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Federal Pay

The General Schedules (GS) is the Federal government’s main pay system and is composed of 15 grades (GS1 to GS15), or salary levels. Each grade includes ten steps through which employees advance based on satisfactory job performance and length of service. Locality pay is based on surveys done by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Locality pay is designed to make up the pay gaps between Federal and non-Federal salaries in local areas. For the most current pay charts, access the OPM Web site.

Federal Wage System (WG, WL, WS)

The pay for employees covered under the Federal Wage System or prevailing rate, commonly referred to as “blue collar” or “wage grade” (WG) workers is based on the prevailing rates for such work in a given geographical area. This special pay system covers trade, craft, labor, and other blue collar jobs. These employees are hourly rate workers who receive annual wage adjustments based on a review of comparability pay by wage area. Each wage area pay scale is divided into three classes: WG (worker), WL (leader), and WS (supervisor). The WG and WL classes of pay rates each have 15 grades with five steps in each, and the WS has 19 grades with 5 steps. Advancement to higher steps is a result of satisfactory job performance and length of service. Link: