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Briefings slated on federal worker retirement reforms


U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Akaka (D-Hawaii) has announced a series of briefings for federal employees on Oahu, Maui and the Big Island to provide information and answer questions about the upcoming transition to replace non-foreign COLA with locality pay for federal workers in Hawaii.  Reservations are not needed.

“For years, Hawaii federal employees have received far less in retirement than employees on the mainland doing the same jobs,”Akaka said. “That is ending with this new law. My staff will be traveling around the state to provide information about the changes.”

Federal employees in Hawaii, Alaska and the U.S. Territories currently receive a non-foreign cost of living allowance (COLA), which is not taxed, but also is not figured into retirement calculations, resulting in lower retirement pay compared to mainland workers. Federal employees in the contiguous 48 states receive locality pay, which is factored in for retirement.

The new law will phase in locality pay over three years; COLA will phase out more slowly to offset the taxes imposed on locality pay. These provisions are designed to protect take-home pay during the transition, which begins in January.

The informational briefings will be led by staff from Akaka’s Federal Workforce Subcommittee, officials from the Office of Personnel Management  in Washington D.C., and the Executive Director of the Honolulu-Pacific Federal Executive Board.

On Oct. 29, President Obama signed into law the FY 2010 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) conference agreement, which included Akaka’s Non-Foreign Area Retirement Equity Assurance Act to replace COLA with Locality Pay for Hawaii, Alaska, and the U.S. Territories.

Big Island briefing dates

* Monday, Dec. 7, 2-3:30 p.m. – Big Island University of Hawaii at Hilo (room information TBA). Open to public.

* Tuesday, Dec. 8, 9-10:30 a.m. – Big Island Pohakuloa Training Area. All federal employees.

— Find out more:….

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