Gs 7 pay

Gs 7 pay DEFAULT

How much does a GS-7 employee get paid?

Check out our powerful 2021 GS Pay Calculator. How is the GS pay raise determined?

Step 1Step 2Step 3Step 4Step 5Step 6Step 7Step 8Step 9Step 10

GS-7 Federal Employee Base Salary

GS-7 government employees will receive a base salary of between $37,674.00 and $48,978.00, depending on their General Schedule Step.

The educational and experience requirements for most GS-7 government jobs are:

  • Bachelor's Degree
  • At least 1 year experience at GS-5 or equivalent

The General Schedule pay raise this year was 1%. This translates to a base pay raise of approximately $376.74 for a GS-7 Step 1 employee.

Remember that final General Schedule salaries will be higher, depending on the locality in which you work. Visit our locality pages or use our pay calculator to determine adjusted pay for a GS-7 employee.

About Grade GS-7

GS-7 is the starting grade for Engineering and Scientific positions if the employee has outstanding performance in undergrad or a master's degree or a year of specialized experience.

Step Increases within GS-7

As employees gain more experience, they can receive in-grade step promotions. While step promotions generally do not correspond with an increase in authority or responsibility, they do provide a pay raise. Within the GS-7 paygrade, a single step increase will raise yearly base pay by a total of $1,256.00.

When you receive a paygrade promotion, you will maintain your previously attained step. For example, a GS-7 Step 3 employee who receives a paygrade promotion to GS-8 will now be paid at GS-8 Step 3. Read more about how step increases work.


Gs 7 pay scale 2021

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General Schedule Pay Scale for the year 2021. Government shutdown 2021 is a possibility that we may have to face in the upcoming months. COVID-19 had plenty of impact on our economy and a government shutdown in 2021 should be avoided by the lawmakers but there is always this possibility.

    1. Details: 2021 GS Pay Scale - OPM Pay Tables - Locality Pay - Pay Raise. Inside each and every grade, you can find methods that stand for a earnings level. For example, for that individual that was chosen at the GS-1 level, at Step One, he could progress up to Step Two soon after he concludes a...

    2. In early 2021, the U.S. President signed a spending bill that approved a 1% raise for all government employees working on the GS pay scale. The United States Government pay scale determines the salary ranges for workers in most technical, administrative, clerical, and professional civilian positions.

    3. Check out our powerful 2021 GS Pay Calculator. GS-7 is the starting grade for Engineering and Scientific positions if the employee has outstanding performance in undergrad or a master's degree or a year of specialized experience.

    4. Gs Pay Scale For 2021 - The GS includes most of white collar, line-levels staff jobs. 2021 Federal Income Tax Brackets and Rates. 2021 GS Pay Scale - The USA federal government's GS pay scale is determined by General Schedule (GS) pay scales for most of its employees who work in the...

    5. Full list of GS Pay Scale 2021 tables from Pay Grade 1 through 15 from Step 1 to 15. Read the updates on the proposed increase for the FY 2021. GS-5 Pay Grade is an entry-level position held by new federal workers in 2021. The GS-5 Pay Scale is lower than most other pay grades but they have a...

    6. These pay tables for 2021 cover most CPS positions, including law enforcement officers at CL-27 and above. Table Number. Table Name. Table 00. Base Pay Rates (pdf) Dollar Difference Between Steps on the CPS Base Pay Table (pdf) Percent Difference Between Steps on the CPS Base Pay Table (pdf) Table AK. Alaska (pdf)

    7. GS Pay Scale | 2021 General Schedule Pay Scale for Federal ... Best The General Schedule (GS) is the predominant pay scale within the United States civil service.The GS includes the majority of white collar personnel (professional, technical, administrative, and clerical)...

    8. In 2021, the actual salary adjustments for a GS-7 employee will range from a maximum cost-of-living raise of 15.95% for employees working in Des Moines, to a minimum of a 41.44% cost-of-living raise in San Francisco. To determine the adjusted base pay for a GS-7 in your area, visit the Locality Adjustments Table or use our GS Salary Calculator

    9. 2021 General Schedule (GS) Locality Pay Tables. For more information about the structure of the XML files available below, please see the Data Dictionary. Pay Table. Annual Rate. Hourly Rate. XML Data. 2021 General Schedule (Base)

    › Get more: Gs pay scale 2021 marylandShow All. General Schedule (GS) Base Pay Scale for 2021. How. Details: The General Schedule (GS) payscale is the federal government payscale used to determine the salaries of over 70% of federal civilian employees.

    1. In early 2021, the U.S. President signed a spending bill that approved a 1% raise for all government employees working on the GS pay scale. The United States Government pay scale determines the salary ranges for workers in most technical, administrative, clerical, and professional civilian positions.

    2. The General Schedule (GS) is the predominant pay scale within the United States civil service. The GS includes the majority of white collar personnel (professional, technical, administrative, and clerical) positions. As of September 2004, 71 percent of federal civilian employees were paid under the GS.

    3. GS Pay Scale 2021. The General Schedule (GFS) is the most common pay scale for most federal employees, including those in professional, clerical, technical and administrative positions.

