This article provides the latest updates and news on General Schedule (GS) changes, including forecasted changes based on White House and Congress plans.
The GS pay scale provides annual base pay or salary scales, including locality pay adjustments, for civilian Federal employees and other related groups. You can see grade/step changes and adjustments for recent years in the sections below.
Record 2023 GS Pay Raise – Updated Federal Pay/Salary Chart
With higher than average inflation levels and a record cost of living adjustment (COLA) for 2023, most experts predicted a record pay raise for employees on the GS pay scale.
This was confirmed in the latest letter from the White House to Congress (Speaker of the House), recommending a 4.6% average pay raise for Federal employees on the GS pay scale in 2023.
The proposed pay raise is in line with the March White House budget recommendation, as discussed in following section.
Note that the raise includes a 0.5% locality pay raise which means the base pay raise for federal employee salaries will likely be 4.1% in 2023. The pay raise will take effect from January 1st, 2023.
See the likely 2023 GS pay scale chart below (excludes 0.5% locality pay raise).
Expected 2023 GS PayScale Increase
The President has again used his mandated authority for pay (alternative plan) adjustments for civilian Federal employees because of “national emergency or serious economic conditions affecting the general welfare.
Specifically, I have determined that for 2023, the across-the-board base pay increase will be 4.1% nd locality pay increases will average 0.5%, resulting in an overall average increase of 4.6% for civilian Federal employees.
This alternative pay plan decision will allow the Federal Government to better compete in the labor market to attract and retain a well‑qualified Federal workforce in light of growing recruitment and retention challenges….that has resulted in a substantial pay gap for Federal employees compared to the private sector.President Biden
The final GS pay raise will be finalized in the coming months and if red hot inflation continues, it could be even larger.
I’ll update as more information is made available, including the latest 2023 military pay scales.
2022 GS Base Pay Table
Federal employees on the GS Pay scale received 2.2% across-the-board base pay raise for 2022, with an additional 0.5% locality pay adjustment, totaling a 2.7% average increase.
These changes were effective January, 1, 2022. This raise was more than double the average pay raise in 2021, reflecting the higher cost of living.
See below for the 2022 GS Base Pay scale table by step and grade that reflects the 2.2% base pay adjustment. The locality pay adjustment (0.5%) will vary by locality and can be found at the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) website.
2021 GS Pay Raise (1%) and Table
Despite a potential 2021 pay freeze for federal workers, Congress approved a 1 percent raise for Federal employees on the GS pay scale. This was not great news in an environment where inflation is rising, and especially since armed services members saw a 3% rise in their 2021 military pay scales.
You can see the 2021 GS Pay Chart below by step and grade. All changes were effective from January 1st, 2021.
Official source : OPM
[Nov 2020 update] President Trump had proposed a 1% GS pay raise for 2021, but with the poor economy and low inflation many are expecting an even lower raise, or potentially no raise at all. Details should be released in the next few months, but for those expecting a pay raise it may be prudent to lower expectations at this stage.
2020 GS Pay Raise (3.1%) and Chart
For 2020 government employees on the GS pay scale will see a 3.1% rise over 2019 levels. This is made up a 2.6% general schedule increase (shown in table below) and 0.5% locality pay adjustment. This is the same rise seen in 2020 military pay scales. Updated pay scales are effective January 1st, 2020.
Prior Year GS Pay Scale Tables
In his first year of office President Trump has approved an across the board 1.4% 2018 pay rise for the over 1.5 million government employees on the GS pay scale. In addition to this a 0.5% locality pay adjustment is being made to bring the total pay rise to 1.9% for 2018 This compares with a 2.4% raise for Military staff members. The updated 2018 GS pay scale table is shown below:
The increased GS pay was outlined by executive order and full details and locale details are available on the OPM site. At this point it is expected that the 2019 pay raise will be similar to the 2018 raise.
In a surprising move President Obama has reversed his previous August 2016 pay rise proposal of 1.6%, made up of a 1% across the board plus 0.6% locality pay adjustment (see prior update below). In his latest executive order he is proposing a “revised” alternative 2017 total pay raise of 2.1%. This is still made up of a 1% across the board raise, but will now reflect a locality pay adjustment of 1.1%. This brings the total 2017 average pay increase to 2.1% (excluding promotions).
The revised plan was issued to match the higher 2.1% raise for military personnel in 2017 and an improving economic environment that has seen larger increases in private sector pay. While Congress and the new administration can reverse this in 2017, it is unlikely to do so at this late stage given all pay raises are in effect on January 1st, 2017.
