Congress to give feds 2010 locality pay


House and Senate negotiators have approved a 1.5 percent nationwide increase in base pay and a 0.5 percent average increase in locality pay for federal civilian employees effective January 2010.

A House and Senate conference committee approved the pay raise as part of a spending omnibus late Tuesday night, setting the stage for the House to take up the spending package this week.

The conferees adhered to President Barack Obama’s requested 2 percent federal pay raise, breaking a long-standing tradition of pay parity with the military. Members of the military will likely receive a 3.4 percent raise in 2010. The legislators did reject Obama’s Nov. 30 proposal to eliminate locality pay and use the entire raise as an increase to base pay.

The pay raise was included in the Financial Services bill, one of six bills included in the $446.8 billion discretionary omnibus approved Tuesday. Other bills included in the omnibus are: Commerce, Justice and Science; Labor, Health and Human Services and Education; Military Construction and Veterans Affairs; State and Foreign Operations; and Transportation and Housing and Urban Development.

The omnibus contains all the pending appropriations bills except for Defense, which Democratic leaders plan to introduce separately. House Appropriation Committee Republicans said the committee’s leadership is saving the Defense bill to attach politically unpopular items, such as raising the federal debt limit, that would not pass on their own.

Check back with Federal Times Wednesday morning for much more on the federal pay raise and the 2010 spending omnibus.


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  1. Oh great, now we’ll be getting even less (I’m RUS). And when the Making Work Pay tax break ends in July, we’ll probably be making less than we’re making now. I guess it’s still better than a sharp stick in the eye.

  2. What a cruel joke this locality pay is for long time federal workers who have reached the pay cap. As an Administrative Law Judge, I reached the cap 7 years ago. The result? Every year we only get the across the board portion of the pay increase, not the locality pay. This means I have had my pay increase adjusted less than the inflation rate 7 years in a row. ALJs will be paid at the level of law clerks in the private sector in a few years if this pattern persists.

    The worst part is the government keeps asking us to do more with less. Last year I traveled throughout the United States and decided 572 cases worth in total about $150 million dollars. To do this, if the cases are to be decided correctly and well reasoned, a person has to totally work his or her butt off.

    Its as if the government sets a trap for older workers. They know that workers in their 50’s and 60’s are late in their careers and cannot easily transfer into the private sector. Most employers in the private sector want younger blood. So the government takes advantage of this, knowing that the older workers are in that sense trapped in their jobs because he or she has no where else to go at this late juncture. The end result: once a person is capped expect to see significant pay erosion over the remainder of that person’s federal career. Depending on how long the capped out worker stays in his or her job that erosion could equal 20% to 30% of pay.

  3. Thats great. We get stuck again from this Democratic President. The raise won’t even cover the Health care increase and now i see the Middle class will be paying the brunt of the Health care reform. Guess he needs the extra 1 percent we normally get to give some more handouts or bailouts.

  4. Isn’t it interesting that a report was just released stating that federal employees pay are higher than the private sector. The report show that years ago only one person in a branch made $170,000. Today there are over 1600 making that. The Pentagon was also sighted for high salaries.
    Oh, by the way, how come they get a raise but us social security recipients do not get a raise?

  5. To all current federal employees: Stop your complaining about the pay increase this year. Face it, most people outside of government are struggling to keep their jobs and for those retirees, like myself, — we get zip this year since the CPI actually went down in the last 12 months. So stop complaining and count your fortunes for getting anything this year. Also, to correct Brad — this is a pay increase not a COLA. If the Federal pay increases were pegged against the CPI — you would not get anything this year. Count your blessings.

  6. Great. 0.5% AVERAGE locality pay increase. That will quickly be absorbed by a few high-cost areas which will get increases, and the rest of us (RUS, and others) will get zip, zilch, nada. Yup – 1.5% + .5% looks pretty on paper for the President’s 2% increase, but many of us will only see a 1.5% *increase* (it’s NOT a raise, people). And that 1.5% doesn’t keep pace with increased utility, transportation, and food costs in most locations. Meanwhile, the military gets almost 3.5%??!?! Not to begrudge our military (which is SO politically incorrect to do today), but the military has COST-FREE medical care for themselves and their families, and COST-FREE dental care for themselves (NO co-payment and partial reimbursement), as well as at-cost food prices in the commissary system. So, once more, the feds will fall furhter behind the public sector and have to shoulder a proportionately greater cost of living burden than the military. No wonder the federal government has such a difficult time holding onto good workers. But, as a previous poster pointed out, at my age (48), where am I going to go?

  7. I won’t forget how my reprensentative and senator sold me out the next time I go to the voting booth. I say let’s give them a 100% pay cut the next time they run.

  8. I’m retired. So I’ll get nothing for a CPI raise! But my food, ALL insurances, housing costs, and almost all else has gone up. How do they ALL go up and the CPI goes down? And the military gets 3.5%! What % are in or ever go to combat? In Nam wasn’t it 7% of the military went to Nam and less to combat? OK, YES for those in combat, even more than 3.5% I say, triple combat pay, quadruple it. BUT – same pay raise as ALL federal employees. But not to those only in the AOR, just those actually assigned to combat type duty. Further, I thought it was illegal to differentiate between federal employees (civilian or military – Executive, Legislative, Judicial). Aren’t we REQUIRED to all get the same? And wasn’t it about 30-35 years ago that Congress acknowledged how far behind the private sector we Feds were and vowed to catch us up? Will I live long enough to see an honest / ethical Congress? Are they getting nothing too? The Legislative Branch is Federal employees, employed by us, we the people. I say they get what we get. Congressman Bill Young, are you listening? Senator Nelson and Senator what’s-his-name (the stand-in) are you listening?

  9. For JK 48 yrs, complaining against AD mil., you can try getting enlisted or commissioned in this war time and deserve and earn all the benefits that you have been missing on.

    Mil. retiree checks may go actually down; as per my latest Ret pay statement. That is to cover for the rising dental insurance premium, I believe.

    The parity will be back next year, be patient and come out looking pretty good through this tough economy; be faithful and loyal federal employees that many profess to be and be happy.

    GS or NSPS could volunteer to go overseas and be deployed and earn a lot of tax benefits– if they so choose.

  10. My husband has been a federal employee for 26 years. He is a Bachelors Science Electronics Engineer and works closely with all the contractors making more then TRIPPLE what he makes.
    When the contractors come and go due to their negligence, their constant shifting of the “qualified staffers” to new pending contracts, he remains to clean up the mess.
    When he joined the feds, it was for job security, medical coverage, and a good retirement program..they are all gone now.
    When you work side by side doing MORE WORK then contractors typically making at LEAST double, while you get screwed, you wonder why people leave for better jobs?
    The typical health insurance doubled this year. Being a fed meant cheaper good quality health insurance. Our biweekly rates went from $92 to $185.
    I do appreciate that we have health insurance and count my blessings, however because he is now 45 and I have health issues that prevent him from going anywhere because of “pre exiting conditions,” we are stuck being screwed over by the “raises”, the health insurance increases, and the contractors messing everything up and the feds taking ALL THE blame.
    I ramble…have a good day all. Keep your heads up, at least you are doing an EXCELLENT job working for the government. It is a patriotic thing to do, (along with our brave men and women in the military), and most people only talk patrisim, but we are actually doing it.

  11. Stop your sniveling… be happy you have a job to go to. If you don’t like the view, change it. I am sure the millions of unemployed would love to have your job; any job!

  12. I tend to wonder how many of you who are complaining actually voted for the person who “IS CURRENTLY” causing this decline in civilian pay. Politics aside, people should be able to see the writting on the wall, DEMOCRATS TAX AND SPEND…….any pay raises would be offset by the massive taxes we are about to experience…..

  13. If they are going to give us a 2 percent raise they need to cut the money we are paying in the Federal Health Care for Governmnent Employees. That won’t even cover the increase of permuims.

  14. Stoked surfer dude on

    I agree with earlier comments us Feds should be grateful we have a job and we get ANY pay increase at all this year. In case you haven’t noticed the Gov’t is running a trillion dollar budget deficit this year and many of our fellow citizens are hurting big time (10% unemployment).

    So to all you guns, gays, God, and Sarah Palin types out there, where is your patriotism? Why not take a small hit in your pay this year and do your part to help close the Federal budget deficit? Or do you want to continue to borrow from communist China? I thought all you right wingers are commie haters?