    4. GS 11 Pay Scale 2021 gs 11 pay scale 2021, - Base pay rates are developed in the congressional budget or by executive order in lieu of a budget plan. Every year, the new pay rates go into effect on January 1st. Usually, federal employees receive 1-3% raise …

  • Gs Scale 2021 - 2021 GENERAL SCHEDULE PAY SCALE - There are a total of 53 General Schedule Locality Areas, that were established by the GSA's Office of Personnel Management to enable the General Schedule Pay scale (and the LEO Payscale, that likewise utilizes these localities)...


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General Schedule (GS) Pay Scales

2021 GS Pay Scales | General Schedule Pay Scale | WG Pay Scale | Executive Pay Scales


On this page you will find government pay scale & salary information for various pay grades & localities in 2021. All General Schedule (GS) government employees in the U.S. earn more than the base rate pay through locality adjustments. Locality pay rates for all areas are listed on this site. For those not in a specific locality area use the table titled Rest of U.S. The GS-9 step-1 pay on the Base Rate Chart is $46,083. The same grade pays $53,433 on the Rest of U.S. chart and $65,180 in the San Jose, San Francisco-Oakland areas. Look up the locality tables for your metropolitan area to determine the actual salary for your location.

2018 Pay Increase Federal civilian employees will see an average 1% pay increase starting January 1, 2021; a 1% increase in basic pay, with no increase in locality pay. The President signed an Executive Order in December .  The 1% pay raise 2021 charts are now available. 

2021 Annual Rates by GS Pay grade and Step

New 2021 Pay Charts

Approximately 10 percent of total federal non-postal employment is classified under the Wage Grade (WG) blue-collar pay schedules. Wage Grade workers, typically those who work in the trades or general labor, are placed in a five step pay system and their pay is based on competitive rates that are established by an annual wage survey. The Department of Defense employs the largest number of Wage Grade workers. If you work in this group view the Wage Grade Rate Tables for these occupations. Just look for your GS pay grade and pay grade step to find your annual rate.

Salary Charts & Pay Information:





Check out the 2021 GS pay scale below. Annual base rates by grade and step

Note: This is a base rate chart. All federal employees receive pay adjustments above the base rate chart in the form of  locality pay adjustments. To determine what your annual pay will be for your location view our Locality Pay Charts.


Note: This is a base rate chart for those not covered in one of the 47 Locality Areas. If your town is not included in a specific locality areas this chart reflects your pay.

2020 Executive & Senior Level Employee Pay Tables


General Schedule (GS) How it Works

General Schedule (GS) base pay varies from the GS-1 level at $19,738 per annum to $143,598 per annum at step 10 of the GS-15 grade, not including locality pay adjustments. The Senior Executive Service salary tops out at $219,200 per annum. The average annual salary for full-time non-postal employees has increased to just over $87,500 in 2019. Starting pay depends on the level of experience, education and complexity of the position applied for. You may also be able to negotiate your starting salary if your previous employer pay was greater than step 1 of the pay grade you are hired into.

Each GS grade has 10 pay steps. Currently, a GS-9 starts at $46,083 for step 1 and reaches $59,907 per year at step 10 (not including locality pay adjustments). At the GS-9 grade, each pay step adds $1,536 to the annual salary. Pay steps are earned based on time in service and the employee’s work performance. General Schedule employees are referred to as white-collar workers under the federal classification system. There are 53 locality pay areas.

2021 Locality Payments

Locality pay adjustments basically level the playing field for all federal employees across the country in different major metropolitan areas. OPM is added the following Locality Pay Areas: Birmingham-Hoover-Talladega, AL; Burlington-South Burlington, VT; San Antonio-New Braunfels-Pearsall, TX; and Virginia Beach-Norfolk, VA-NC last year. The proposed rule also added two “Rest of U.S.” locations to the geographic definitions of two existing locality pay areas and making minor, clarifying changes to the names of two locality pay areas. The 53 designated locality area salaries are adjusted by comparing GS and non-Federal pay in each locality pay area, based on salary surveys conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). 

The lowest adjustment to the basic rate schedule listed above is for the “Rest of the US.” This group includes federal employees that do not reside in one of the 53 locality rate areas. The highest locality rate is assigned to for the San Jose, San-Francisco-Oakland California locality area.  You can determine what your salary would be at any location by using OPM’s salary calculator that you will find under resources on this page. 

Locality Pay Tables (Click on the locality area to view the pay table)

  • REST OF UNITED STATES (Consisting of those portions of the United States and its territories and possessions as listed in 5 CFR 591.205 not located within another locality pay area.)
  • 2021 Locality pay rates (Consolidated listing for all locality areas)

Historical Rates


UPDATE: Six additional areas will be added in 2018, one for Virginia Beach, VA and a second one for those working in and around Burlington, Vt. There were thirteen cities added to the 2016 locality rate tables. The 13 cities included Albany, N.Y.; Albuquerque, N.M.; Austin, Texas; Charlotte, N.C.; Colorado Springs, Co.; Davenport, Iowa; Harrisburg, Pa.; Kansas City, Mo.; Laredo, Texas; Las Vegas, Nev.; Palm Bay, Fla.; St. Louis, Mo.; and Tucson, Ariz.

