The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) will finalize six new locality pay areas for 2019.
- Birmingham, Alabama
- Burlington, Vermont
- Corpus Christi, Texas
- Omaha, Nebraska
- San Antonio, Texas
- Virginia Beach/Norfolk, Virginia
The changes in locality pay area definitions are applicable on the first day of the first pay period beginning on or after January 1, 2019. Locality pay rates for the six new locality pay areas will be set by the President. This will likely happen at the end of December, just before the official 2019 GS pay tables are released.
According to OPM, the new locality pay areas will impact about 70,000 GS employees.
“Locality pay rates now applicable in those areas will not change automatically,” OPM noted, “because locality pay percentages are established by Executive order under the President’s authority in 5 U.S.C. 5304 or 5304a, and the President decides each year whether to adjust locality pay percentages. ”
“When locality pay percentages are adjusted, past practice has been to allocate a percent of the total GS payroll for locality pay raises and to have the overall dollar cost for such pay raises be the same, regardless of the number of locality pay areas,” OPM explained. “If a percent of the total GS payroll is allocated for locality pay increases, the addition of new areas results in a somewhat smaller amount to allocate for locality pay increases in existing areas. Implementing higher locality pay rates in the six new locality pay areas could thus result in relatively lower pay increases for employees in existing locality pay areas than they would otherwise receive.”