Locality pay


Q. I could be the only VA employee who lives in one of a handful of towns in the southern tip of Maine that are grouped in with the high locality pay percent (24.8 percent) of Boston et al.: Boston-Worcester-Manchester, Mass.-N.H. Combined Statistical Area, plus the Providence-New Bedford-Fall River, R.I.-Mass. Metropolitan Statistical Area, Barnstable County, Mass., and Berwick, Eliot, Kittery, South Berwick and York towns in York County, Maine; but I’m not paid at that rate! Nevertheless, I am one of the statistics used to determine the justification for the higher rate, i.e., federal employees that commute from one of the above areas. I am not getting the Boston locality pay rate (24.8 percent); I am instead getting the rate for the rest of the U.S. (14.16 percent), and I think I should be getting the higher locality pay rate.

To whom can I go to argue my case? And do you think I am in the right?

A. While you could complain about it and even write you member of Congress, only your agency is in a position to argue that you and others in your facility should be included in the higher-paid locality area. In the long run, the Federal Salary Council, which is made up of agency and labor representatives and compensation experts, will be the one that submits recommendations to the President’s Pay Agent on the setting of boundary lines, using criteria that include local labor markets, commuting patterns and the practices of other employers.


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Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to fedexperts@federaltimes.com.

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