Definitions - FederalPay.org

The federal government is full of acronyms and jargon. Here are some of the most common terms you will encounter when talking about pay in the federal government. There are hundreds of acronyms used by the federal government. If you need help deciphering an acronym not listed below, contact us. Please include the context where the acronym was used. We will help find the meaning and add it to the list below.

Definitions

Compensatory Time

Extra paid leave that is accrued for working more than 80 hours in a given pay period.

Compensatory Time for Travel

Extra paid leave that is accrued for traveling outside of one’s tour of duty.

Tour of Duty

The time of day one works. Some organizations allow employees to choose what time they come to work in the morning.

Official Duty Station

The location you work at when not on travel.

Temporary Duty Station (TDY)

When on official travel, your travel destination is called your temporary duty station.

Pay Period

A 2-week period. Employees typically work 80 hours during a pay period. Pay checks are sent at the end of each pay period.

Annual Leave

Sometimes known as personal or vacation leave, Annual Leave is paid leave that can be used for any purpose.

Moral, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR)

MWRs exist on most military installations. MWR work to bring leisure activities, fitness, and events to military and civilian personnel who live or work on a military installation. For example MWR may plan family friendly weekend outings, run a fitness center, or organize an intermural sports leagues.

Senior Executive Service (SES) Schedule

Pay Scale for high level executives within the federal government. The SES pay scale is above the GS pay scale. The Presidents Cabinet, Congress, and leaders of other government entities are paid on the SES schedule.

Law Enforcement Officer (LEO) Schedule

Pay Scale for Law Enforcement Officers, within the federal government, who carry a firearm and have authority to arrest.

Federal Wage System (FWS)

Pay Scale for Blue-Collar jobs within the federal government.

General Schedule (GS)

Pay scale for most White-Collar jobs within the federal government

Appropriated Funds (AF)

Funds allocated in Congress’s yearly budget or continuing resolution.

Non-Appropriated Funds (NAF)

Funds not directly allocated by congress.

Time-in-service

The total length of time an employee has worked within the federal government. This time is used to calculate Retirement, vesting of benefits, and the rate at which paid leave is accrued.

Job Series

Job Series is a category of jobs. For example the 0800 Job Family is called the Engineering and Architecture Group. Within the 0800 Family, 0810 is the Job Series for all Civil Engineers.

Rest of U.S. (RUS)

GS and LEO schedules adjust salaries based on where an employee works. There are 33 locality areas that cover major metropolises and their suburbs. The final locality area is called the Rest of the U.S. and covers everywhere that does not fall within another pay area. The RUS pay adjustment is nearly a 15% increase on top of base pay.

Within Grade Increase (WGI)

The General Schedule (GS), Law Enforcement Officer (LEO) Schedule and the Federal Wage System (FWS) pay is determined by finding the intersection of a Grade and a Step within a certain table. Grades are promotions and move vertically within a pay table. Steps move horizontally within a certain grade. Pay differences between grades vary. Higher grades have larger pay difference between them. Steps however, have the same pay difference between them within a certain grade. For instance, GS-7 step 2 to step 3 will result in the same pay increase as a move from GS-7 step 4 to step 5. The pay difference between steps in known as a Within Grade Increase or Within Grade Increment.


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