Congress and the White House still haven’t decided, but federal workers almost certainly will either receive a 2.6 percent raise paid across the board or that plus 0.5 percentage points for locality pay, yielding raises that would range from several tenths of a percentage point below 3.1 to several tenths above, varying by locality. The White House favors the 2.6 percent number alone and a Senate bill in effect agrees by taking no position, while the House has voted for the 3.1 percent increase.
That is among the many issues to be decided in the budget process for the fiscal year that began October 1, with a deadline ahead of November 21 when current temporary funding expires. One option under consideration would be to extend current authority into sometime in the new year, likely meaning in that case that the 2.6 percent raise would take effect by default at the start of 2020; supporters of the higher figure could then try to add the locality component retroactively.
Bureau of Labor Statistics data presented at the most recent Federal Salary Council meeting show that the San-Jose-San Francisco-Oakland area would receive the largest locality increase, based on the pay gap there—a gap that persists even though that area already has the highest rates.
Also high on the list would be other areas also with among the highest rates including Los Angeles, New York, Washington-Baltimore, San Diego, Seattle-Tacoma, Boston, Alaska (which is a locality in its entirety) and Houston. Also standing to receive one of the biggest raises would be the Laredo, Texas area, where the pay gap rose by more than 25 percentage points in one year (the report attributed that to technical issues that had an outsized impact due to a small sample size).
The smallest raises would go to the rest of the U.S. locality outside the designated zones, and Corpus Christi, Texas, Palm Bay, Fla., Indianapolis, and Tucson, Ariz.