Good news, bad news, on the pay front

Friday - 3/7/2014, 2:00am EST

The good news for white-collar feds in the U.S. is that you are likely to get a pay raise in January 2015.

The bad news is that it will be the same as the 1 percent increase you got last January.

The bittersweet part is that this year's 1 percent was the first January pay raise you've had since 2010, although you are paying 2014 prices for things like food, rent, fuel and health premiums. This is true wherever you work or live.

There is added good/bad/bittersweet news for feds who live or work near any of the following cities:

  • Albany, NY
  • Albuquerque
  • Austin
  • Charlotte
  • Colorado Springs
  • Davenport, Iowa
  • Harrisburg
  • Laredo
  • Las Vegas
  • Palm Bay, Florida
  • St. Louis
  • Tucson
The bad news for feds in those cities is that you're underpaid!

The good news is that your Uncle Sam knows it.

The bad news is that nobody outside of the government believes it!

The further bad news is that you are underpaid compared to people in the private sector in your city who are doing jobs similar to yours.

To add insult to injury is the fact that the government recognizes that you are paid less than your civil service colleagues in places like Houston, San Francisco, New York and the Baltimore- Washington locality pay loop.

The good news is that the government has teams of experts working on the problem. More good news is the fact that one of them, the Federal Salary Council among them, recommended that folks in the above-mentioned 14 cities be moved from RUS (government-ese for the "Rest of U.S." pay category) into their own locality pay area. In RUS, everybody is paid at the same level regardless of location and local private-sector salary conditions.

The bad news is that people listed in the fabulous 14 areas above will not be given their own locality pay designation in 2014. For the back story, click here.

Many retirement-age feds in RUS-area cities believe they should get locality pay status. That would mean an automatic raise, in some cases, a substantial increase. Some workers say they have delayed retirement pending a regular pay raise, hoping it would boost their highest three years of salary for retirement purposes. But that is not in the cards this year.

Since locality pay was set up, feds in LA, San Francisco, New York and Houston and smaller areas with large concentrations of feds, like Raleigh-Durham-Carey, have jumped well ahead of rates for most other locality areas — and for everyone who lives and works in RUS. There has been zero growth in locality pay since 2010, after which pay was first frozen. President Obama authorized the 1 percentage point increase last year for January of this year, but locality rates remain frozen.


NEARLY USELESS FACTOID

Compiled by Jack Moore

The apostrophe in the name of clothing retailer "Lands' End" was actually the result of a printing mistake in 1964 that the company's founder couldn't afford to fix at the time.

(Source: Slate)


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