Basic Pay

It’s important to note that a locality rate is considered basic pay for computing the following, as applicable:

  • Deductions for benefits including retirement
  • Premiums for life insurance and benefits
  • Premium pay and premium pay limitations
  • Pay Advances
  • Severance pay
  • Lump-sum payments for accrued and accumulated annual leave
  • Post differentials under 5 U.S.C. 5925(a) and danger pay allowances under 5 U.S.C. 5928 for an employee temporarily working in a foreign area when the employee’s official worksite is located in a locality pay area
  • Post differentials under 5 U.S.C. 5941 and 5 CFR part 591, subpart B, for an employee temporarily working in a nonforeign area when the employee’s official worksite is located in a locality pay area”–with “Nonforeign area cost-of-living allowances and post differentials under 5 U.S.C. 5941 and 5 CFR part 591, subpart B
  • Relocation, recruitment, and retention incentives, supervisory differentials, and extended assignment incentives
  • Performance-based cash awards when the award is computed as a percentage of an employee’s rate of basic pay
  • GS pay administration provisions (e.g., promotions) to the extent provided in 5 CFR part 531, subpart B
  • Pay administration provisions for prevailing rate employees which consider rates of basic pay under the GS pay system in setting pay (except as otherwise provided in 5 CFR part 532), subject to the requirement that, if the employee’s actual locality rate would not apply at the official worksite for the prevailing rate position, that locality rate must be converted to a corresponding rate on the locality rate schedule for that official worksite; and
  • Grade and pay retention to the extent provided in 5 CFR part 536

Reference: 5 U.S.C. 5304(c)(2) and 5 CFR 531.610.)

Wage Grade (WG) How it Works

The government’s Personnel Classification System includes Wage Grade occupations grouped into families of like jobs. The 36 occupational families range from WG-2500 to WG-9000. Each occupational family has its own group number and title which makes it distinctive from every other family grouping. View the list of the Wage Grade Families that are concentrated in the trades and labor occupations.  

Wage Grade Salary Tables

The Department of Defense (DOD) issues wage schedules and they conduct Federal Wage System (FWS) surveys. The Department of Defense’s Advisory Service maintains these rates and publishes them on their website. Visit the FWS wage schedules website for updated 2021 WG pay scales & schedules for your area. 

Special Compensations Systems

There are a number of special compensation systems that augment the general schedule pay scale. Physicians receive signing bonuses for a one-year continued-service agreement and additional bonuses for two years. The Federal Aviation Administration pays employees in safety-related careers under a “Core Compensation” multi-pay band system. Organizations such as the General Accounting Office (GAO), NASA, and the Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology either are exempt from or have exceptions to the GS pay system.  You can search special rate schedules for your area at the OPM website.

Federal employee special pay and benefits apply to eligible civilian employee that are assigned to duty in designated foreign areas, including Iraq and Afghanistan. Three departments, including The Department of Defense, the Department of State, and the Department of Labor administer most of the pay and benefits programs offered to such employees.  Certain foreign areas may be determined to have a special status due to U.S. military operations in the area or for other reasons.  Pay and benefits may vary depending on pay system of the employee, the assignment location, scope and nature of duties, and nature other assignment.

As missions in overseas locations change, certain authorities and benefits can also change.  We recommend that employees contact their agency’s human resources and/or benefits officers to determine if their overseas location qualifies for the authorities listed below.


Physician’s Comparability Allowance (PCA)

The head of each agency must determine categories of physician positions for which there is a significant recruitment and retention problem. A PCA may be paid only to physicians serving in positions in one of the categories. In determining the categories the agency must, as a minimum, establish as separate categories the following types of positions:

Clinical Positions: Positions primarily involving the practice of medicine or direct service to patients, involving the performance of diagnostic, preventive, or therapeutic services to patients in hospitals, clinics, public health programs, diagnostic centers, and similar settings.

Research Positions: Positions primarily involving the conduct of medical research and experimental work, including the conduct of medical work pertaining to food, drugs, cosmetics, and devices (or the review or evaluation of such medical research and experimental work), or the identification of causes or sources of disease or disease outbreaks.

Occupational Health: Positions primarily involving the evaluation of physical fitness, or the provision of initial treatment of on-the-job illness or injury, or the performance of preemployment examinations, preventive health screenings, or fitness-for-duty examinations.

Disability Evaluation and Administration of Health and Medical Programs: Positions involving disability evaluation and rating, the performance of medicolegal autopsies, training activities, or the administration of medical and health programs, including the administration of patient care or medical research and experimental programs.

  • PCA Payments: Agencies may pay a PCA of up to $14,000 annually to a physician with 24 months or less of service as a Government physician. Agencies may pay a PCA of up to $30,000 annually to a physician with more than 24 months of service as a Government physician. PCAs are subject to the aggregate limitation on pay under 5 U.S.C. 5307 and 5 CFR part 530, subpart B.

Pay – Related Legislative Changes

These changes are incorporated in the National Defense Authorization Act, FY 2019

Additional Resources


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What does a pay grade of 7 mean?

