[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 139 (Wednesday, July 20, 2016)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 47049-47051]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-17029]


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Proposed Rules
                                                Federal Register
________________________________________________________________________

This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains notices to the public of 
the proposed issuance of rules and regulations. The purpose of these 
notices is to give interested persons an opportunity to participate in 
the rule making prior to the adoption of the final rules.

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Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 139 / Wednesday, July 20, 2016 / 
Proposed Rules

[[Page 47049]]



OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT

5 CFR Part 532

RIN 3206-AN29


Prevailing Rate Systems; Redefinition of the New York, NY, and 
Philadelphia, PA, Appropriated Fund Federal Wage System Wage Areas

AGENCY: U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

ACTION: Proposed rule with request for comments.

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SUMMARY: The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is issuing a 
proposed rule that would redefine the geographic boundaries of the New 
York, NY, and Philadelphia, PA, appropriated fund Federal Wage System 
(FWS) wage areas. The proposed rule would redefine the Joint Base 
McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst portions of Burlington County, NJ, and Ocean 
County, NJ, that are currently defined to the Philadelphia wage area to 
the New York wage area so that the entire Joint Base is covered by a 
single wage schedule. This change is based on a majority recommendation 
of the Federal Prevailing Rate Advisory Committee (FPRAC), the national 
labor-management committee responsible for advising OPM on the 
administration of the FWS.

DATES: We must receive comments on or before August 19, 2016.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by ``RIN 3206-AN29,'' 
using any of the following methods:
    Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the 
instructions for submitting comments.
    Mail: Brenda L. Roberts, Deputy Associate Director for Pay and 
Leave, Employee Services, U.S. Office of Personnel Management, Room 
7H31, 1900 E Street NW., Washington, DC 20415-8200.
    Email: pay-leave-policy@opm.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Madeline Gonzalez, by telephone at 
(202) 606-2838 or by email at pay-leave-policy@opm.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: OPM is issuing a proposed rule to redefine 
the geographic boundaries of the New York, NY, and Philadelphia, PA, 
appropriated fund FWS wage areas. The proposed rule would redefine the 
Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst portions of Burlington County, NJ, and 
Ocean County, NJ, that are currently defined to the Philadelphia wage 
area to the New York wage area so that the entire Joint Base is covered 
by a single FWS wage schedule.
    Presently, portions of the Joint Base are defined to the 
Philadelphia and to the New York FWS wage areas as follows:
    (1) The portion of the Joint Base formerly known separately as 
McGuire Air Force Base (AFB) is in Burlington County, NJ, and is 
defined to the Philadelphia wage area;
    (2) The portion of the Joint Base formerly known separately as Fort 
Dix is in Burlington and Ocean Counties, NJ, and is defined to the 
Philadelphia wage area; and
    (3) The portion of the Joint Base formerly known separately as 
Naval Air Engineering Station (NAES) Lakehurst is in Ocean County, NJ, 
and is defined to the New York wage area.

History of Burlington and Ocean Counties, NJ

    When the Coordinated Federal Wage System (CFWS) established a 
uniform system of wage areas applicable to all Federal agencies in the 
late 1960s, Burlington County was defined to the Philadelphia survey 
area and Ocean County was defined to the Philadelphia area of 
application. Since both Burlington and Ocean Counties were defined to 
the Philadelphia wage area, employees at McGuire AFB, Fort Dix, and 
NAES Lakehurst were paid from the same Philadelphia wage schedule.
    OPM reviewed the geographic definition of the New York and 
Philadelphia FWS wage areas in the mid-1990s as part of a comprehensive 
review of many FWS wage areas. After careful consideration of OPM's 
regulatory criteria for defining FWS wage areas, FPRAC recommended by 
majority vote that OPM redefine Ocean County (excluding the portion 
occupied by Fort Dix) from the area of application of the Philadelphia 
wage area to the area of application of the New York wage area. FPRAC 
recommended this change because Ocean County was part of the New York-
Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA MSA (now called New York-
Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA MSA) and the transportation facilities and 
commuting patterns regulatory criteria favored defining Ocean County 
(excluding the portion occupied by Fort Dix) to the New York wage area 
rather than to the Philadelphia wage area. Although NAES Lakehurst was 
adjacent to Fort Dix, the Committee heard local testimony that there 
was little workforce interaction between NAES Lakehurst and Fort Dix or 
McGuire AFB.
    Currently, Burlington County continues to be defined to the 
Philadelphia survey area, and FWS employees stationed in Burlington 
County at the Joint Base are paid from the Philadelphia wage schedule. 
FWS employees stationed in Ocean County at the portion of the Joint 
Base formerly known separately as NAES Lakehurst are paid from the New 
York wage schedule. Local testimony to FPRAC from Joint Base employees 
and local managers indicates that the Joint Base has been presented 
with morale and management challenges by having employees at the Joint 
Base paid from two different FWS wage schedules. This poses challenges 
to the efficient operation of the installation. To address this 
anomalous situation affecting the Joint Base, OPM is proposing to add 
an additional criterion for defining FWS wage areas to 5 CFR 532.211.

