President Joe Biden finalized a 5.2% federal pay raise for many civilian employees for 2024.
But it’s important to note the 5.2% figure is only an average. The actual numbers federal employees will see in their paychecks next year depend on where they work, thanks to locality pay.
Biden’s alternative pay plan called for a 4.7% across-the-board raise that most feds on the General Schedule receive, plus an average of a 0.5% locality-based adjustment. The 0.5% part of the raise is what accounts for the differences in pay.
In the new year, some raises will be above the 5.2% average, while others will fall slightly below. For 2024, federal employees’ pay raises nationwide range from 4.89% for feds in the Houston locality pay area — to 5.7% for feds in the Seattle-Tacoma locality pay area.
The table below shows the federal pay raises General Schedule employees will actually receive based on their locality pay area.
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The Office of Personnel Management published the full set of 2024 pay tables for the General Schedule on its website.
With the addition of four new locality pay areas, there are now 58 different pay raise percentages feds can receive, based on their location.
The actual raises for the four new locality pay areas are:
5.28% for employees in the Fresno-Madera-Hanford, California locality
5.25% for employees in the Reno-Fernley, Nevada locality
5.46% for employees in the Rochester-Batavia-Seneca Falls, New York locality
5.31% for employees in the Spokane-Spokane Valley-Coeur d’Alene, Washington-Idaho locality
Federal employees working in the national capital region will receive a 5.31% raise.
Locality pay, dating back to 1990, comes from the Federal Employee Pay Comparability Act (FEPCA). The law attempted to correct what Congress at the time observed to be a growing wage gap between the federal and private sectors.
Although FEPCA allows for a large enough annual federal pay raise to bring the federal-private sector wage gap down to 5%, no president since 1994 has incorporated the fully authorized amount. Decades of deviating from FEPCA have caused distortion of federal pay in multiple ways.
Currently, the Federal Salary Council reports that federal employees are earning about 27.54% less in wages than those in the private sector with similar occupations. At this point, it would cost $22 billion to bring General Schedule salaries in line with the private sector, the President’s Pay Agent reported in October.
The 2024 federal pay raise will take effect in the first full pay period in January.
Federal News Network’s Jared Serbu contributed to this report.