A bill introduced in the House would end pay computational differences between wage scale (hourly) and General Schedule (GS) salaried employees. The “Locality Pay Equity Act,” (H.R. 2450) would fix a compensation system that is “dated and does not take into account current regional considerations and statistics,” according to the bill’s sponsor Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-PA).
His proposed legislation would resolve “wage computation disparity between wage scale or hourly employees and general schedule (GS) or salaried employees,” Cartwright said in a press release. The bill would require the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to define only one local wage area within a pay locality. As a result, wages for hourly wage workers would be raised, but salaried (GS) employees would not be affected, Cartwright said.
The driver behind his proposal is the complicated and what he considers “unfair” labor market boundary situation at Tobyhanna Army Depot, located in Cartwright’s district. At Tobyhanna, hourly employees are part of the Scranton wage area, which in turn is part of the “Rest of U.S.” (RUS) area that represents all non-urban areas in the United States. However, GS Tobyhanna’s GS employees are in the New York City area, which receives a 25 percent pay differential.
Placing hourly wage workers and GS employees in different local market areas “for purposes purposes of setting pay is inconsistent and inequitable,” Cartwright said. If passed and signed by the president, the bill would apply to all government facilities, not just Tobyhanna.
OPM's Director is currently considering a policy change approved by the Federal Prevailing Rate Advisory Committee (FPRAC) that would equalize the treatment of hourly wage and BS workers at the same work location. However, a final decision on this policy change has been delayed due to the federal employee pay freeze.