Thousands of feds won’t get all — or any — of the January raise!

If your supervisor or boss looks a little glum when office talk turns to the 2022 pay raise, cut them a little slack. For many, it’s the equivalent of coal in their Christmas stocking. The fact is employees in the GS-15 and above level will only get a tiny portion of the pay raise. If they get anything. How much, if anything, they get will depend on how long they’ve been in their grade and where they live and work. That’s because federal pay, unless the amount is increased, is capped at $172,500.

Because the D.C.-Baltimore metro area has the most federal workers, and most headquarters operations, most of the GS-15s are here. But thanks to locality pay, the cap impacts, and will continue to impact, thousands of GS-15 employees in higher federal wage areas like New York City, Los Angeles-Long Beach, San Francisco and Houston. Because of their higher locality rates, the pay ceiling for GS-15 employees covers more people in that grade.

Over the years, an artificial pay cap has kept many GS-15s from getting some or all of the raises their subordinates got. That barrier is pay for Level IV members of the executive service. Unless and until Congress raises it, GS-15 pay can’t exceed it.

The pay cap in D.C.-Baltimore currently extends down to step 7. But if other feds get a pay raise in 2022, the ceiling will be lowered to step 6 unless there is a raise for executes too.

But while the pay cap hits the most workers in the D.C.-Baltimore locality pay area, the impact is even tougher in Los Angeles-Long Beach, San Francisco-San Jose and other places. If feds in LA get a raise next year, the pay ceiling for GS-15s will move down from step 7 to step 6. In San Francisco-San Jose, it would be even worse, moving down from step 6 to step 5.

Feds in other high wage locality districts would also feel the squeeze unless Congress lifts the pay cap.

While it is hard for many American workers (private or federal) to feel sorry for anyone making “only” $172,500, it might be worthwhile to give it a try. Obviously there are losers and time-servers everywhere, in almost every business. But after they leave government, many top political appointees — cabinet secretaries, agency and bureau heads — frequently express admiration for the career executives they inherited. Often they were initially suspicious but came to appreciate and admire the career folks. Some of them even try to take their top federal staffers with them to the private sector, where pay, bonuses and perks are often better. As in a lot.

Meantime, the pay cap or ceiling hangs over a growing number of high-level civil servants. To check out locality pay rates in your area, and the impact on GS-15 pay if the cap isn’t raised, click here.

Nearly Useless Factoid

By Alazar Moges

With 4,316,233 births, more babies were born in the year 2007 than any other year in United States history.

Source: USA Today

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