(a) Pay disparities shall be identified and reduced as follows:

Terms Used In 5 USC 5304

  • Appraisal: A determination of property value.
  • association: when used in reference to a corporation, shall be deemed to embrace the words "successors and assigns of such company or association" in like manner as if these last-named words, or words of similar import, were expressed. See 1 USC 5
  • Contract: A legal written agreement that becomes binding when signed.
  • individual: shall include every infant member of the species homo sapiens who is born alive at any stage of development. See 1 USC 8

(1) Comparability payments shall be payable within each locality determined to have a pay disparity greater than 5 percent.

(2)(A) The localities having pay disparities, and the size of those disparities, shall, for purposes of any comparability payment scheduled to take effect in any calendar year, be determined in accordance with the appropriate report, as prepared and submitted to the President under subsection (d)(1) for purposes of such calendar year.

(B) Any computation necessary to determine the size of the comparability payment to become payable for any locality in a year (as well as any determination as to the size of any pay disparity remaining after that comparability payment is made) shall likewise be made using data contained in the appropriate report (described in subparagraph (A)) so prepared and submitted for purposes of such calendar year.

(3) Subject to paragraph (4), the amount of the comparability payments payable under this subsection in a calendar year within any locality in which a comparability payment is payable shall be computed using such percentage as the President determines for such locality under subsection (d)(2), except that–

(A) the percentage for the first calendar year in which any amounts are payable under this section may not be less than 1/5 of the amount needed to reduce the pay disparity of the locality involved to 5 percent;

(B) the percentage for the second calendar year in which any amounts are payable under this section may not be less than 3/10 of the amount needed to reduce the pay disparity of the locality involved to 5 percent;

(C) the percentage for the third calendar year in which any amounts are payable under this section may not be less than 2/5 of the amount needed to reduce the pay disparity of the locality involved to 5 percent;

(D) the percentage for the fourth calendar year in which any amounts are payable under this section may not be less than ½ of the amount needed to reduce the pay disparity of the locality involved to 5 percent;

(E) the percentage for the fifth calendar year in which any amounts are payable under this section may not be less than 3/5 of the amount needed to reduce the pay disparity of the locality involved to 5 percent;

(F) the percentage for the sixth calendar year in which any amounts are payable under this section may not be less than 7/10 of the amount needed to reduce the pay disparity of the locality involved to 5 percent;

(G) the percentage for the seventh calendar year in which any amounts are payable under this section may not be less than 4/5 of the amount needed to reduce the pay disparity of the locality involved to 5 percent;

(H) the percentage for the eighth calendar year in which any amounts are payable under this section may not be less than 9/10 of the amount needed to reduce the pay disparity of the locality involved to 5 percent; and

(I) the percentage for the ninth calendar year in which any amounts are payable under this section, and any year thereafter, may not be less than the full amount necessary to reduce the pay disparity of the locality involved to 5 percent.


(4) Nothing in this section shall be considered to preclude the President, in his discretion, from adjusting comparability payments to a level higher than the minimum level otherwise required in a calendar year, including to the level necessary to eliminate a locality’s pay disparity completely.


(b) After the ninth calendar year (referred to in subsection (a)(3)(I)), the level of comparability payments payable within such locality may be reduced for any subsequent calendar year, but only if, or to the extent that, the reduction would not immediately create another pay disparity in excess of 5 percent within the locality (taking into consideration any comparability payments remaining payable).

(c)(1) The amount of the comparability payment payable within any particular locality during a calendar year–

(A) shall be stated as a single percentage, which shall be uniformly applicable to General Schedule positions within the locality; and

(B) shall, for any employee entitled to receive a comparability payment, be computed by applying that percentage to such employee’s scheduled rate of basic pay (or, if lower due to a limitation on the rate payable, the rate actually payable), subject to subsection (g).


(2) A comparability payment–

(A) shall be considered to be part of basic pay for purposes of retirement under chapter 83 or 84, as applicable, life insurance under chapter 87, and premium pay under subchapter V of chapter 55, and for such other purposes as may be expressly provided for by law or as the Office of Personnel Management may by regulation prescribe; and

(B) shall be paid in the same manner and at the same time as the basic pay payable to such employee pursuant to any provision of law outside of this section.


(3) Nothing in this subchapter shall be considered to permit or require that any portion of a comparability payment be taken into account for purposes of any adjustment under section 5303.

(4)(A) Only employees receiving scheduled rates of basic pay (subject to any pay limitation which may apply) shall be eligible for comparability payments under this section.

(B) Comparability payments shall not be payable for service performed in any position which may not, under subsection (f)(1)(A), be included within a pay locality.

(d) In order to carry out this section, the President shall–

(1) direct such agent as he considers appropriate to prepare and submit to him annually, after considering such views and recommendations as may be submitted under subsection (e) (but not later than 13 months before the start of the calendar year for purposes of which it is prepared), a report that–

(A) compares the rates of pay under the General Schedule (disregarding any described in section 5302(8)(C)) 1 with the rates of pay generally paid to non-Federal workers for the same levels of work within each pay locality, as determined on the basis of appropriate surveys that shall be conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics;

(B) based on data from such surveys, identifies each locality in which a pay disparity exists and specifies the size of each such pay disparity (before and after taking into consideration any comparability payments payable);

(C) makes recommendations for appropriate comparability payments, in conformance with applicable requirements of this section; and

(D) includes the views and recommendations submitted under subsection (e);


(2) after considering the report of his agent (including the views and recommendations referred to in subsection (e)(2)(C), provide for or adjust comparability payments in conformance with applicable requirements of this section, effective as of the beginning of the first applicable pay period commencing on or after January 1 of the applicable year; and

(3) transmit to Congress a report of the actions taken under paragraph (2) (together with a copy of the report submitted to him by his agent, including the views and recommendations referred to in subsection (e)(2)(C)) which shall–

(A) identify each pay locality;

(B) specify which localities have pay disparities in excess of 5 percent, and the size of the disparity existing in each of those localities, according to the pay agent’s most recent report under paragraph (1) (before and after taking into consideration any comparability payments payable); and

(C) indicate the size of the respective comparability payments (expressed as percentages) which will be in effect under paragraph (2) for the various pay localities specified under subparagraph (B) for the applicable calendar year.


(e)(1) The President shall establish a Federal Salary Council of 9 members, of whom–

(A) 3 shall be chosen from among persons generally recognized for their impartiality, knowledge, and experience in the field of labor relations and pay policy; and

(B) 6 shall be representatives of employee organizations which represent substantial numbers of employees holding General Schedule positions, and who shall be selected giving due consideration to such factors as the relative numbers of employees represented by the various organizations, except that not more than 3 members of the Council at any one time shall be from a single employee organization, council, federation, alliance, association, or affiliation of employee organizations.


Members of the Council shall not receive pay by reason of their service on the Council, nor shall members who are not otherwise employees of the United States be considered employees by reason of any such service. However, members under subparagraph (A) may be paid expenses in accordance with section 5703. The President shall designate one of the members to serve as Chairman of the Federal Salary Council. One of the 3 members under subparagraph (A) may be the Chairman of the Federal Prevailing Rate Advisory Committee, notwithstanding the restriction under section 5347(a)(1), and such individual may also be designated to serve as Chairman of the Federal Salary Council.

(2) The pay agent shall–

(A) provide for meetings with the Council and give thorough consideration to the views and recommendations of the Council and the individual views and recommendations, if any, of the members of the Council regarding–

(i) the establishment or modification of pay localities;

(ii) the coverage of the surveys of pay localities conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics under subsection (d)(1)(A) (including, but not limited to, the occupations, establishment sizes, and industries to be surveyed, and how pay localities are to be surveyed);

(iii) the process of comparing the rates of pay payable under the General Schedule with rates of pay for the same levels of work performed by non-Federal workers; and

(iv) the level of comparability payments that should be paid in order to eliminate or reduce pay disparities in accordance with the requirements of this section;


(B) give thorough consideration to the views and recommendations of employee organizations not represented on the Council regarding the subjects in subparagraph (A)(i)-(iv); and

(C) include in its report to the President the views and recommendations submitted as provided in this subsection by the Council, by any member of the Council, and by employee organizations not represented on the Council.


(f)(1) The pay agent may provide for such pay localities as the pay agent considers appropriate, except that–

(A) each General Schedule position in the United States, as defined under section 5921(4), and its territories and possessions, including the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, shall be included within a pay locality; and

(B) the boundaries of pay localities shall be determined based on appropriate factors which may include local labor market patterns, commuting patterns, and practices of other employers.


(2)(A) The establishment or modification of any such boundaries shall be effected by regulations which, notwithstanding subsection (a)(2) of section 553, shall be promulgated in accordance with the notice and comment requirements of such section.

