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U.S. government civilian workers at several locations in Japan received post allowance hikes effective this week, according to figures the State Department’s Office of Allowances released Sunday.

The allowance at and around Yokosuka Naval Base increased to 35 percent of spendable income from 30 percent, a rate increase of more than 16 percent.

Allowances also increased to 60 percent of spendable income from 50 percent in both Tokyo city and Fukuoka, and to 50 from 42 percent in Yokohama.

Spendable income reflects the difference in prices of goods and services in overseas locations. Rates for overseas civilians are calculated by the State Department.

The increases for the four locations were the first since Aug. 19, according to State Department records.

Most other U.S. civilians across Japan received a post allowance increase Nov. 25.

Meanwhile, post allowances across South Korea dropped from 20 percent to 15 percent, the first change there in about two months.

The changes were based on currency exchange rate data reported to the Office of Allowances on Nov. 29, the agency said. Rates are reported and adjusted biweekly by the State Department.

The dollar amount increase varies for each U.S. civilian employee depending on salary, location and family size.

To see how a paycheck will be affected, employees can use allowance tables available at the State Department Web site at http://aoprals.state.gov.

The tax-free money is meant to cushion the sometimes higher costs of living overseas.

Every four years, the State Department surveys civilian workers on their habits of spending on items such as food, housekeeping, home furnishings and equipment, clothes, transportation, health care, entertainment, books and magazines, alcohol and tobacco.

That data is compared to costs of living in Washington, D.C., and overseas civilian workers are compensated to make their living standard comparable to that of a person with a similar salary and family size in the U.S. capital.

Post-allowance rate changes

Here’s a breakdown of how post-allowance rates for U.S. government civilian employees in Japan have changed in recent weeks, according to State Department figures. Locations not noted saw no change.

Post allowance is calculated as a percentage of an employee’s spendable income, or money used to buy goods and services abroad:

From/To rate changes effective Nov. 25

Iwakuni 25/30Misawa 25/30Sasebo 25/30Kyoto 60/70Nagoya 60/70Okinawa 25/30Osaka-Kobe 60/70Sapporo 60/70Gotemba 35/42From/To rate changes effective Dec. 9

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