The table below shows the 2017 GS Pay Table/Chart by Step and Grade that reflects the 1% across the board federal/national raise. The updated 1.2% locality pay adjustment will vary by state and I recommend you review the OPM charts for specific details. Uniformed service members will also receive a monthly basic pay increase of 2.1 percent as seen in the latest 2017 military pay charts
[2017 Trump Administration Update] – See why a 2018 GS Pay Raise may be at risk under a new Trump executive order to freeze government hiring.
[August 31st 2016, 2017 1.6% GS Pay Raise] The president has excised his executive power and given government employees on the GS pay scale and armed service members one of the largest raises in recent times. Civilian employees will receive a combined 1.6 percent raise (vs 1.3 percent last year) per the earlier update, which is made up of an across-the-board increase of 1 percent to the federal GS pay scale; with an additional 0.6 percent adjustment to locality pay. Adjustments will take place January 1st, 2017.
“I have determined that for 2017, across-the-board pay increases will be 1.0 percent,” Obama wrote in an Aug. 31 letter to congressional leaders. “Also, I will make a decision by November 30, 2016, regarding an alternative plan for locality payments under 5 U.S.C. 5304a. The alternative plan for locality payments will be limited so that the total combined cost of the 1.0 percent across-the-board base pay increase and the varying locality pay increases will be 1.6 percent of basic payroll, consistent with the assumption in my 2017 budget. These decisions will not materially affect our ability to attract and retain a well-qualified federal workforce.”
[2017 GS Pay Raise Update] Despite a low inflation environment it looks like the President may leave a nice farewell gift for Federal employees on the GS pay scale via a 1.6% pay raise in 2017. There are still many hoops to jump through to get this raise approved, with any proposed raises to go via various sub-committees, House of Representatives, Senate and President. And like last year even if the House rejects a pay rise the President can sign an executive order overriding this.
It is likely the 1.6% pay raise will be made up of an across the board GS Federal pay raise and locality pay adjustments. This will be clarified as details are fleshed out.
Here is the latest status of where the various key groups stand on the 2017 GS pay raise:
President (Executive) – Recommended a 1.6% pay increase for 2017. This will be formalized in late August based on Senate and House deliberations
House of Representatives – Passed the 2017 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act (H.R. 5485). This bill did not rule out a pay raise (as done in the past) which means unless specific legislation is written the President’s recommendation for a pay raise of 1.6% for the federal workforce will likely become effective in January.
Senate – Legislation (S. 2699) sponsored by Democratic senator Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) proposes a whopping 5.3% raise next year. This is made up of a 3.9% federal pay boost, plus a 1.4% bump in locality pay for 2017. The figure is more than three times President Obama’s proposed 1.6 percent pay raise for federal workers in 2017.This raise is highly unlikely to pass.
[Updated for 2016 GS Pay Raise] In 2016, employees paid under the General Schedule (GS) system will get another 1% pay raise following the executive order signed into law by President Obama. This is the third consecutive year that GS eligible federal employees have received a 1% pay increase. The 2016 GS Pay table is show below and takes effect from January 1st. You can see the prior annual updates to this article for past year GS tables.
While the 2016 GS pay chart figures do not include adjustments for locality pay; the average increase for federal employees works out to 1.3% after adjusting for the locality pay increase.
[Updated for 2015 GS Pay Raise] In 2015, employees paid under the General Schedule (GS) system will get another 1% pay raise following the executive order signed into law by President Obama and latest data from the US Office of Personnel Management. This is the second consecutive year that GS eligible federal employees have received a 1% pay increase, after three years of pay freezes. The 2015 GS Pay table is show below and takes effect from January 1st. You can see the prior annual updates to this article for past year GS tables.
Other notable changes:
– Foreign Service and Veteran Health administration Schedules also increased by 1%, as did the the minimum salary for members of the Senior Executive Service (SES)
– Members of Congress, including the Vice President covered covered by the executive schedule will not get a raise this year
– Military staff will also receive a 1 percent pay raise
– 2015 locality pay percentages will remain at 2014 levels
– Pay schedules will become effective the first day of the first applicable pay period beginning on or after the first of the year (January 11, 2015, based on the standard 2015 payroll cycle).
[Updated for 2014 GS Pay Raise] Following the budget deal, President Obama issued an executive order approving a 1% pay increase in 2014 for federal employees who are paid under the General Schedule (GS) system. This is the first increase in three years. After years of congressional wrangling the increase was been endorsed for 2014. The updated 2014 GS Pay table is shown below and takes effect from January 1st. Locality pay will remain at 2013 levels.