(B) Judicial review of any regulation under this subsection shall be limited to whether or not it was promulgated in accordance with the requirements referred to in subparagraph (A).

(g)(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), comparability payments may not be paid at a rate which, when added to the rate of basic pay otherwise payable to the employee involved, would cause the total to exceed the rate of basic pay payable for level IV of the Executive Schedule.

(2) The applicable maximum under this subsection shall be level III of the Executive Schedule for–

(A) positions under subparagraphs (A) and (B) of subsection (h)(1);

(B) positions under subsection (h)(1)(C) not covered by appraisal systems certified under subsection 5307(d); and

(C) any positions under subsection (h)(1)(D) as the President may determine.


(3) The applicable maximum under this subsection shall be level II of the Executive Schedule for positions under subsection (h)(1)(C) covered by appraisal systems certified under section 5307(d).

(h)(1) For the purpose of this subsection, the term “position” means–

(A) a position to which section 5372 applies (relating to administrative law judges appointed under section 3105);

(B) a position to which section 5372a applies (relating to contract appeals board members);

(C) a Senior Executive Service position under section 3132 or 3151 or a senior level position under section 5376 stationed within the United States, but outside the 48 contiguous States and the District of Columbia in which the incumbent was an individual who on the day before the effective date of section 1912 of the Non-Foreign Area Retirement Equity Assurance Act of 2009 was eligible to receive a cost-of-living allowance under section 5941 and who thereafter has served continuously in an area in which such an allowance was payable; and

(D) a position within an Executive agency not covered under the General Schedule or any of the preceding subparagraphs, the rate of basic pay for which is (or, but for this section, would be) no more than the rate payable for level IV of the Executive Schedule;


but does not include–

(i) a position to which subchapter IV applies (relating to prevailing rate systems);

(ii) a position as to which a rate of pay is authorized under section 5377 (relating to critical positions);

(iii) a position to which subchapter II applies (relating to the Executive Schedule);

(iv) a Senior Executive Service position under section 3132, except for a position covered by subparagraph (C);

(v) a position in the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Drug Enforcement Administration Senior Executive Service under section 3151, except for a position covered by subparagraph (C);

(vi) a position in a system equivalent to the system in clause (iv), as determined by the President’s Pay Agent designated under subsection (d); or

(vii) a position to which section 5376 applies (relating to certain senior-level and scientific and professional positions), except for a position covered by subparagraph (C).


(2)(A) Notwithstanding subsection (c)(4) or any other provision of this section, but subject to subparagraph (B) and paragraph (3), upon the request of the head of an Executive agency with respect to 1 or more categories of positions, the President may provide that each employee of such agency who holds a position within such category, and within the particular locality involved, shall be entitled to receive comparability payments.

(B) A request by an agency head or exercise of authority by the President under subparagraph (A) shall cover–

(i) with respect to the positions under subparagraphs (A) through (C) of paragraph (1), all positions described in the subparagraph or subparagraphs involved (excluding any under clause (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v), (vi), or (vii) of such paragraph); and

(ii) with respect to positions under paragraph (1)(D), such positions as may be considered appropriate (excluding any under clause (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v), (vi), or (vii) of paragraph (1)).


(C) Notwithstanding subsection (c)(4) or any other provision of law, but subject to paragraph (3), in the case of a category with positions that are in more than 1 Executive agency, the President may, on his own initiative, provide that each employee who holds a position within such category, and in the locality involved, shall be entitled to receive comparability payments. No later than 30 days before an employee receives comparability payments under this subparagraph, the President or the President’s designee shall submit a detailed report to the Congress justifying the reasons for the extension, including consideration of recruitment and retention rates and the expense of extending locality pay.

(3) Comparability payments under this subsection–

(A) may be paid only in any calendar year in which comparability payments under the preceding provisions of this section are payable with respect to General Schedule positions within the same locality;

(B) shall take effect, within the locality involved, on the first day of the first applicable pay period commencing on or after such date as the President designates (except that no date may be designated which would require any retroactive payments), and shall remain in effect through the last day of the last applicable pay period commencing during that calendar year;

(C) shall be computed using the same percentage as is applicable, for the calendar year involved, with respect to General Schedule positions within the same locality; and

(D) shall be subject to the applicable limitation under subsection (g).


(i) The Office of Personnel Management may prescribe regulations, consistent with the provisions of this section, governing the payment of comparability payments to employees.