Federal Pay Raise

Updated: December 28, 2022
In this Article

    On December 23, 2022, President Biden signed an executive order confirming a 4.6% federal pay increase for civilian employees in 2023. Service members will receive the same 4.6% military pay increase in 2023, according to the 2023 defense budget.

    The federal pay increase will provide a 4.1% pay increase across the board for General Schedule employees and a 0.5% locality pay adjustment, totaling 4.6 percent.

    Find the current 2023 military pay rates here.

    2023 General Schedule (GS) Pay Tables and Calculators

    2023 General Schedule (GS) Tables

    GRADESTEP 1STEP 2STEP 3STEP 4STEP 5STEP 6STEP 7STEP 8STEP 9STEP 10WITHIN GRADE AMOUNTS
    120,999 21,704 22,401 23,097 23,794 24,202 24,89325,58925,61726,273VARIES
    223,61224,174 24,956 25,617 25,906 26,668 27,430 28,19228,95429,716VARIES
    325,76426,623 27,482 28,341 29,200 30,05930,91831,77732,636 33,495859
    428,921 29,88530,849 31,813 32,777 33,741 34,705 35,66936,63337,597964
    532,357 33,43634,515 35,594 36,67337,752 38,831 39,910 40,98942,0681,079
    636,070 37,27238,474 39,676 40,878 42,08043,282 44,48445,686 46,8881,202
    740,082 41,418 42,75444,09045,42646,76248,098 49,434 50,77052,1061,336
    844,389 45,869 47,349 48,829 50,309 51,789 53,269 54,749 56,22957,7091,480
    949,02850,662 52,296 53,930 55,564 57,198 58,83260,466 62,10063,7341,634
    1053,99055,790 57,59059,390 61,190 62,990 64,790 66,59068,390 70,190 1,800
    1159,319 61,29663,273 65,250 67,227 69,204 71,181 73,158 75,135 77,1121,977
    1271,099 73,469 75,83978,20980,579 82,949 85,31987,689 90,059 92,4292,370
    1384,54687,364 90,182 93,000 95,818 98,636 101,454 104,272107,090109,9082,818
    1499,908 103,238 106,568 109,898 113,228 116,558 119,888 123,218 126,548129,878 3,330
    15117,518 121,435 125,352 129,269 133,186 137,103141,020 144,937 148,854152,7713,917

    Veterans in the Federal Workforce

    According to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), Veterans represented approximately one-third (30%) of the total U.S. federal workforce in fiscal year 2020. The highest percentages of Veterans work in the Departments of Defense, Transportation, Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security.

    About Federal Pay (General Schedule Classification and Pay)

    The General Schedule (GS) classification and pay system cover most civilian white-collar federal employees (roughly 2.2 million worldwide) in professional, technical, administrative and clerical positions. OPM administers GS classification standards, qualifications, pay structure and related human resources policies for the government. Agencies classify their GS positions and appoint and pay GS employees according to OPM guidelines and federal law.

    The General Schedule has 15 grades. GS-1  is the lowest. GS-15 is the highest. Each of the 15 pay grades has 10-step rates.

    Employees can move to the next step (a kind of pay raise known as a “within-grade step increase”) based on acceptable job performance and the following periods of service:

    • One year at steps 1-3
    • Two years at steps 4-6
    • Three years at steps 7-9

    It normally takes 18 years to advance from step 1 to step 10 within a single GS grade, if an employee remains in that grade. However, employees with outstanding performance ratings may receive up to one additional quality step increase per year, according to OPM.

    Each step is worth about 3% of the federal employee’s salary.

    Federal employees at the GS-2 level need at least a high school diploma, according to the VA. At GS-5, employees need a bachelor’s degree. At levels GS-9 and higher, employees should have at least a master’s degree.

    Locality Pay

    Locality pay is an adjustment for civilian federal employees in specified occupations and geographic locations. Locality pay reflects private-sector salaries for similar jobs in similar areas.

    The Office of Personnel Management (OPM)

    The Office of Personnel Management provides policy leadership and expertise on a variety of government-wide pay programs for federal employees, including the General Schedule (GS), Law Enforcement Officer Pay Schedules and the Federal Wage System (FWS).

    Federal Pay Agencies

    Federal pay agencies include cabinet departments and large independent agencies but not mid-to small-sized agencies. 

    • Cabinet Department Agencies: Agriculture, the Air Force, the Army, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Justice, Labor, Health and Human Services (HHS), Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development (HUD), State, the Interior, the Navy, Transportation, Treasury, Veterans Affairs
    • Large Independent Agencies: Agency for International Development (AID), Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency for the District of Columbia, Federal Reserve System (FSR), Federal Trade Commission (FTC), General Services Administration (SSA), Broadcasting Board of Governors, Government Printing Office (SSA), National Science Foundation (SSA), National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), Nuclear Regulatory Commission (SSA), Securities and Exchange Commission (OFF), Small Business Administration (SBA), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Smithsonian Institution, Social Security Administration (SSA)

    Federal Employees by the Numbers

    The Office of Personnel Management’s most updated data on federal employees is from 2017:

    • Virginia (144,295), Washington D.C., (141,367), California (152,446) and Maryland (120,705) have the most federal employees, according to 2017 OPM data.
    • More than 15% of federal workers work in the DMV area, including Washington, D.C., and parts of Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia, according to OPM’s 2017 data.
    • Less than 1.5% of federal employees work outside the United States, according to OPM’s 2017 data.
    • Roughly 36% of federal GS employees work for the Department of Defense, according to OPM’s 2017 data.

    Difference Between COLA and Federal Pay Increases

    Pay increases for current federal workers differ from federal cost-of-living adjustments for retirees. 

    Changes in private-sector wages and salaries drive federal pay increases. Federal pay increases help the government compete for talent by paying employees in line with what the private-sector offers.

    Increases in the CPI-W inflation measurement determine cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) The CPI-W measures changes in the price of a market basket of consumer goods and services.

    COLA ensures that a retiree’s income can continue to purchase the same amount of goods and services after years of retirement that it purchased at the start of retirement.

    General Schedule (GS) Pay Increase History

    YearIncreaseYearIncrease
    20234.6%20092.90%
    20222.20%20082.50%
    20211.00%20071.70%
    20202.60%20062.10%
    20191.40%20052.50%
    20181.40%20042.70%
    20171.00%20033.10%
    20161.00%20023.60%
    20151.00%20012.70%
    20141.00%20003.80%
    20130.00%19993.10%
    20120.00%19982.30%
    20110.00%19972.30%
    20101.50%19962.00%

    Written by Veteran.com Team

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