How does the Law Enforcement Officer Pay Scale Work? - FederalPay.org
LEO Pay Scale Explained
The Law Enforcement Officer (LEO) pay schedule is used to determine the pay of federal employees who carry a fire arm as part of their job and have the authority to arrest. LEO jobs exist in all federal departments. LEO agencies include the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and other agencies whose primary focus is preventing, detecting, and investigation of crimes and the apprehension of the alleged offenders. There are over 100,000 federal law enforcement jobs in the United States making the LEO schedule the third largest federal pay scale.
The LEO pay schedule is very similar to the General Schedule (GS). In both pay systems, pay is based on three factors: grade, step, and location.
Federal Law Enforcement Officer Pay
Steps are based on the length of time you have worked for the federal government – known as “time in service.” There are 10 steps with step 10 receiving the highest pay. After 1 year of service you move from step 1 to step 2. As you move up in step the time between step increases become longer. Each step increase is equal to approximately 2-5%. Step increase time intervals are the same as within the GS pay schedule. It takes 18 years to progress from step 1 to step 10.
LEO grades range from 3 to 10 with 10 receiving the highest pay. A grade increase is a promotion and results in a 5-10% pay increase. Grades 1 and 2 are no longer used because they are too low. Instead of raising the entire pay scale, grades 1 and 2 were simply phased out. Grade and Step are used to determine your base pay.
Finally, location is factored into your pay in order to adjust for cost of living. The country is divided into 34 pay localities. Based on which locality you work in a percentage is added to your salary. The highest pay locality adjustment is 35% in the San Francisco area. The lowest locality rate is known as “Rest of U.S.” and applies to most locations that are not near a major metropolis. The Rest of U.S. locality adjustment is 14% on top of your base pay.
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