Group urges pay equity for Foreign Service officers overseas
- By FederalSoup Staff
- Mar 11, 2016
The American Foreign Service Association applauded congressional testimony by a State Department official who urged lawmakers to change the way pay is calculated for Foreign Service officers posted overseas.
That request came in March 8 testimony by Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources Heather Higginbottom in response to a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on fiscal 2017 State Department and USAID reauthorization.
“We must work hard to retain [top talent] in a competitive labor environment,” Higgenbottom stated. “Due to inequities in the Foreign Service pay schedule, Foreign Service officers deployed overseas have absorbed cuts to their basic pay compared to their domestic counterparts. In addition, our colleagues from other agencies with whom we serve overseas do not face this discrepancy.”
To remedy that inequity, AFSA has been advocating for the implementation of full “overseas comparability pay”—locality pay at the Washington, D.C., rate—for Foreign Service members posted overseas.
AFSA notes that the 2009 Supplemental Appropriations Act granted the State Department temporary authority to pay full OCP to Foreign Service members posted overseas, phased-in over three stages. While first two went through, the third one is still pending.
“The Foreign Service is the only federal government entity that is globally deployed with an enduring physical presence in almost every country in the world,” said AFSA President Ambassador Barbara Stephenson. “Yet, when our members deploy abroad to embassies alongside their military and intelligence community colleagues, the only member of that trio to take an 8-percent cut in basic pay is the one from the Foreign Service.”
“In the interest of fairness, we would like to see that remedied by congressional action to pass the third and final tranche of OCP,” she said.