Q: I’m a WG-9, Step 3. We just recently received the 2010 cost-of-living adjustment. However, it was not retroactive to January 2010 like the GS COLA adjustments were. Will this automatically be retroactive, or is this COLA effective the date the president signed the order? A: Wage system and GS employees don’t receive cost-of-living adjustments. They receive pay increases. While the increases for GS employees are usually effective on the first pay period beginning on or after Jan. 1, wage system increases are based on wage surveys conducted at different times of the year and vary by locality.