The GS-7 pay grade generally marks an entry-level position. GS-7 is usually the starting grade for scientist, engineers and other professions who are starting directly out of university or who otherwise have limited relevant experience.

What is GG 13 pay scale?

Most organizations have a limited number of GS-13 and above positions. GS-13 is typically a team lead position with around 10 people directly below them. Starting salary for a GS-13 employee is $per year at Step 1, with a maximum possible base pay of $per year at Step 10.

What are the federal pay grades?

The General Schedule

  • GS-3 or GS-4: Typically internships or student jobs.
  • GS-5 to GS-7: Most entry-level positions.
  • GS-8 to GS-12: Mid-level positions.
  • GS-13 to GS-15: Top-level supervisory positions.
  • Positions beyond GS-15 are part of the Senior Executive Service.

What does a GS 11 get paid?

The GS-11 pay grade is generally held by white-collar employees in mid-level positions. Starting salary for a GS-11 employee is $per year at Step 1, with a maximum possible base pay of $per year at Step 10. The hourly base pay of a Step 1 GS-11 employee is $26.45 per hour1.

What does a GS 12 get paid?

Starting salary for a GS-12 employee is $per year at Step 1, with a maximum possible base pay of $per year at Step 10. The hourly base pay of a Step 1 GS-12 employee is $32.02 per hour1.

How much does a GS 14 get paid?

GS-14 grade level is the second-highest pay level for federal employees whose salaries are determined by the General Schedule (GS). There are 10 steps in salary increases for each grade level. The base salary range for a GS-14 is $89,370 to $116,181 per year.

What does a GS-7 make per hour?

Starting salary for a GS-7 employee is $per year at Step 1, with a maximum possible base pay of $per year at Step 10. The hourly base pay of a Step 1 GS-7 employee is $17.87 per hour1. The table on this page shows the base pay rates for a GS-7 employee.

What is a GS 4 equivalent to?

Equivalent Civilian to Military Ranks

Civilian GradeMilitary RankArmy Title
GS-3E-3Private First Class
GS-4, GS-5E-4Specialist, Corporal
GS-6, GS-7E-6Staff Sergeant

How much does a GS 5 make per hour?

GS-5 Pay Scale – General Schedule 2020 Starting salary for a GS-5 employee is $/b> per year at Step 1, with a maximum possible base pay of $/b> per year at Step 10. The hourly base pay of a Step 1 GS-5 employee is $14.43 per hour1.

Can you go from GS 12 to GS 14?

Is is possible to be considered and hired for a GS-14 from a GS-12 after 1 or 2 years in the GS-12 position without being on a GS-13 role.Ordibehesht 12, 1399 AP

What rank is a GS 11 equivalent to?

Junior Officers Pay grades GS-10, 11 and 12 are roughly equivalent to a first lieutenant or captain in the army, or to lieutenants and lieutenant-commanders in the navy.

Can you get a GS job while on terminal leave?

Can I work for the Federal Government while on terminal leave? Yes. A service-member who is on terminal leave pending separation from active duty under honorable conditions may accept a civilian position in the Federal government.

Do I get paid while on terminal leave?

When you take terminal leave, you continue to receive your base pay, most other pays, basic allowance for subsistence (BAS), and basic allowance for housing (BAH.) You’re still on active duty while you’re on terminal leave, so you still have access to Tricare, military shopping and base facilities.Shahrivar 8, 1396 AP

Can you move while on terminal leave?

Taking Terminal Leave Terminal leave is just like regular leave except that members aren’t required to report back to their duty station after completion of the leave. The member can move to their desired location without returning to work.

How many terminal leave days can I take?

Max terminal leave is 60 days except for emergencies. Use terminal leave to finish projects, not to formulate them. Take time to relax!

How much do you get paid for terminal leave?

You will sell back x number of days up to your career-maximum cap of 60 days. You are paid 1/30th of your monthly basic pay for each day sold back. If you divide your monthly basic pay by 30 (the number of days averaged per month) you will get the number you should expect to be paid (pre-tax).

How much do leave days sell for?

Selling Back Leave You are authorized 1/30 of your basic pay for each day of leave you sell back. You are entitled to sell back a maximum of 60 days leave during your career, you can sell back leave any time you reenlist, extend an enlistment, or when you are discharged.Bahman 14, 1399 AP


Pay gs 7

General Schedule (US civil service pay scale)

The General Schedule (GS) is the predominant pay scale within the United States civil service. The GS includes the majority of white collar personnel (professional, technical, administrative, and clerical) positions. As of September 2004[update], 71 percent of federal civilian employees were paid under the GS. The GG pay rates are identical to published GS pay rates.

