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2019 Annual Review of Special Rates (Data Call)

Thursday, September 5, 2019
CPM 2019-19
2019 Annual Review of Special Rates (Data Call)

This memorandum announces the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM’s) 2019 annual review of existing special rates authorized under 5 U.S.C. 5305 and 5 CFR part 530, subpart C, for certain General Schedule (GS) employees.  OPM authorizes higher rates of pay for specific occupations, grades, and locations to alleviate existing or likely significant recruitment or retention difficulties.  Under 5 CFR 530.307(a), OPM conducts periodic reviews of existing special rates to see if they should be terminated, reduced, or increased based on recent staffing considerations.  This memorandum provides for a general review of special rates to support possible pay actions to take effect in January 2020.  In conducting this review, we rely on agencies to review all special rate tables covering their employees following the attached instructions.

Historically, the default January adjustment for special rates has been equal to the January across-the-board adjustment for GS base rates (as permitted by 5 CFR 530.307).  I have determined that the default January 2020 adjustment for special rates will be equal to the January 2020 across-the-board adjustment for GS base rates, which the President has determined will be 2.6 percent, as prescribed under 5 U.S.C. 5303(a).  (See the President’s alternative pay plan for January 2020 pay adjustments, which is posted at

You must respond to this data call if requesting (1) any January 2020 increase in special rates different from the default adjustment or (2) the reduction or termination of a special rate schedule to take effect in January 2020.  If responding to this data call for either of those two reasons, please submit all annual review materials requested in the attachment to this memorandum to OPM by Friday, October 25, 2019.  Please note, however, that the October 25 deadline applies only for adjustments agencies would like to take effect in January 2020.  Agencies can submit special rate requests at any time throughout a calendar year.

Agency headquarters staff having questions regarding special rates should contact OPM’s Special Rates Team, by telephone at (202) 606-2838 or email at

Attachment (see 508-conformant PDF below)

cc:  Deputy Chief Human Capital Officers, and Human Resources Directors