Pay Agent calls for market-based compensation, adds localities

Based on the recommendations of the Federal Salary Council, the advisory group that makes pay recommendations to the President’s Pay Agent, two new locality pay areas have been approved, and the board also is urging Congress to make federal compensation more market-based.

“We believe it is imperative to develop performance-sensitive compensation systems that make the government more citizen-centered, results-oriented, and market-based,” according to the report recently published on the Office of Personnel Management’s website.  “We need to empower federal agencies to better manage, develop, and reward employees in order to better serve the American people,” it added.

The board approved a new Des Moines, Iowa, locality pay area, and the addition of Imperial County, Calif., to the Los Angeles locality pay area.

The Council made a total of five recommendations for changing locality pay area boundaries for 2020, including making changes to how human capital indicators are considered when deciding regions’ requests to be granted a locality pay area despite not meeting the established criteria.

HCIs “reveal extraordinary recruiting and/or retention difficulties that may not otherwise be evident from pay disparities as currently estimated or application of the criteria for areas of application, and (2) the organization(s) claiming such extraordinary difficulties can show that they persist despite the application of other applicable personnel flexibilities to address the situation,” according to the report.

View the full report here.

Reader comments

Thu, Feb 6, 2020

Amazes me how when an agency the BEP pays GS workers more and gives them parking. All their COLA's are on time, but the blue collar gets nothing. Even our COLA's are months late and many have to make them pay the back pay.

Thu, Feb 6, 2020 Erin C. Santa Nella CA

Despite requests from employees at my facility & a congressional, we are still receiving locality pay "the rest of the country" at the lowest rate. We are in the central valley in CA! What does it take to raise our locality pay to be able to keep my job & live in CA?

Thu, Jan 16, 2020 Randall P.

The federal government has a finite amount of labor dollar resources. You cannot pay people like the market place. If my agency gets 5 million in labor dollars, that is all I can spend, whereas if I work for Google, and the company's stock goes through the roof, the company is able to provide free vacations, $20K bumps in salary, etc. The government can never do that. The whole idea to make the govt like the private market in pay structure is based on a cynical idea that all that federal govt workers do all day is nothing. What happens if all federal govt workers perform better at their jobs than everyone at Google? The govt cannot afford to compensate and give us those lavish bonuses because there is set labor budget. The whole idea is stupid.

Wed, Jan 15, 2020

If the do nothing congress and senate and such representatives McConnel, Schumer, Pelosi, Cortez, Ryan and others were compensated on their work out put derived on a market based formula they would in fact owe the US treasury millions each. What a joke.

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2020 Digital Almanac

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