How Do You Use a Federal Government Pay Chart?


Quick Answer

The General Schedule, or GS, pay system assigns every federal job with a grade level based on difficulty, qualifications and responsibilities. Each grade is comprised of 10 steps. To use a GS pay chart, locate the grade and the step of an employee's position to find the corresponding salary.

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Full Answer

The General Schedule has 15 grades with employees qualifying for grades based on education and experience. A high school graduate may typical only qualify for grade two, while an individual with a Master's degree may enter at grade nine. The 10 steps comprising each GS grade increase an employee's salary by about 3 percent per step. New hires general begin at step one and reach new steps after scheduled intervals.

Although it generally takes 18 years to advance from step one to step 10, an employee with superior performance may be advanced multiple steps after each interval. In addition to the grade and steps, employees in certain locations may receive a pay adjustment in order to reflect the varying costs of living across the country, which is referred to as locality pay. The Office of Personnel Management, or OPM, administers the General Schedule system, and it covers about 1.5 million federal white-collar employees.

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