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GS Pay Scale 2017 for Federal Employees
What is the Federal General Schedule Pay System?
- GS Pay Grades
- GS Pay Tables (current year)
- Federal Pay Raise
- GS Locality Pay Areas
- Latest updates on 2017 GS Pay Scale
The General Schedule (GS) pay system (or "GS Pay Scale") includes about 1.5 million federal employees in civilian white-collar jobs. The jobs are widely in clerical, administrative, professional and technical positions.
The General Schedule includes 15 different pay grades. Each job is classified by the federal agency based on the qualifications required as well as the level of responsibility and difficulty to preform in the position. Educational backgrounds for the grades are generally as follows:
GS-2 positions: high school diploma and no additional experience
GS-5 positions: college Bachelor's degree
GS-9 positions: Master's degree
Each of the 15 pay grades has 10 step rates (steps 1-10). Movement up to the next step (known as "within-grade step increases") is based on acceptable job performance and varying periods of longevity as follows:
- 1 year at steps 1-3
- 2 years at steps 4-6
- 3 years at steps 7-9
In terms of salary difference, each step is worth about 3% of the federal employee's salary.
Below is a chart of the 2016 GS Pay Scale step and grade of base pay. Go here for a complete list of all current OPM pay scale tables. NOTE: The 2017 GS Pay Scale has been set by President Obama to be an average increase of 1.6%. Official 2017 GS pay tables (including 2017 locality pay area adjustments) will be released in mid- to late December by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). To get an alert when the 2017 pay charts are available, go here.
|GS Pay Grade||Step 1||Step 2||Step 3||Step 4||Step 5||Step 6||Step 7||Step 8||Step 9||Step 10|
A new GS employee is usually hired at step one of the applicable GS grade. However, in special circumstances, agencies may authorize a higher step rate for a newly-appointed federal employee based on a special need of the agency or superior qualifications of the prospective employee. Current Federal employees who move to a GS position and are not considered newly appointed may have pay set above step 1 based only on a previous Federal civilian rate of pay (i.e., maximum payable rate rule) under the gaining agency's policies.
GS employees may advance to higher grades by promotion at certain intervals (generally after at least a year), as determined by OPM regulations and qualification standards and agency policies, up to the full promotion potential advertised in the job announcement. After that, competition under merit system principles is necessary to advance to a higher GS grade. Generally, a GS promotion increase is equal to at least two steps at the GS grade immediately before promotion to the higher GS grade.
The GS base pay schedule is usually adjusted annually each January with an across-the-board federal pay increase based on nationwide changes in the cost of wages and salaries of private industry workers. Most GS employees are also entitled to locality pay, which is a geographic-based percentage rate that reflects pay levels for non-federal workers in certain geographic areas as determined by surveys conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
There are currently 47 locality pay areas, which cover the lower 48 States and Washington, DC, plus Alaska, Hawaii, and the U.S. territories and possessions. Forty-four of the locality pay areas cover large metropolitan areas (e.g., Los Angeles, New York, Washington, DC), two cover entire States—Alaska and Hawaii, and the remainder of the United States and its territories and possessions are included in the catch-all Rest of U.S. (RUS) locality pay area. GS employees in foreign areas are not eligible for locality pay. The President and Congress may make changes in the otherwise applicable across-the-board and locality pay adjustments.
2016 GS Locality Pay Areas
Albuquerque-Santa Fe-Las Vegas, NM
Atlanta--Athens-Clarke County--Sandy Springs, GA-AL
Austin-Round Rock, TX
Colorado Springs, CO
Dallas-Fort Worth, TX-OK
Detroit-Warren-Ann Arbor, MI
Hartford-West Hartford, CT-MA
Houston-The Woodlands, TX
Kansas City-Overland Park-Kansas City, MO-KS
Las Vegas-Henderson, NV-AZ
Los Angeles-Long Beach, CA
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Port St. Lucie, FL
Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN-WI
New York-Newark, NY-NJ-CT-PA
Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL
Pittsburgh-New Castle-Weirton, PA-OH-WV
Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, NC
San Diego-Carlsbad, CA
San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland, CA
St. Louis-St. Charles-Farmington, MO-IL
Rest of U.S.
OPM may approve special rates which are higher than the normal GS rates due to difficulties in staffing certain occupations at GS grade levels in certain geographic areas.
The White House issued a letter to Congress today setting an alternative plan for federal pay raises for civilian employees covered by the General Schedule (GS) and certain other pay systems in January 2017. The 1.6 percent average 2017 GS pay scale raise includes a 1 percent across-the-board increase with a 0.6 percent adjustment for locality pay "...I have determined that for 2017, across-the-board pay increases will be 1.0 percent," President Obama wrote in the letter. "Also, I will make a decision by November 30, 2016, regarding an alternative plan for locality payments [ MORE ]
A coalition of 23 groups representing federal employees are renewing their call for legislation that would provide a 5.3 percent pay raise in 2017. The Federal-Postal Coalition wrote a letter to Senators last week urging them to support the Federal Adjustment of Income Rates Act (FAIR) of 2016 (S. 2699). If passed, the bill would more than triple the 2017 GS pay scale increase of 1.6 percent proposed by President Obama. The June 21 letter states: "Studies have shown that federal wages and salaries continue to lag those in the private sector and state and local government when the comparison is made on a job-to-job basis. Federal employees are underpaid whether they are physicians working at the National Institutes of Health, FAA staff and air traffic managers, engineers, scientists, lawyers, or administrative workers and Department of Defense civilians supporting our military. Over the last six years, through pay freezes, small raises and increased worker contributions to retirement benefits, federal employees have sacrificed what will amount to $182 billion in compensation over ten years; a number that will continue to grow because all the cuts were permanent. [ MORE ]
The Office of Personnel Management has issued the official 2016 Federal Pay Tables for General Schedule, Locality Pay, and other federal wage categories [ MORE ]
By Congress taking no position for an increase in 2016, the pay raise will default to the amount previously directed by President Obama [ MORE ]
President Barack Obama yesterday approved the locality pay increases in 2016 for federal employees [ MORE ]
Establishing 13 new locality pay areas will impact about 102,000 GS employees in 2016. The regulations are effective November 27, 2015, after which time the 2016 federal salary rates for the new areas will be set by the president through an executive order. The regulations are applicable on the first day of the first pay period beginning on or after January 1, 2016. [ MORE ]
The White House issued a letter to Congress Friday setting an alternative plan for federal pay raises for civilian employees covered by the General Schedule (GS) and certain other pay systems in January 2016 [ MORE ]
In a meeting with the an Office of Management and Budget official last week, the American Federation of Government Employees received assurances that new pay localities will be established in January [ MORE ]
President Obama wants to give federal employees and uniformed members of the U.S. military a 1.3 percent pay raise in fiscal year 2016. The proposed 2016 federal pay raise would be slightly more than the 1 percent bump given to federal workers in the last two years [ MORE ]
Lawmakers in the House and Senate introduce legislation in the House to provide a 3.8 percent pay raise to federal workers. President of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE), said, "A 3.8 percent pay increase for federal employees would help close the growing gap between federal and private-sector pay [ MORE ]