The remaining 29 percent were paid under other systems such as the Federal Wage System (WG, for federal blue-collar civilian employees), the Senior Executive Service and the Executive Schedule for high-ranking federal employees, and other unique pay schedules used by some agencies such as the United States Securities and Exchange Commission and the Foreign Service. Starting in 2009[update], some federal employees were also paid under Pay Bands.[1]


The GS was enacted into law by the Classification Act of 1949, which replaced Classification Act of 1923. The GS is now codified as part of Chapter 53 of Title 5 of the United States Code sections 5331 to 5338 (5 U.S.C. §§ 5331–5338). The pay scale was originally created with the purpose of keeping federal salaries in line with equivalent private sector jobs. Although never the intent, the GS pay scale does a good job of ensuring equal pay for equal work by reducing pay gaps between men, women, and minorities, in accordance with another, separate law, the Equal Pay Act of 1963.[citation needed]

Prior to January 1994, GS personnel were generally paid the same amount (for a given grade and step) regardless of where they worked. This system ignored the growing reality of regional differences in salaries and wages across the United States, and this led to a perception that in many locations federal civil service salaries were increasingly uncompetitive with those in the private sector, thus affecting recruiting and retention efforts by federal agencies. In January 1994, the Federal Employees Pay Comparability Act of 1990 (FEPCA) introduced a "locality pay adjustment" component to the GS salary structure. Both Republican and Democratic administrations have complained about the methodology used to compute locality adjustments and the projected cost of closing the pay gap (as determined by FEPCA) between federal salaries and those in the private sector. In December 2007, the President's Pay Agent reported that an average locality pay adjustment of 36.89 per cent would be required to reach the target set by FEPCA (to close the computed pay gap between federal and non-federal pay to a disparity of five per cent). By comparison, in calendar year 2007, the average locality pay adjustment actually authorized was 16.88 per cent. As a result, FEPCA has never been fully implemented.[citation needed]


The United States Office of Personnel Management administers the GS pay schedule on behalf of other federal agencies.

Changes to the GS must normally be authorized by either the president (via Executive Order) or by Congress (via legislation). Normally, the President directs annual across-the-board pay adjustments at the beginning of a calendar year after Congress has passed the annual appropriations legislation for the federal government.

Under FEPCA, the Bureau of Labor Statistics conducts annual surveys of wages and salaries paid to non-federal workers in designated locality pay areas. Surveys are used to determine the disparity, if any, between federal and non-federal pay in a given locality pay area. The Federal Salary Council (created by FEPCA) prepares recommendations concerning the composition of the designated locality pay areas and the annual comparability adjustment for each area, as well as an adjustment for all other workers outside these areas, referred to as "Rest of U.S.". The council's recommendations are transmitted to the President's Pay Agent (also created by FEPCA), which then establishes, modifies, or disestablishes individual locality pay areas and makes the final recommendation on pay adjustments to the president, who may either accept the agent's recommendations or (in effect) reject them through the submission of an alternative pay plan.

FEPCA also provides for an automatic annual across-the-board adjustment of GS pay rates. A common misconception is that the annual federal pay adjustments are determined according to cost of living fluctuations and other regional considerations. In fact, the across-the-board adjustments to the GS (but not locality pay) are determined according to the rise in the cost of employment as measured by the Department of Labor's Employment Cost Index, which does not necessarily correlate to the better-known Consumer Price Index, which tracks consumer prices.

Grade and step structure[edit]

US Government Employees Pay Comparison

The GS is separated into 15 grades (GS-1, GS-2, etc. up to GS-15); each grade is separated into 10 steps. At one time, there were also three GS "supergrades" (GS-16, GS-17 and GS-18); these were eliminated under the provisions of the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 and replaced by the Senior Executive Service and the more recent Senior Level (non-supervisory) pay scale.

Most positions in the competitive service are paid according to the GS. In addition, many positions in the excepted service use the GS as a basis for setting pay rates. Some positions in the excepted service use the grade designator "GG"—for example, "GG-12" or "GG-13". The GG pay rates are generally identical to published GS pay rates.

The GS-1 through GS-7 range generally marks entry-level positions, while mid-level positions are in the GS-8 to GS-12 range and top-level positions (senior managers, high-level technical specialists, or physicians) are in the GS-13 to GS-15 range. A new GS employee is normally employed in the first step of their assigned GS grade, although the employer has discretion to, as a recruiting incentive, authorize initial appointment at a higher step (other agencies may place the employee at a higher grade). In most professional occupations, entry to mid-level positions are classified at two-grade intervals—that is, an employee would advance from GS-5 to GS-7, then to GS-9 and finally to GS-11, skipping grades 6, 8 and 10.

Advancement between steps within the same grade[edit]

Permanent employees below step 10 in their grade normally earn step increases after serving a prescribed period of service in at least a satisfactory manner. The normal progression is 52 weeks (one year) between steps 1–2, 2–3, and 3–4, then 104 weeks (two years) between steps 4–5, 5–6, and 6–7, and finally 156 weeks (three years) between steps 7–8, 8–9, and 9–10.[2] However, an employee can be rewarded for outstanding work performance via a "quality step increase" ("QSI"), which advances the employee one step within grade regardless of time at the previous step.[3] (When a QSI is awarded, the date of the QSI becomes the starting date for the next step increase, which (if future step increases are awarded on the normal progression) will shorten the overall time for an employee to reach the final step within a grade.)

Advancement between grades[edit]

Depending on the agency and the work description, a GS position may provide for advancement within a "career ladder," meaning that an employee performing satisfactorily will advance between GS grades, normally on an annual basis, until he(she) has reached the top GS grade for that job (which represents full performance). Advancement beyond the top grade (to either a specialized technical position or to a managerial position) would be subject to competitive selection.

