Monday, October 20, 2008

The Overseas Pay Gap – Not Quite on Life-Support But …

Proponents of revisions in the Foreign Service compensation system point out that as increasing numbers of Foreign Service personnel are going to posts of increased hardship and danger, Foreign Service personnel serving abroad receive 20.89% less than their colleagues who are posted in Washington, D.C. due to the loss of locality pay when serving abroad. Both the 109th and 110th Congresses have considered proposals to eliminate this pay difference. The “Foreign Service Overseas Pay Equity Act of 2008,” H.R. 3202, as amended, would eliminate the pay differences over three years.

- Foreign Service Overseas Pay Equity Act of 2008 was introduced to amend the Foreign Service Act of 1980 to extend comparability pay adjustments to members of the Foreign Service assigned to posts abroad, and to amend the provision relating to the death gratuity payable to surviving dependents of Foreign Service employees who die as a result of injuries sustained in the performance of duty abroad. You can read the full text of the bill here (PDF).

Status: Latest Major Action:
Was placed on the Union Calendar, Calendar No. 571 on 9/24/2008. According to AFSA, the office of Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) has also confirmed that he had placed a hold on H.R. 3202. AFSA’s John Naland has more on this here.

Cost Estimate:
CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 3202 would cost $1.3 billion over the 2009-2013 period, assuming appropriation of the necessary amounts. That’s $5.00 per American over the 2009-2013 period as computed by Full text of the cost estimate for the bill as ordered reported by the House Committee on Foreign Affairs on July 16, 2008 is available from the Congressional Budget Office here (PDF).

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) has also written a report on the “Proposals for a New Foreign Service Compensation System in the 110th Congress.” You can read the entire text here (PDF).

Online Resources:
Write Your Representative
Congress Merge:
Online Congressional Directory to Contact Your Reps

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