2024 Federal Pay Raise: Where Does it Stand Now?
The 2024 federal pay raise is one step closer to being finalized after President Biden issued his alternative pay plan letter yesterday outlining the amounts he wants for next year’s pay raise for federal employees.
Anticipating the percentage increase for how each GS locality pay area will fare in 2024 would be futile. When the figures are finalized, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) will provide a copy of the 2024 General Schedule (GS) pay tables, including 2024 GS locality pay. This usually happens in December.
In March, the Biden administration proposed a 2024 federal pay raise of 5.2%. That is the first step in a complex process. Congress has not indicated any interest in approving a different amount.
The next step took place on August 31, 2023, when President Biden issued an alternative pay plan letter for the 2024 federal pay raise.
This letter states:
Title 5, United States Code, authorizes me to implement alternative plans for pay adjustments for civilian Federal employees covered by the General Schedule and certain other pay systems if, because of “national emergency or serious economic conditions affecting the general welfare,” I view the increases that would otherwise take effect as inappropriate.
Congress could also pass legislation to determine a different amount of the pay raise. As that has not been done earlier this year, and there were several opportunities where Congress could have done so in legislation that was under consideration, that is possible but unlikely to happen for the 2024 pay raise for federal employees.
The 5.2% pay raise, assuming that is the final amount, will be divided between an average of 0.5% for locality pay areas and 4.7% as an across-the-board pay raise according to what Biden outlined in the letter.
2024 Federal Pay Raise Would Be the Biggest Pay Raise Since the Carter Administration
For 2023, the average pay raise was 4.6%. The 2023 pay raise was the largest pay raise in 20 years for the federal workforce. During the Bush administration, federal employees received an identical pay raise percentage of 4.6% back in 2002. On the other hand, and better news for those federal employees in 2002, the rate of inflation was 1.6%. (See Federal Employee Pay Raises and Inflation).
So, largely because of inflation, the 2024 federal pay raise will most likely exceed the 4.8% pay raise for federal employees approved in 1981 during the Carter administration.
Estimated 2024 GS Pay Scale Table
FedSmith has created this 2024 GS pay scale table of the base pay rates to provide some early information for readers.
While we will not know the percentage increase for each locality pay area until later this year, it is possible to calculate an estimate of how the base pay rates will be changed for each GS pay grade before the final locality pay percentages are calculated.
|Grade||Step 1||Step 2||Step 3||Step 4||Step 5||Step 6||Step 7||Step 8||Step 9||Step 10||WGI|
This table shows an estimated 2024 GS pay scale based on the expected 2024 federal pay raise of 5.2% with a 2024 General Schedule (GS) base pay raise of 4.7%.
Why only 4.7% and not 5.2%? 5.2% will probably be the average raise, and when the annual federal pay raise is issued each year, it usually includes an across-the-board base pay increase and an amount set aside for locality pay. Since the president proposed a base pay increase of 4.7% with 0.5% for locality pay in his alternative pay plan letter, we used the 4.7% figure for the estimated 2024 GS pay scale table.
Note the 2024 GS pay table will not be finalized until OPM issues the final figures after the 2024 federal pay raise is finalized with an executive order. In most years, this occurs in December. Last year, the Executive Order implementing the 2023 federal pay raise was issued on December 23rd.
This means there will be adjustments in the final figures. The final adjustment will reflect the larger increase for areas that usually receive large pay raises. Typically, this includes higher pay raises for larger cities because of locality pay. Here are the 2023 GS pay tables for each locality.
Probable 2024 GS Locality Pay Areas
In a new Federal Register notice issued on June 28, 2023, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) proposed four new locality pay areas. These four are:
- Fresno-Madera-Hanford, California Fresno County, CA; Kings County, CA; Madera County, CA; Mariposa County, CA; and Tulare County, CA;
- Reno-Fernley, Nevada to include Churchill County, NV; Lyon County, NV; Storey County, NV; and Washoe County, NV;
- Rochester-Batavia-Seneca Falls, New York to include Genesee County, NY; Livingston County, NY; Monroe County, NY; Ontario County, NY; Orleans County, NY; Seneca County, NY; Wayne County, NY; and Yates County, NY.
- Spokane-Spokane Valley-Coeur d’Alene, Washington-Idaho to include Benewah County, ID; Kootenai County, ID; Shoshone County, ID; Ferry County, WA; Lincoln County, WA; Pend Oreille County, WA; Spokane County, WA; Stevens County, WA.
Note that this list is proposed, and it has not been finalized. In all likelihood, these four areas will be approved late in 2023 for adding them to the 2024 locality pay areas list. We will not know the pay increase for these new areas until OPM announces the 2024 pay rates.
Existing GS Locality Pay Areas
- Albany-Schenectady, NY-MA
- Albuquerque-Santa Fe-Las Vegas, NM
- Atlanta–Athens-Clarke County–Sandy Springs, GA-AL
- Austin-Round Rock, TX
- Birmingham-Hoover-Talladega, AL
- Boston-Worcester-Providence, MA-RI-NH-ME
- Buffalo-Cheektowaga, NY
- Burlington-South Burlington, VT
- Charlotte-Concord, NC-SC
- Chicago-Naperville, IL-IN-WI
- Cincinnati-Wilmington-Maysville, OH-KY-IN
- Cleveland-Akron-Canton, OH
- Colorado Springs, CO
- Columbus-Marion-Zanesville, OH
- Corpus Christi-Kingsville-Alice, TX
- Dallas-Fort Worth, TX-OK
- Davenport-Moline, IA-IL
- Dayton-Springfield-Sidney, OH
- Denver-Aurora, CO
- Des Moines-Ames-West Des Moines, IA
- Detroit-Warren-Ann Arbor, MI
- Harrisburg-Lebanon, PA
- Hartford-West Hartford, CT-MA
- Houston-The Woodlands, TX
- Huntsville-Decatur-Albertville, AL
- Indianapolis-Carmel-Muncie, IN
- Kansas City-Overland Park-Kansas City, MO-KS
- Laredo, TX
- Las Vegas-Henderson, NV-AZ
- Los Angeles-Long Beach, CA
- Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Port St. Lucie, FL
- Milwaukee-Racine-Waukesha, WI
- Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN-WI
- New York-Newark, NY-NJ-CT-PA
- Omaha-Council Bluffs-Fremont, NE-IA
- Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL
- Philadelphia-Reading-Camden, PA-NJ-DE-MD
- Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ
- Pittsburgh-New Castle-Weirton, PA-OH-WV
- Portland-Vancouver-Salem, OR-WA
- Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, NC
- Richmond, VA
- Sacramento-Roseville, CA-NV
- San Antonio-New Braunfels-Pearsall, TX
- San Diego-Carlsbad, CA
- San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland, CA
- Seattle-Tacoma, WA
- St. Louis-St. Charles-Farmington, MO-IL
- Tucson-Nogales, AZ
- Virginia Beach-Norfolk, VA-NC
- Washington-Baltimore-Arlington, DC-MD-VA-WV-PA
- Rest of U.S.