Civilian Pay Raises to Take Effect
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jan. 4, 2006 The upcoming pay period for Defense Department civilian General Schedule employees will reflect a 2.1 percent across-the-board pay raise, plus a range of locality pays that bring the overall pay hikes between 2.83 and 5.62 percent, an Office of Personnel Management spokesman said.
The 2006 federal pay raise goes into effect with the first full pay period of the year, which for most DoD employees begins Jan. 8, Mike Orenstein told the American Forces Press Service.
On Nov. 30, President Bush signed into law the legislation that provides for the federal pay raise, the 2006 Transportation, Treasury, Housing and Urban Development, the Judiciary, the District of Columbia and Independent Agencies Appropriations Act, he said.
Pay charts on the OPM Web site show new annual and hourly rates for GS workers, DoD's white-collar work force, and special geographically unique charts cover increases in 31 designated locality pay areas. Wage-grade or blue-collar workers, who make up a small percentage of the DoD work force, will receive comparable increases for their areas, Orenstein said.
GS workers not in a designated locality pay area come under the "rest of the United States" designation on the charts and will receive a 2.83 percent pay increase, Orenstein said.
The exception are GS workers in Alaska, Hawaii and U.S. territories, who receive a nonforeign cost of living allowance that was first introduced in the mid-1940s to attract workers, he said.
Among GS workers in designated locality pay areas within the continental United States, those in the Raleigh-Durham-Cary, N.C., region are this year's biggest winners, receiving a 5.6 percent increase, Orenstein said.
This is the first time this area is a designated locality pay area, and the 2006 pay hike is designed to help bring that region's salaries more on par with those offered in the private sector, he said. Future pay hikes for the region are not likely to be as high.
Other locality pay areas to receive significant hikes this year are San Francisco-San Jose-Oakland, 3.95 percent; New York-Newark, 3.77 percent; Buffalo, 3.75 percent; Hartford, Conn., 3.62 percent; and the Washington-Baltimore-Northern Virginia region, 3.44 percent.
Locality pay is based not on the cost of living, but on the cost of labor in a particular area, Orenstein said. By offering locality pay to workers in those regions, government agencies can be more competitive in recruiting and retaining qualified workers, he said.
More information and pay chart information is provided on the OPM Web site.