UPDATED: June 4, 2021
NEW: White House Proposes 2.7% Pay Raise for 2022
The proposal would provide pay parity between the civilian and military workforce. But several federal employee groups are calling for a larger increase... READ MORE
How Does the GS Pay Scale Work?
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.
How Many Pay Grades and are in the GS Pay Scale?
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
How Do You Move Up Steps in the GS Pay Scale?
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.
When Will There Be a 2022 Government Pay Raise?
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.
What are the Current GS Locality Pay Areas?
There are currently more than 40 locality pay areas, which cover the lower 48 States and Washington, DC, plus Alaska, Hawaii, and the U.S. territories and possessions. Most 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.
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.
LATEST NEWS ON 2021 GS PAY SCALE:
President Trump issued an executive order Thursday finalizing the 2021 federal employee pay raise of a 1 percent across-the-board increase. OPM has published the official pay tables
2021 Federal Pay Freeze Proposed by Senate Appropriations Committee - The Senate Appropriations Committee on Tuesday proposed a pay freeze for federal employees in 2021 as part of its appropriations bill
2020 Federal Pay Raise Finalized in Executive Order and official OPM pay tables now available (click here)
President Donald Trump signed two spending bills into law Friday, Dec. 20, 2020 which included a 3.1% average federal pay raise for the civilian workforce in 2020— the largest federal pay increase in a decade. The federal employee pay increase contains an across-the-board 2.6% pay raise plus an average 0.5% increase in locality pay.
The 2020 GS Pay Scale tables will be published on this page after the White House issues an executive order to the Office of Personnel Management. This normally occurs in the last few days of December each year.
Latest News on 2020 GS Pay Scale:
- Federal Employees Could Get Largest Pay Raise in 10 Years (December 17, 2019)
- White House Recommends 2.6% Federal Pay Raise for 2020
- Pay Freeze and Federal Retirement Benefit Cuts Proposed in 2020 White House Budget
- Lawmakers Propose 3.6% Federal Pay Raise in 2020
President Signs Executive Order Implementing 2019 Federal Pay Raise
President Trump signed an executive order March 28 implementing the 2019 federal pay raise after employees waited for more than a month for the retroactive increase.
The 2019 federal pay raise included 1.4 percent across-the-board, and another 0.5 percent toward locality pay. The pay increase overturned a pay freeze that had already been enacted.
The raise is retroactive to the first pay period in 2019, which for many civilian employees was January 6.
OPM Releases Updated 2019 GS Pay Scale Tables
The pay freeze does not affect military personnel. Members of the military services will receive a 2.6 percent raise in 2019.
2019 Locality Pay
According to a final rule published in the Federal Register Dec. 7, the new 2019 General Schedule (GS) locality pay areas are:
- Birmingham, Alabama
- Burlington, Vermont
- Corpus Christi, Texas
- Omaha, Nebraska
- San Antonio, Texas
- Virginia Beach/Norfolk, Virginia
The final regulations also establish McKinley County, NM, as an area of application to the Albuquerque-Santa Fe-Las Vegas, NM, locality pay area; establish San Luis Obispo County, CA, as an area of application to the Los Angeles-Long Beach, CA, locality pay area; and make minor clarifying changes to the names of two locality pay areas (the Albany-Schenectady, NY-MA locality pay area and the Boston-Worcester-Providence, MA-RI-NH-ME locality pay area).
The changes in locality pay area definitions are applicable on the first day of the first pay period beginning on or after January 1, 2019.
2019 GS Pay Tables and Federal Salary Calculators from OPM
Below are OPM's official 2019 GS pay tables posted on March 28, 2019. The 2019 pay schedules are effective the first day of the first applicable pay period beginning on or after January 1, 2019 (January 6, 2019, based on the standard biweekly payroll cycle).
General Schedule (GS) & Locality Pay Tables
Law Enforcement Officer (LEO) General Schedule Locality Pay Tables
Executive & Senior Level Employee Pay Tables
- Rates of Pay for the Executive Schedule
- Basic Rates of Pay for Members of the Senior Executive Service
- Basic Rates of Pay for Employees in Senior-Level and Scientific or Professional Positions
- Basic Rates of Pay for Administrative Law Judges
- Basic Rates of Pay for Administrative Appeals Judges
- Basic Rates of Pay for Members of Boards of Contract Appeals
- Locality Rates of Pay for Administrative Law Judges
- Locality Rates of Pay for Administrative Appeals Judges
- Locality Rates of Pay for Members of Boards of Contract Appeals
Special Rate Tables
All other federal pay and leave information from OPM can be found at:
What is the Current GS Pay Scale Table (Base Pay)?
2019 GS PAY TABLE – BASE PAY
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.