  15. As a career federal employee (I have 15 years of service and will stay until I retire), I am appalled at the sense of entitlement I see in the previous posts. How can any of you look at the numbers of people who have LOST their jobs (among them my sister, my aunt–after 40 years with AAA, my uncle, and a friend who was laid off this week), the numbers of people requiring food assistance, the numbers of people losing their homes (and I don’t mean the ones who had subprime mortgages) and actually COMPLAIN about how little your increase/raise (call it what you will, it’s more money than you made last year) is this year. You blame the president, yet this economic mess started before he took office. Yes, the military is getting a higher raise, but when was the last time you risked your LIFE for your benefits. Yes, we make less than our contractors for similar work, but we also don’t need to worry about whether we’re going to have a job next year. For the golden hand cuff crowd (which includes me), looking for a job in the private sector right now, no matter what your age, is discouraging and demoralizing. And, BTW, to the poster whose husband has negligent contractors, feds have a responsibility to hold contractors responsible for the quality of their work. He may not be in a position to do it directly, but there’s always the anonymous fraud, waste and abuse hotline to call. Would I like more money in my pocket for the new year? Absolutely. But really, take a moment and ask yourself if a smaller than normal increase for one year is such a great sacrifice. You chose to dedicate your professional life to public service, and you knew when you started that it’s never been a route to riches. I choose to focus on what I can do to help my country through this crisis and on the good things I do have, rather than those I don’t.

  16. Same old stuff, “stop complaining you have a job.” Has nothing to do with it. The attitude of everyone must suffer together regardless the circumstances is old. The government is hiring, so for all those people who post the “stop sniveling you have a job” posts, why not apply for a govt position if they are so good?

  17. “I tend to wonder how many of you who are complaining actually voted for the person who “IS CURRENTLY” causing this decline in civilian pay.”

    Nope. Swing and a miss.

  18. The Commissary is profit entity–Try to keep up, and the food is not at cost by any means.
    The retirement program is good 50% of your base pay–WOW! 33% of your normal pay–can’t live on that! Free Medical and Dental and Vision. Try getting your dependents in for dental. Pay now or later–retirees have to pay for their TRICARE benefits with a co-pay. But dont worry they just stood out in a field and took bullets for you–for 20 years.

  19. There is nothing wrong with OBAMA that electing Bush twice would not have cured. Obama is living with the result of an incompetent president. Give him a break!!!

  20. I’m a longterm civil servant, capped a long time ago, and planning on working another 10-15 years for the government.

    If you can’t move to the private sector at any time in your government career–you have a problem that pay scales can’t solve.

    If you are nearing retirement, or capped (or close) and you are just now understanding the limits to your earnings when you are at this point, you have not planned very well.

    The basic pay system is not ever going to change substantially, and you will not experience anyone outside of government who has much sympathy for our concerns about cost of living increases, and salary caps.

    We make more money than most Americans.

    You have to decide what you are doing in government. If it is for the pay, and you don’t have options to move up, or out, you don’t have much to look forward to from the federal pay system.

    Every year I have been in the civil service I have read about the projected exodus of retirees. It never happens, but when slightly larger than normal numbers leave, it makes very little difference in government operations. There are many applications for most senior civil service job vacancies. Many very qualified people want our jobs, and will be glad to start at lower salaries. It is probably unrealistic to conclude that you work harder than the average American, or can’t be replaced fairly easily.

    Time to face the facts folks. We serve by choice, and are paid well by our countrymen. There is no grassroots, or congressional effort to change our pay, the fundamental process in which it is administered, or when it is adjusted for cost of living.

  21. Why do retired representatives continue to collect salaries. I say salaries because what pension plan pays over $35,000 a year and can collect SS. The same goes for retired presidents who in addition to their salary require secret service protection for the rest of their lives. Besides all the perks that they get, they won’t be required to belong to the “Universal Health Care”. There are plenty of free clinics for the uninsured (which we pay for with our taxes) and emergencies cannot be turned away from a hospital. Monies for this new healthcare will be placed in a general fund just like Social Security and we know what has happened there. Something to think about before NOVEMBER 2010 – Vote with facts, not promises.

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