U.S. civilians in Pacific to see allowance drop
U.S. government civilians at Pacific bases will see less money in their next paycheck due to decreases in post allowances.
Allowances in most areas in mainland Japan and all of Okinawa dropped from 42 percent to 35 percent while the extra pay for those working in Tokyo city fell from 70 percent to 60 percent, according to figures released Sunday by the State Department’s Office of Allowances.
In South Korea, the allowance in most areas dropped from 15 percent to 10 percent of a worker’s expendable income, which is considered pay left over after housing, savings and health care costs, the agency reported.
The extra money supplements paychecks and is meant to offset the cost of living overseas.
The allowances are tied to national exchange rates and civilian buying habits.
The dollar continued to gain strength against the Japanese yen in recent weeks and was trading at 101 yen on Monday after a several-month slump.
That meant civil worker pay was going further while shopping and eating off base.
The dollar has remained strong in South Korea and surged this month against won to its highest level since 2005.
The changes in post allowances usually flatten exchange rate advantages and disadvantages for federal employees, who are paid in dollars.
Civilian allowances are updated biweekly by the State Department.
The dollar amount increase varies for each U.S. civilian employee depending on salary, location and family size.
For example, a single employee making $36,000 per year at Sasebo Naval Base received an annual decrease from $7,560 to $6,300 in post allowance, according to the State Department.
Post allowance at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni for a family of three with an income of $53,000 fell from $11,710 to $9,765, the agency reported.
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 the cost 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.
New ratesHere are the newest changes in civilian post allowance rates for Japan and South Korea: