Salaried and hourly wage federal employees would be given more equal treatment in locality pay adjustments under legislation introduced in the House and Senate May 11.

The bill, which was introduced in both the House and the Senate by Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-Pa., and Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., would prohibit the Office of Personnel Management from including more than one local wage area in each pay locality, effectively meaning that all employees working in a particular location receive the same locality adjustment, regardless of their hourly or salaried status.

Currently, OPM has designated the Department of Defense as the lead agency in all localities for determining locality adjustments under the Federal Wage System. This means that DoD conducts local wage surveys to determine which areas necessitate a pay bump based on comparable private sector pay in the area.

Locality pay for General Schedule employees, on the other hand, is determined by the President’s Pay Agent and the Federal Salary Council, which calculates pay disparity between federal and non-federal jobs using weighted averages of job compensation based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ National Compensation Survey.

“Currently, salaried and hourly federal employees can work side-by-side in the exact same location yet be treated as though they work in different locations when it comes to determining their locality pay,” American Federation of Government Employees National President Everett Kelley said in a statement.

“Federal employees in the skilled trades commute along the same routes and face the same living costs as their salaried coworkers, and there is no rational reason why the government pretends they are in different locations once they arrive at work.”

Cartwright and Casey both introduced a similar bill in December 2019, though it never made it past committee in either chamber.

Jessie Bur covers federal IT and management.

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