Not all positions, however, provide for such a "career ladder," thus requiring employees who seek advancement to consider other career paths, either within their agency or outside it.

An example is the "career ladder" for auditors within the Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA). The traditional "entry level" grade within DCAA is the GS-7 level (some employees come in either at the lower GS-5 level or higher GS-9 or GS-11 levels) and the "career ladder" is GS-7 to GS-9 to GS-11 and finally to GS-12, with the employee expected to advance between grades after one year and to reach the GS-12 level after three years. Beyond the GS-12 level, advancements to the higher levels (GS-13, GS-14, and GS-15, most of which are managerial positions) are based on competitive selections.

Furthermore, if an employee is promoted to a grade which is not part of the career ladder (such as a promotion to a supervisory position), the employee's salary is set at the step within the higher grade nearest the employee's current salary (but never below the current salary), plus additional steps to reward the employee for the promotion and to account for the increased responsibilities that go along with the new position. As an example (and not including locality adjustments), an employee at GS-12 Step 10 (base salary $86,881) being promoted to a GS-13 position would initially have his/her salary set at GS-13 Step 4 (base salary $87,415, as it is the nearest salary to GS-12 Step 10 but not lower than it), and then have his/her salary adjusted to a higher step (such as GS-13 Step 6, having a base salary of $92,713).

Salary calculation[edit]

Salaries under the GS have two components: a base salary and a "locality pay adjustment".

Base salary[edit]

The base salary is based on a table compiled by Office of Personnel Management (the 2021 table is shown below),[4][needs update] and is used as the baseline for the locality pay adjustment. The increases between steps for Grades GS-1 and GS-2 varies between the steps; for Grades GS-3 through GS-15 the increases between the steps are the same within the grade, but increase as the grade increases. The table is revised effective January of each year to reflect the basic cost of living adjustment (known as the General Schedule Increase).

Grade Step 1 Step 2 Step 3 Step 4 Step 5 Step 6 Step 7 Step 8 Step 9 Step 10
1 $19,738 $20,400 $21,056 $21,709 $22,365 $22,749 $23,398 $24,052 $24,078 $24,690
2 $22,194 $22,722 $23,457 $24,078 $24,349 $25,065 $25,781 $26,497 $27,213 $27,929
3 $24,216 $25,023 $25,830 $26,637 $27,444 $28,251 $29,058 $29,865 $30,672 $31,479
4 $27,184 $28,090 $28,996 $29,902 $30,808 $31,714 $32,620 $33,526 $34,432 $35,338
5 $30,414 $31,428 $32,442 $33,456 $34,470 $35,484 $36,498 $37,512 $38,526 $39,540
6 $33,903 $35,033 $36,163 $37,293 $38,423 $39,553 $40,683 $41,813 $42,943 $44,073
7 $37,674 $38,930 $40,186 $41,442 $42,698 $43,954 $45,210 $46,466 $47,722 $48,978
8 $41,723 $43,114 $44,505 $45,896 $47,287 $48,678 $50,069 $51,460 $52,851 $54,242
9 $46,083 $47,619 $49,155 $50,691 $52,227 $53,763 $55,299 $56,835 $58,371 $59,907
10 $50,748 $52,440 $54,132 $55,824 $57,516 $59,208 $60,900 $62,592 $64,284 $65,976
11 $55,756 $57,615 $59,474 $61,333 $63,192 $65,051 $66,910 $68,769 $70,628 $72,487
12 $66,829 $69,057 $71,285 $73,513 $75,741 $77,969 $80,197 $82,425 $84,653 $86,881
13 $79,468 $82,117 $84,766 $87,415 $90,064 $92,713 $95,362 $98,011 $100,660 $103,309
14 $93,907 $97,037 $100,167 $103,297 $106,427 $109,557 $112,687 $115,817 $118,947 $122,077
15 $110,460 $114,142 $117,824 $121,506 $125,188 $128,870 $132,552 $136,234 $139,916 $143,598

Some positions have their own unique GS scales. One notable example being patent examiner positions who can receive a supplement of more than 50% from the standard GS scale. Under the laws governing special GS scales, employees whose positions are covered by those scales earn either the special scale salary, or the standard GS scale salary plus a locality adjustment (see below), whichever is higher.[5]

Locality adjustment[edit]

The second component of the GS salary, the locality pay adjustment, was introduced in 1994 as part of the Federal Employees Pay Comparability Act of 1990 (FEPCA). Prior to FEPCA, all GS employees received the same salary regardless of location, which failed to reflect both the disparity between public sector and private sector pay as well as differences in cost of living in major metropolitan areas. As noted earlier, an employee in a position with a special GS scale does not receive a locality adjustment unless the pay under the special scale is lower than using the locality pay adjustment.

