Ask The Lawyer

By Debra Roth

Q & A Session: Pay Adjustment

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Q:

I had been working in the same position at the same duty station for ten years until my employer recently changed my duty station.  My new worksite is five miles away into the adjacent county that has locality adjustments.  Am I entitled to a pay adjustment?  It is a pay difference of $500/month.

A:

If you have changed locality areas, you should indeed receive a locality adjustment.

Determining your locality pay is usually an easy three-step process because locality payments, special rate supplements, and cost-of-living adjustments are all determined according to where your official duty station is.  First, you determine your official duty station.  As a practical matter, it should be listed on the most recent SF-50 in your Official Personnel Folder, and it should match your new worksite.  Legally, the official duty station for most employees is “the location of an employee’s position of record where the employee regularly performs his or her duties” according to 5 CFR § 531.605(a)(1) – again, this is probably your new worksite.  Second, check your official duty station against the Office of Personnel Management’s (“OPM”) regulations defining locality pay areas at 5 CFR § 531.603 – it will tell you exactly which locality pay area your official duty station is in.  Third, review OPM’s website to determine the locality pay in your area for this year, and you will have arrived at the locality pay rate you are entitled to.

You may find that reviewing 5 CFR § 531.601-531.611 as a whole provides useful information on locality pay.

This response is written by Michael S. Causey, associate attorney of Shaw Bransford & Roth PC.

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