– What is Locality Pay?

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Context: I’m a US citizen and our government is going to hire and train the next batch of Air Traffic Controllers. When explaining the process and what the pay would be like etc, the site mentions “Locality Pay.” I have quite literally never heard of the term before, and when I look it up everything just skips straight to “How does it work?” But what is it???

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9 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

There’s a base pay for a job. Different parts of the country have higher costs of living, however, so some places gain an extra percentage over the base rate. The country is divided into a bunch of different “localities” (just geographical areas) and assigned a specific percentage.

Anonymous 0 Comments

It’s essentially a cost of living increase based on location. It’s more expensive to live and work in LA as opposed to Pittsburgh, so the government gives you extra money to offset the costs and ensure your salary is roughly equal to other ATC after expenses and taxes.

Anonymous 0 Comments

As I recall there is a non-zero locality pay for the “Rest of US” so everybody makes more than the base rate.

Anonymous 0 Comments

As an FAA air traffic controller I can give you some very specific answers on pay and benefits. Locality pay is a percentage adjustment to your pay based off the location of your facility. Our pay is determined by 3 factors. The traffic volume of your facility, you’re time at the facility, and the location if your facility. If you are working at a level 12 facility in Texas or a level 12 facility in New York you will he working a similar amount of traffic and your base salary will be the same, but your cost of living will be much higher in new York so your locality adjustment will be more and your overall pay will be higher.

If you have any other questions about ATC pay feel free to reach out and I can give you some specifics

Anonymous 0 Comments

ATCs are all public sector jobs serving the FAA and on a public sector payband. The job has a base salary and then a locality adjustment on top of it. It is always an addition, never a subtraction from base pay.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Certain places have a high cost of living. Therefore, a blanket pay would be horrific for some and terrific for others. 

New York, New York will have a higher base pay than Tupelo, Mississippi because the cost of living is higher in NYC. 

Cheaper places to live = lower base pay. High cost of living places to live =higher base pay. 

Anonymous 0 Comments

Locality pay is an adjustment to your base pay based on the area of the country where you work. Some areas are more expensive to live in, San Francisco vs Independence IA. They have a locality pay to increase your total compensation without adjusting your base pay.

This prevents someone from gaming the system by working in a high cost of living area for a few years to get a high pay rate and then moving to a low cost of living area and expecting to keep that high pay. Additionally some other benefits can be based off of your base pay and not your total pay, like retirement.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Current controller.

Simply, they looked at different regions and decided how much more expensive it is to live there. They then add that percentage to your base.

So if the base pay is $100k, with 20% locality, you’d be making $120k.

To further the ATC specific example, theres also something called controller incentive pay, so if you go to a “less desirable” location you can get an extra 5-10%.

Then theres premium pay, nights, weekends, holidays.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Government jobs will have a base level of pay that everyone is guaranteed to get. But because government work is needed all over the country, they need to entice people who live in more expensive areas to take government jobs. This is why in more expensive areas they will increase your pay by a certain amount to accommodate for the higher cost of living.

For example I am a government employee living in NY. The base pay for my job is 42k, everyone doing the same job gets at least this much. The locality adjustment is 15.6k. So my salary totals to 57.6k a year. This shows that locality pay can have quite a large impact on your total pay.