U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright (D-PA) and U.S. Senator Bob Casey (DPA) introduced legislation this week that would align locality pay for hourly and salaried federal employees.
Under the current system, the locality boundaries for salaried workers are based on metropolitan markets, while the boundaries for hourly workers are still based on 1950s-era military installation placements.
For example, hourly employees at Tobyhanna Army Depot in Pennsylvania are included in the Scranton wage area, which is part of a locality pay area called “Rest of U.S.” (RUS). Salaried employees at Tobyhanna, however, have been placed in the New York City region. As a result, salaried employees earn 25 percent more than their wage-earning counterparts, according to Cartwright and Casey.
If passed, the Locality Pay Equity Act would close this gap by applying the pay boundaries for salaried employees to hourly workers. This would only raise the wages of hourly employees and would not affect the salaried employees.
“There’s no reason we should be using two different sets of pay boundaries, especially when it results in such an unfair wage gap,” said Rep. Cartwright. “Senator Casey and I agree that it’s time to fix this outdated system. This is a simple solution that ensures all Tobyhanna employees are paid fairly for their work, regardless of whether they are paid a salary or by the hour.”
“All employees, regardless of pay schedule, should be treated equally,” said Senator Casey. “It’s long past time that we address this ongoing issue at Tobyhanna and Letterkenny. Workers at these army depots are serving our Nation and deserve fair treatment from the federal government. This legislation would put an end to these pay disparities and create a more equitable compensation system.”
This legislation is endorsed by the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE).
“Currently, salaried and hourly federal employees can work side-by-side in the exact same location yet be treated as though they work in different locations when it comes to determining their locality pay,” AFGE National Secretary-Treasurer Everett Kelley said. “Federal employees in the skilled trades commute along the same routes and face the same living costs as their salaried coworkers, and there is no rational reason why the government pretends they are in different locations once they arrive at work.”
A summary of the legislation is here.