federal Salary Council has proposed adding San Antonio and Birmingham to the list of locality pay areas for 2018.

The Federal Salary Council continues to recommend adding more federal employees into locality pay areas. About 102,000 federal employees were added to locality pay in 2016. (See 2016 Locality Pay and How It Will Impact Your Paycheck)

Adding Birmingham and San Antonio to List of Pay Areas

This week, the Salary Council recommending adding Birmingham, Alabama and San Antonio, Texas to the list of cities receiving locality pay. If accepted, locality pay rates would go into effect for these two cities in 2018.

“By moving these workers into their own pay localities, they will start to receive larger locality raises and begin making up some lost ground,” according to AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. noted in a press release.

2017 Additions to Locality Pay Areas

For 2017, the Salary Council has recommended adding two new areas to the existing list of locality pay areas. It concluded:

[W]e find that two additional areas, Burlington, VT, and Virginia Beach, VA, now have pay gaps averaging more than 10 percentage points above the pay gap for the ‘Rest of U.S.’ area over the 3-year period studied. We recommend that the Pay Agent establish Burlington, VT, and Virginia Beach, VA, as separate locality pay areas in 2017.

About 13,251 General Schedule employees now in the Rest of U.S. pay locality would move into existing pay localities in January under a separate recommendation from the council.

Recommendations by the Salary Council have to be approved by the President’s Pay Agent. The Pay Agent is made up of the Secretary of Labor, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget and the Director of the Office of Personnel Management. Recommendations are often delayed for a year by the Pay Agent even if the recommendations are accepted.

About Those Pay Increases…

Adding a locality pay area results in a pay increase for the federal employees in those areas. The increase is often not as large as some may be expecting.

Last year, for example, the “Rest of the U.S.” locality had a pay differential of 14.35%. The new locality pay area in Albany, NY received a locality differential of 14.49%. The Albuquerque and Santa Fe differential was 14.35%. The Colorado Springs differential was 14.52%.

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