Telework and locality pay - what are you entitled to?

Sunday - 8/14/2011, 7:45pm EDT

Locality pay in the federal government is based on an employee's "official duty station." But how does a teleworker determine what that is?

The Office of Personnel Management lays out its definition in its "Official Worksite for Location-Based Pay Purposes" document.

  • The official worksite for an employee covered by a telework agreement is the location of the regular worksite for the employee's position (i.e., the place where the employee would normally work absent a telework agreement), as long as the employee is scheduled to report physically at least twice each biweekly pay period on a regular and recurring basis to that regular worksite.
  • In the case of a telework employee whose work location varies on a recurring basis, the employee need not report at least twice each biweekly pay period to the regular worksite established by the agency as long as the employee is performing work within the same geographic area (established for the purpose of a given pay entitlement) as the employee's regular worksite. For example, if a telework employee with a varying work location works at least twice each biweekly pay period on a regular and recurring basis in the same locality pay area in which the established official worksite is located, the employee need not report at least twice each biweekly pay period to that official worksite to maintain entitlement to the locality payment for that area.
  • The official worksite for an employee covered by a telework agreement who is not scheduled to report at least twice each biweekly pay period on a regular and recurring basis to the regular worksite is the location of the telework site (i.e., home, telework center, or other alternative worksite), except in certain temporary situations…

On this last point, FedSmith's Robert Dietrich has a warning for federal employees. In his latest column he writes, "There are a small number of situations where the person's home becomes their ‘official duty station.' … This can present a problem if the person's home is outside the vicinity of their locality pay. Is this person still entitled to the locality pay where their agency is located? The answer is no. They are entitled to the locality pay where their permanent duty station is, as shown on a SF-50, and that could be higher or lower."