How are the Payscales Related? - FederalPay.org
The federal government uses numerous pay scales for paying different types of work civilian work. There are four primary pay scales and several small or experimental pay scales. The primary pay scales, in order of number of employees, are the General Schedule (GS), Federal Wage System (FWS), Law Enforcement Officer (LEO) Schedule and the Senior Executive Service (SES) Schedule.
General Schedule is used to pay over 1.5 million White-Collar employees. Employees on the GS scale include engineers, scientists, lawyers, accountants and administrative assistants. GS scale is considered salary.
Federal Wage System Schedule is used to pay nearly 1 million Blue-Collar employees. FWS jobs include electricians, carpenters, mechanics, plumbers and many other skilled craft or trade jobs. FWS employees are paid hourly.
Law Enforcement Officer Scale is similar to the GS scale. LEO Schedule employees federal employees who, as part of their jobs, carry a firearm and have the authority to arrest. LEO employees are typically paid slightly more than their GS equivalent.
Senior Executive Service Schedule is used to pay high-ranking government officials. The SES Schedule is above the GS Schedule. The heads of government departments and agencies are usually on the SES Schedule. Congress is paid based on the SES Schedule.
Pay Banding is an experimental pay scale that is in limited use. Pay banding focuses on paying employees more based on performance metrics rather than time-in-service. Bay Bands were first used in 2009. Pay Bands are generally opposed by workers’ unions and are in very limited use today. Pay Bands used only by agencies that choose to use them.
The United States Postal Service uses four different pay scales to pay its employees. Each pay scale was negotiated with a different Postal Service Union. For this reason the USPS has not adopted any of the pay scales used throughout the rest of the federal government.
Higher Special Rates Tables are used when the working location is either too remote or the working conditions are too harsh. Special Rates may also be used if an organization cannot otherwise fill a position. Requests for Special Rates Tables may be made by a government entity and must be approved by the Officer of Personnel Management. Special Rates may apply based on a wide variety of factors such as Grade, Specialty, Location or Job Series.
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