Under FEPCA, specified metropolitan areas, plus Alaska and Hawaii, are designated to receive pay adjustments in excess of the general adjustment provided to the "Rest of U.S.". Salary adjustments in other U.S. Territories and for overseas employees are separate from this adjustment. As of 2020[update], 52 areas, plus the entire states of Alaska and Hawaii, have been designated to receive this excess adjustment.[6]

The total pay with locality is calculated as follows (the result of both equations is the same):

{\displaystyle {\text{Total pay}}={\text{Locality}}\%\cdot ({\text{Base pay}})+{\text{Base pay}}}
{\displaystyle {\text{Total pay}}={\text{Base pay}}\times (1+{\text{Locality}}\%)}

FEPCA places a cap on the total salary of highly paid employees (mainly those at the higher GS-15 Grade steps) – the total base pay plus locality adjustment cannot exceed the salary for employees under Level IV of the Executive Schedule.

The locality pay adjustment is counted as part of the "high-3" salary in calculating Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) and Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) annuities, as well as the baseline for individuals having a percentage of salary deducted for deposit into the Thrift Savings Plan.


Personnel based outside the United States (e.g. U.S. territories, foreign overseas areas) receive a lower locality adjustment (4.76 percent for 2010). However, they may also receive certain non-taxable allowances such as cost-of-living allowances, post allowances and housing allowances in accordance with other laws, such as the Foreign Service Act. Federal civilian workers based in CONUS do not normally receive housing allowances or government-furnished housing. Also, some civilian personnel stationed overseas do not receive housing allowances; this may include military dependents working in federal civilian positions overseas, military members that left the service while overseas and were hired into an overseas position, and U.S. citizens hired into overseas positions while traveling abroad.

In contrast, the tax-free allowances paid during overseas assignments (especially the housing allowances) are generally considered to be an incentive to serve overseas, as they can be quite generous. While this situation may be advantageous to some personnel during their assignment overseas, these tax-free allowances are not considered to be part of one's salary, therefore they are not counted when computing a civil service annuity at retirement. CONUS locality adjustments, however, are counted when computing annuities.

Employees stationed in Alaska and Hawaii were formerly considered OCONUS and received a cost of living adjustment, but are being phased into the domestic locality pay system.

Note:"Employees of the U.S. Government are not entitled to the foreign earned income exclusion or the foreign housing exclusion/deduction under section 911 because 'foreign earned income' does not include amounts paid by the U.S. Government as an employee. But see Other Employment, later"[7]

Comparison between civilian and military rank equivalents[edit]

US Government Employees Pay Comparison

Protocol Precedence Lists for civilian and military personnel have been developed by each of the Department of Defense organizations to establish the order of government, military, and civic leaders for diplomatic, ceremonial, and social events. Protocol is a code of established guidelines on proper etiquette. Precedence is defined as priority in place, time, or rank. In the government, military and diplomatic corps, precedence among individuals' positions plays a substantial role. Equivalency between civilian pay grades and military rank is only for protocol purposes and informally for delegated supervisory responsibilities. While the authority of military rank extends across services and within each service, the same does not exist for civilian employees and therefore, there is no equivalency of command or supervisory authority between civilian and military personnel external to the local organization. The "Department of the Army Protocol Precedence List" is developed by the Army Protocol Directorate. Another form of the Army "Precedence List" can be found in Appendix D of DA PAM 600-60: A Guide to Protocol and Etiquette for Official Entertainment. The Department of the Navy "Civilian and Military Pay Grades" list can be found in Annex D of OPNAVINST 1710.7A: Social Usage and Protocol. The Department of the Air Force "Military and Civilian Rank Equivalents" can be found in Attachment 10 of AFI 34-1201. Consolidated DOD lists have been compiled by JMAR.[8]

Geneva Convention category Military GS
V: General officer O-7 through O-10 Senior executive service
IV: Field grade officer O-6
III: Company grade officer O-3
II: Non-commissioned officer (NCO) E-8/E-9
WL/WS/GS-1 through GS-4
I: Enlisted E-1 through E-4 WG/WL

The comparison of GS and military ranks with respect to financial accounting has different rules than those treating protocol. According to DoD 7000.14-R Financial Management Regulation Volume 11A, Chapter 6 Appendix B (January 2011):[9]

Geneva Convention category GS/SES Military
V: General officer ES Level III
ES Level IV
ES Level V
IV: Field grade officer GS-15
III: Warrant officer/company grade officer GS-12
O-3, WO-5/WO-4
O-2, WO-3
O-1, WO-2/WO-1
II: Non-commissioned officer/senior non-commissioned officer GS-08
I: Enlisted GS-04

Pay for performance[edit]

In recent years, there have been several attempts to eliminate the GS and replace it with various pay systems emphasizing "pay for performance" (i.e., a system in which pay increases are awarded based more on merit and work performance and less on seniority and length of service). The pay structure which enables this is typically known as pay banding. The best known efforts in this area are the pay systems created for the Departments of Homeland Security and Defense (the National Security Personnel System)[10] in 2002 and 2003, respectively. These efforts were challenged by federal labor unions and other employee groups.[citation needed] Many supervisory and non-bargaining-unit employees, however, were converted from their GS positions into equitable NSPS positions. As part of his fiscal 2007 and 2008 budget proposals, President George W. Bush proposed the eventual elimination of the GS to be replaced by a pay-for-performance concept throughout the Executive Branch of the government. The Office of Management and Budget prepared draft legislation, known as the "Working for America Act",[11] but as of January 2008[update][needs update] Congress has not implemented the proposal. President Barack Obama signed the legislation repealing the NSPS system on October 29, 2009. Under the terms of the 2010 Defense Authorization Act, Public Law 111-84, all employees under NSPS must be converted back to their previous pay system not later than January 1, 2012. The law also mandates that no employees lose pay as a result of this conversion.[12] In order to ensure this, a set of conversion rules has been developed. In most cases, if an employee's current NSPS salary falls between two step levels of the GS grade to which their position is classified, their salary will be increased to the higher step. Employees whose salary was increased beyond the GS step 10 amount while under NSPS will be placed on retained pay, meaning they will receive 50% of the annual cost of living increase until the GS table catches up to the level of salary they are earning.[13]

