Salary Council Suggests Locality Pay Increase for 2011
Jason Miller | Executive Editor | FederalNewsRadio
Employees under the General Schedule system make half as much as their private sector counterparts.
A new survey and report from the Federal Salary Council finds that the overall gap between GS average salaries and non-federal average salaries is almost 51 percent.
The Federal Salary Council is an independent organization that includes labor relations and pay policy experts, and federal employees, who make recommendations to the President’s Pay Agent about locality pay and pay comparisons.
The council submitted its latest report to the Office of Personnel Management, the Labor Department, the Office of Management and Budget and the President’s Pay Agent Nov. 4.
To make up for this gap, the council recommends an average locality pay increase of 43.75 percent for fiscal 2011. The current average for locality pay increase is 19.4 percent.
Currently 31 metro areas and their surrounding suburbs receive locality pay increases.
For instance in Washington, the council says the average pay gap is more than 68 percent in 2009, while other areas such as Philadelphia is just under 40 percent.
The council also doesn’t recommend any new locality pay areas. Austin, Louisville and Memphis were among the six areas that have trying to make their case since 2004 for locality pay.
Additionally, the council says employees from 31 locations contacted OPM since 2008 requesting locality pay. These areas include Lansing, Mich., Modesto, Calif., Atlantic City, N.J. and New Orleans.
The council determined that none of these locations meet the current criteria to be included in an existing locality pay area. The council also says “there are no plans or resources to expand the number of locations surveyed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics as separate locality pay areas.”
“We recommend the existing locality pay areas be maintained pending our recommendations on the use of Occupational Employment Statistics data in the locality pay program and our recommendations on what criteria should be used to define locality pay areas, which will be submitted once the Council has a full complement of members,” the report states.
“It is unfortunate that the evaluation of OES data for use in the locality pay program could not be completed in time for inclusion in the Nov. 30, 2009 Pay Agent’s report to the President on locality pay for 2011. If using OES data proves feasible, the Council recommends that the Pay Agent seek a legislative waiver to permit additional pay areas in 2011 that could not be included in the 2009 report to the President.”
OPM also is moving Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories to locality pay and away from cost-of-living allowances as required by Congress. Congress passed a bill making this change Oct. 19.
The council recommends a study by BLS on the pay gaps.
See the original at FederalNewsRadio.com