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General Schedule (GS) Salary Table

Definition The General Schedule (GS) Salary Table is a standardized pay scale used by the United States federal government to determine the compensation level for various civilian positions. It consists of 15 pay grades (GS-1 through GS-15), each with 10 steps within them. Employees move through these steps based on their experience, performance, and length […]


The General Schedule (GS) Salary Table is a standardized pay scale used by the United States federal government to determine the compensation level for various civilian positions. It consists of 15 pay grades (GS-1 through GS-15), each with 10 steps within them. Employees move through these steps based on their experience, performance, and length of service, with their pay being adjusted accordingly.

Key Takeaways

  1. The General Schedule (GS) Salary Table is a comprehensive, government-wide pay structure established by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to determine the compensation levels for federal employees, including VA employees.
  2. GS positions are classified based on the type of work, level of difficulty, and level of responsibility. The table comprises 15 grades, with each grade having 10 step increases that correspond to an employee’s experience and performance. Annual cost-of-living adjustments and locality adjustments may also apply.
  3. VA employees under the GS system can access pay, promotion, and benefits information through the GS Salary Table. This enables them to understand their current pay structure, potential for growth within their positions, and the benefits they are eligible for as a VA employee.


The General Schedule (GS) Salary Table is important for VA benefits because it serves as a standardized pay scale for federal employees, designating the basic salaries and wages for various positions across the U.S.


Given that Veterans Affairs (VA) employees, including healthcare providers, claims representatives, and administrative staff, are part of the federal workforce, their compensation is based on this salary table.

The GS Salary Table helps VA employees and applicants better understand their pay structure, promotions, and potential career growth while ensuring that salaries remain fair and competitive.

Moreover, as the table is adjusted periodically to account for inflation, regional variances, and cost of living, it optimizes the recruitment and retention of qualified VA personnel, ultimately benefiting the veteran community with quality services.


The General Schedule (GS) Salary Table serves as a systematic and structured method for determining the compensation of federal employees in the United States, including those working within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Its primary purpose is to establish and maintain a standardized and transparent pay scale for a diverse workforce, ensuring that federal employees are fairly compensated based on their roles, responsibilities, and experience. The GS Salary Table is essential in fostering a consistent and equitable approach to employee remuneration, which in turn helps maintain stability and trust within the federal government workforce.

The GS Salary Table is divided into various salary grades and steps, with each grade representing a specific level of responsibility and complexity of the job roles within the federal government. Within each grade, there are ten steps that correspond to different levels of experience and performance.

In using this system, the salary of each government employee is determined according to their designated grade and step, ensuring objective assessment and just payment practices. For VA employees, the GS Salary Table plays a crucial role in establishing salaries that reflect the vital work they do in providing support and assistance to veterans, while also accounting for their education, experience, and performance.

This intricate pay structure contributes significantly to workforce motivation, satisfaction, and retention, ultimately benefiting the veterans who rely on the VA’s valuable programs and services.

Examples of General Schedule (GS) Salary Table

The General Schedule (GS) Salary Table is a federal pay scale used to determine the pay rates for most white-collar civilian workers in the U.S. government. Here are three real-world examples of the application of the GS Salary Table:

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Job Posting: A job posting for a Financial Management Analyst at the VA might list the pay scale as GS-9 to GS-11, meaning that an employee hired for this position could expect to earn a salary within the range specified for these levels on the General Schedule Salary Table.

Federal Employee Pay Raise: Sometimes, the President or Congress approves an annual pay increase for federal civilian employees based on the General Schedule Salary Table. For instance, in 2022, a

7% average pay raise was implemented for GS employees. This change affects workers’ basic pay rates across all GS levels, including those working at the VA.

Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA): Apart from the base GS Salary, employees may also receive locality pay adjustments based on the region they work in, to account for differences in cost of living. For example, a VA Benefits Administrator at GS-7 level in San Francisco, California, can receive a higher salary than someone at the same level in Omaha, Nebraska, due to the difference in cost of living between the two cities.

FAQ Section: General Schedule (GS) Salary Table

What is the General Schedule (GS) Salary Table?

The General Schedule (GS) Salary Table is a framework used by the United States federal government to determine the salaries of its employees. This table consists of 15 pay grades, also called “GS levels,” with each grade having 10 steps. The salary for each step in a grade is predetermined and increases per step according to the GS table.

How does the General Schedule system work?

The General Schedule system involves the classification of positions in the U.S. government according to a predetermined set of criteria, including the job’s difficulty, level of responsibility, and qualifications required. Based on these factors, the government assigns each position to a specific pay grade (GS level) and a corresponding step within the GS Salary Table.

How are GS levels determined for each Federal Government employee?

GS levels are determined based on the classification of the position, including factors such as the job’s level of difficulty, responsibility, and required qualifications. Federal Government agencies assign these levels, and once a position is assigned to a specific GS level, the salary follows the predetermined pay scale based on the GS Salary Table.

What is the difference between the GS levels and steps?

The GS level (grade) represents the complexity and responsibility of a job within the Federal Government. There are 15 levels, with GS-1 being the lowest and GS-15 the highest. In contrast, steps represent the pay increases within each grade. There are 10 steps within each grade, with step 1 being the lowest and step 10 the highest.

Do General Schedule salaries increase over time?

Yes, General Schedule salaries generally increase over time in three ways: through time-in-grade step increases, annual across-the-board increases, and locality pay adjustments. Time-in-grade step increases happen automatically as an employee gains years of experience. Annual across-the-board increases are typically put in place by the government to account for inflation, while locality pay adjustments vary by region and are based on the local cost of living.

Related VA Benefit Terms

  • Federal Wage System (FWS)
  • Locality Pay Adjustments
  • GS Pay Scale Steps
  • GS Base Pay
  • Pay Caps and Compression

Sources for More Information

  • U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) – Official website with the most updated General Schedule (GS) Salary Tables
  • FedWeek – A reputable online resource providing information on federal pay, benefits, and policies
  • FederalPay.org – A comprehensive resource on the federal government’s pay scale, including GS Salary Tables
  • Government Executive – A reliable resource for federal employees, offering news and analysis on topics related to pay and benefits, including GS Salary Tables

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