Regulatory Criteria Under 5 CFR 532.211

    OPM considers the following regulatory criteria under 5 CFR 532.211 
when defining FWS wage area boundaries:
    (i) Distance, transportation facilities, and geographic features;
    (ii) Commuting patterns; and
    (iii) Similarities in overall population, employment, and the kinds 
and sizes of private industrial establishments.
    When measuring distances from the portion of the Joint Base 
formerly known separately as McGuire AFB, the distance criterion favors 
the Philadelphia wage area more than the New York wage area. When 
measured to nearby survey areas, the commuting patterns criterion for 
Burlington County favors the Philadelphia wage area more

[[Page 47050]]

than the New York wage area. The overall population and employment and 
the kinds and sizes of private industrial establishments criterion 
favors the Philadelphia wage area more than the New York wage area.
    When measuring distances from the portion of the Joint Base 
formerly known separately as NAES Lakehurst, the distance criterion 
favors the Philadelphia wage area more than the New York wage area. 
When measured to nearby survey areas, the commuting patterns criterion 
for Ocean County favors the New York wage area more than the 
Philadelphia wage area. The overall population and employment and the 
kinds and sizes of private industrial establishments criterion favors 
the Philadelphia wage area more than the New York wage area.
    OPM regulations at 5 CFR 532.211 do not permit splitting 
Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) for the purpose of defining a 
wage area, except in very unusual circumstances. The status of the 
Joint Base presents an unusual circumstance that has in the past 
necessitated defining the New York and Philadelphia wage areas so that 
MSAs are split between the two wage areas. In addition, FPRAC has a 
longstanding policy of recommending that OPM avoid splitting individual 
installations between two separate wage areas. However, OPM has not 
previously regulated such a policy. OPM has previously determined that 
Burlington County is appropriately defined to the Philadelphia wage 
area and Ocean County, with the exception of the Fort Dix portion, is 
appropriately defined to the New York wage area.
    FPRAC recently completed an exhaustive review to determine the best 
method to treat FWS employees at the Joint Base equitably. As an 
exception to the regular criteria for defining FWS wage areas, FPRAC 
has recommended by majority vote that the Joint Base be defined 
entirely as a single installation. In addition, FPRAC has recommended 
that the Joint Base be defined to the New York wage area. OPM agrees 
with FPRAC's assessment to treat the Joint Base as a single 
installation for purposes of defining FWS wage areas. However, OPM 
finds that a standard analysis of the current regulatory criteria 
indicates that the proper definition for the entire Joint Base would be 
the Philadelphia wage area. To address the anomalous situation with the 
Joint Base and define it to the New York wage area requires an 
amendment to OPM's current regulatory criteria for defining FWS wage 
area boundaries. Therefore, OPM is proposing that 5 CFR 532.211 be 
amended by adding a new paragraph (f). This new paragraph would read: 
``(f) A single contiguous military installation defined as a Joint Base 
that would otherwise overlap two separate wage areas shall be included 
in only a single wage area. The wage area of such a Joint Base shall be 
defined to be the wage area with the most favorable payline based on an 
analysis of the simple average of the 15 nonsupervisory second step 
rates on each one of the regular wage schedules applicable in the 
otherwise overlapped wage areas.'' This new criterion would not impact 
any current wage areas other than the New York and Philadelphia wage 
areas which are currently overlapped by Joint Base McGuire-Dix-
Lakehurst.
    As of July 2015, OPM data indicate that around 630 FWS employees 
will be affected by the wage area changes proposed in this regulation. 
The New York wage schedule is currently higher than the Philadelphia 
wage schedule at most grade levels, which means most FWS employees at 
the Joint Base affected by this proposed regulation would receive 
higher wage rates. Those employees who would move to the New York wage 
schedule at grades where rates of pay are lower than on the 
Philadelphia wage schedule would be entitled to coverage under pay 
retention rules if otherwise eligible. The changes in this proposed 
regulation would be effective on the first day of the first applicable 
pay period beginning on or after 30 days following publication of a 
final regulation implementing any changes affecting the wage area 
definition of the Joint Base.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    I certify that these regulations would not have a significant 
economic impact on a substantial number of small entities because they 
would affect only Federal agencies and employees.