List of other pay scale terms[edit]

  • AD: Administratively Determined
  • DB: Demonstration Army Engineers and Scientists External Link
  • DE: Demonstration Army Technical and Business Support External Link
  • DJ: Demonstration Army Administrative External Link
  • DK: Demonstration Army General Support External Link
  • DN: Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board External Link
  • DO: Demonstration Air Force Business Management and Professional External Link
  • DP: Scientific and Engineering (S&E) External Link (page 10)
  • DR: Demonstration Air Force Scientist and Engineer External Link
  • DS: Technical Specialist External Link (page 10)
  • DU: Demonstration Air Force Mission Support External Link
  • DX: Demonstration Air Force Technician External Link
  • ES: executive schedule
  • FO, FP, FS: Foreign Service (Department of State, USAID, Commerce, Agriculture)
  • FR: Federal Reserve SystemExternal Link
  • FV: Federal Aviation Administration[14]
  • GG: General schedule, excepted service (except patent examiners)
  • GM, GL, GP, GR: e.g., see General Schedule Supervisory Guide and U.S. Personnel Management – Pay & Leave
  • HS: House Employee Schedule, governs salaries of employees of the United States House of Representatives and is maintained by the Committee on House Administration.[15]
  • HWS: House Wage Schedule, similar to the House Employee Schedule but applies to certain House employees not employed by Member offices.[15]
  • IA: Defense Civilian Intelligence Personnel System (DCIPS)—used by the Navy and others External link
  • IC: Incident Command – FEMA Exempted Service Intermittent Disaster Staff (FEMA Reservist)
  • IT: Incident Teams – FEMA Exempted Service Incident Management Staff (FEMA CORE) Pay Band I–V
  • JS: Judiciary Salary – U.S. Courts
  • NF: Non-Appropriated Fund
  • NH, NJ, NK: AcqDemo (DOD Civilian Acquisition Workforce Personnel Demonstration Project [16]
  • NY: Corporation for National and Community Service[17]
  • SK: United States Securities and Exchange Commission pay scale
  • SV: Department of Homeland Security excepted service (i.e., Transportation Security Administration)
  • VN: Federal medical careers
  • WG: Wage grade
  • WM: Wage Mariner. Operates government owned, government operated (GOGO) ships for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Military Sealift Command (MSC) among other agencies.
  • Y (National Security Personnel System): Formerly used for Department of Defense (DoD) civil service jobs (approx. 2006–2012)[18] There are four Career Groups: (1) Standard: YA, YB, YC, YP, (2) Scientific and Engineering: YD, YE, YF, (3) Medical: YG, YH, YI, YJ, (4) Investigative and Protective Services: YK, YL, YM, YN (NSPS was repealed in 2009; see National Security Personnel System for more info)
  • Z: National Institute of Standards and Technology's Alternative Personnel Management System (APMS)[19]


  2. ^"GENERAL SCHEDULE WITHIN-GRADE INCREASES". Office of Personnel Management.
  4. ^"Salary Table 2020-GS"(PDF). U.S. Office of Personnel Management. Retrieved February 12, 2020.
  5. ^"Special Rate Table Number 0576". U.S. Office of Personnel Management. January 1, 2017. Retrieved March 26, 2017.
  6. ^"Locality Pay Area Definitions". 2020. Retrieved February 12, 2020.
  7. ^"Publication 516 (11/2018), U.S. Government Civilian Employees Stationed Abroad | Internal Revenue Service".
  8. ^"Precedence Codes". Retrieved 2014-05-08.
  10. ^"National Security Personnel System". Office of the Secretary of Defense. Archived from the original on 2007-04-06.
  11. ^"Archived copy"(PDF). Archived from the original(PDF) on 2012-11-07. Retrieved 2014-07-21.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^
  13. ^"National Security Personnel System – Frequently Asked Questions". Archived from the original on January 24, 2010.
  14. ^"Jobs". Federal Aviation Administration. 2014-02-24. Retrieved 2014-05-08.
  15. ^ ab"[USC02] 2 USC 293: Compensation schedules".
  16. ^"About AcqDemo". Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment (A&S). 2019-02-21. Retrieved 2019-03-31.
  17. ^"Home | AmeriCorps".
  18. ^"Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-04-10. Retrieved 2007-04-11.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  19. ^[1]Archived February 2, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  • Army Regulation 570-4, p. 39–40.

External links[edit]

5 Differences Between Active Duty Military and a GS Federal Employee

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