GS Pay Scale

The GS Pay Scale refers to the General Schedule Pay Scale that is used by the federal government to determine the salary of over 1.5 million federal civilian white-collar employees. It is the predominant pay scale within the United States civil service. The system consists of 15 pay grades from GS-1, the lowest level, to GS-15, the highest level. Each pay grade is further divided into 10 steps, with each step representing a higher salary within that grade.

How to Calculate GS Pay

Calculating one’s salary under the GS Pay Scale involves a combination of the base pay associated with a grade and step, and often includes locality pay which is an additional percentage based on the cost of living in a specific geographic area. Additionally, performance pay and bonus incentives may apply for exceptional work or achievements.

Base Pay: Determined by grade and step. Locality Pay: Percentage added based on geographic location. Performance Pay/Bonus: Additional pay for exceptional performance (not applicable to all positions).

GS Pay Scale Calculator

GS Pay Scale by Grade and Step

The GS Pay Scale is structured around grade and step increments. Within each grade, there are 10 steps. Each step increase generally represents around a 3% pay hike. Employees typically start at step 1 within their grade and can advance to higher steps with years of service, performance, and availability of higher steps.

Here’s an example table of the GS Pay Scale for grade GS-5:

Step2024 Base Salary
Step 1$30,113
Step 2$31,172
Step 3$32,231
Step 10$39,311
GS Pay Scale by Grade and Step

*Please note that the figures above are hypothetical and do not reflect actual salaries.

GS Pay Scale by Occupation

Salary varies within the GS Pay Scale based on occupation as well. For instance, an engineer might be on a different pay grade than an administrative assistant due to differences in the complexity, responsibility, and qualifications required for the job.

For example, in 2024:

  • A GS-7 pay grade biomedical engineer might have a base salary starting at $36,356 at step 1.
  • A GS-9 pay grade accountant might start at $44,471 at step 1.

Each of these positions will also adjust for locality pay, which can significantly increase the base salary. Performance pay and bonuses might be given for outstanding work performance or meeting certain federal goals or milestones.

In conclusion, the GS Pay Scale is a structured system used by the federal government to determine employee wages. It incorporates a base salary that varies by grade and step, adjusts with locality pay for the cost of living, and rewards with performance pay and bonuses for outstanding service. Understanding this scale can be crucial for federal employees and those aspiring to join the federal workforce.

GS Pay Scale for New Hires

The GS Pay Scale provides a framework for determining the starting salaries of new hires within the federal government. For those entering federal service, their initial pay grade and step are often determined by their education and experience level. For instance, new graduates might start at GS-5 or GS-7, depending on their academic qualifications and the relevance of their degree.

A typical starting salary structure for new hires with different educational backgrounds in 2024 could look like this:

Education LevelGS GradeStarting Salary (2024)
High School DiplomaGS-1 to GS-4$20,000 – $30,000
Bachelor’s DegreeGS-5 to GS-7$30,000 – $40,000
Master’s DegreeGS-9 to GS-11$40,000 – $50,000
GS Pay Scale for New Hires

*Note: Salaries are approximate and subject to change. Locality pay will also affect the final wage.

GS Pay Scale for Federal Employees

For existing federal employees, the GS Pay Scale dictates the progression of their salaries over time. As employees gain experience and tenure, they may receive periodic increases in pay through step increases within their current pay grade or through promotions to a higher pay grade.

Here is an example of how a federal employee’s salary could progress within a single pay grade:

StepSalary at GS-9 in 2024
Step 1$44,471
Step 2$45,900
Step 3$47,329
Step 10$57,809
GS Pay Scale for Federal Employees

This table reflects the base salary before considering locality pay, performance pay, or bonuses.

GS Pay Scale Ranges

The GS Pay Scale ranges from GS-1, the lowest pay grade, to GS-15, the highest one used for the majority of employees. Within these grades, salaries range based on steps that increase incrementally. Each grade has 10 steps with a set increase percentage between each.

A condensed view of the GS Pay Scale ranges for 2024 might display as:

Pay GradeStep 1 SalaryStep 10 Salary
GS-5$30,113$39,311
GS-9$44,471$57,809
GS-12$60,129$78,167
GS Pay Scale Ranges

These figures represent base salaries without locality pay or other additional compensations.

GS Pay Scale Factors

Several factors influence where an individual’s salary will fall on the GS Pay Scale:

  • Pay Grade: Determined by the level of responsibility and qualifications required for the position.
  • Step: Increases within a pay grade based on tenure and performance.
  • Locality Pay: Adjusts salary based on geographic location to account for varying cost of living.
  • Performance Pay/Bonus: Additional pay may be awarded for exemplary performance.

For example, an employee in the GS-9 pay grade at step 5 may have a base salary of $50,000, which could be adjusted to $55,000 with locality pay and potentially an additional performance pay or bonus.

In conclusion, the GS Pay Scale is a structured salary system that considers multiple factors, including pay grade, step, locality pay, and performance-based bonuses. It is designed to offer a fair and transparent way to compensate federal government employees.

2024 Pay Tables

General ScheduleStep 1Step 2Step 3Step 4Step 5Step 6Step 7Step 8Step 9Step 10
GS 1$25,755$26,617$27,474$28,325$29,181$29,682$30,529$31,383$31,417$32,219
GS 2$28,958$29,647$30,607$31,417$31,770$32,704$33,639$34,573$35,508$36,442
GS 3$31,596$32,649$33,702$34,755$35,808$36,861$37,914$38,967$40,020$41,073
GS 4$35,470$36,651$37,834$39,016$40,198$41,380$42,562$43,745$44,926$46,108
GS 5$39,683$41,007$42,330$43,654$44,977$46,300$47,623$48,946$50,269$51,592
GS 6$44,235$45,710$47,185$48,659$50,135$51,609$53,084$54,559$56,033$44,235
GS 7$49,156$50,794$52,433$54,071$55,709$57,347$58,986$60,623$62,261$63,899
GS 8$53,901$55,698$57,495$59,291$61,088$62,885$64,682$66,478$68,275$70,072
GS 9$59,534$61,519$63,503$65,488$67,473$69,457$71,442$73,426$75,411$77,396
GS 10$66.216$68.424$70.631$72.839$75.046$77.253$79.460$81.668$83.875$86.083
GS 11$72,750$75,175$77,600$80,025$82,450$84,874$87,299$89,724$92,149$94,574
GS 12$87,198$90,105$93,011$95,919$98,826$101,734$104,641$107,547$110,455$113,362
GS 13$103,689$107,145$110,603$114,059$117,516$120,972$124,429$127,886$131,343$134.799
GS 14$122,529$126,613$130,698$134,781$138,865$142,949$147,033$151,117$155,201$159,286
GS 15$144,128$148,932$153,737$158,542$163,347$168,151$172,508$172,508$172,508$172,508

*These salaries aren’t official. It is calculated based on the 1% proposed pay increase. If the 1% pay increase passes the Congress, the base salary in 2024 will look like the above table.

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