Executive Order 13563 and Executive Order 12866

    This proposed rule has been reviewed by the Office of Management 
and Budget in accordance with Executive Order 13563 and Executive Order 
12866.

List of Subjects in 5 CFR Part 532

    Administrative practice and procedure, Freedom of information, 
Government employees, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Wages.

U.S. Office of Personnel Management.
Beth F. Cobert,
Acting Director.

    Accordingly, OPM is proposing to amend 5 CFR part 532 as follows:

PART 532--PREVAILING RATE SYSTEMS

0
1. The authority citation for part 532 continues to read as follows:

    Authority:  5 U.S.C. 5343, 5346; Sec.  532.707 also issued under 
5 U.S.C. 552.

Subpart B--Prevailing Rate Determinations

0
2. Section 532.211 is revised by adding a paragraph (f) to read as 
follows:


Sec.  532.211  Criteria for establishing appropriated fund wage areas.

* * * * *
    (f) A single contiguous military installation defined as a Joint 
Base that would otherwise overlap two separate wage areas shall be 
included in only a single wage area. The wage area of such a Joint Base 
shall be defined to be the wage area with the most favorable payline 
based on an analysis of the simple average of the 15 nonsupervisory 
second step rates on each one of the regular wage schedules applicable 
in the otherwise overlapped wage areas.
0
3. Appendix C to subpart B is amended by revising the wage area listing 
for the New York, NY, and Philadelphia, PA, wage areas to read as 
follows:

Appendix C to Subpart B of Part 532--Appropriated Fund Wage and Survey 
Areas

* * * * *

                                NEW YORK
 
                                * * * * *
                                New York
 
                               Survey Area
 
New Jersey:
  Bergen
  Essex
  Hudson
  Middlesex
  Morris
  Passaic
  Somerset
  Union
New York:
  Bronx
  Kings
  Nassau
  New York
  Orange
  Queens
  Suffolk
  Westchester
 
                 Area of Application. Survey area plus:
 
New Jersey:
  Burlington (Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst portion only)
  Hunterdon
  Monmouth
  Ocean
  Sussex
New York:

[[Page 47051]]

 
  Dutchess
  Putnam
  Richmond
  Rockland
Pennsylvania:
  Pike
 
                                * * * * *
                              PENNSYLVANIA
 
                                * * * * *
                              Philadelphia
 
                               Survey Area
 
New Jersey:
  Burlington (Excluding the Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst portion)
  Camden
  Gloucester
Pennsylvania:
  Bucks
  Chester
  Delaware
  Montgomery
  Philadelphia
 
                 Area of Application. Survey area plus:
 
New Jersey:
  Atlantic
  Cape May
  Cumberland
  Mercer
  Warren
Pennsylvania:
  Carbon
  Lehigh
  Northampton
 
                                * * * * *
 

[FR Doc. 2016-17029 Filed 7-19-16; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 6325-39-P