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DG Pay and Benefits

Page history last edited by Michael 11 years, 5 months ago

 

 

Salary and Benefits for Federal Agents

 

 

Annual basic pay under the General Schedule plan is as follows:

 

 

grade   1996    1999    2000    2001    2006

 

 

GS-1  $13,147 $13,362 $13,870 $14,244 $16,352 

GS-2   14,781  15,023  15,594  16,015  18,385 

GS-3   16,128  16,392  17,015  17,474  20,060 

GS-4   18,105  18,401  19,100  19,616  22,519 

GS-5   20,257  20,588  21,370  21,947  25,195 

GS-6   22,578  22,948  23,820  24,463  28,085 

GS-7   25,090  25,501  26,470  27,185  31,209 

GS-8   27,787  28,242  29,315  30,107  34,563 

GS-9   30,693  31,195  32,380  33,254  38,175 

GS-10  33,800  34,353  35,658  36,621  42,040 

GS-11  37,140  37,744  39,178  40,236  46,189 

GS-12  44,480  45,236  46,955  48,233  55,360 

GS-13  52,880  53,793  55,837  57,345  65,832 

GS-14  62,488  63,567  65,983  67,765  77,793

GS-15  73,504  74,773  77,614  79,710  91,507

 

A given position will have a particular pay grade, or perhaps a range of pay grades; within each pay grade there are ten ‘Steps’. Employees begin at Step 1 of their initial grade, and increase their Step based on merit/performance reviews and time in grade; each Step represents roughly a 2.5% increase of the base annual pay (specifically, Step 10 is a 25% increase). Normally, agents advance one Step each year for their first four years in grade, and then one every two years in grade. GS pay is also adjusted geographically and the majority of jobs pay a higher salary. When locality payments are included, pay rates in the continental U.S. are 7.68% to 16.98% higher. Pay rates outside the continental U.S. are 10% to 25% higher. Also, certain hard-to-fill jobs, usually in the scientific, technical, and medical fields, may have higher starting salaries.

 

In addition, most Federal agents qualify for availability pay (also known at AUO ‘administratively uncontrolled overtime’ or LEAP ‘law enforcement availability pay’) -- and most receive it; this compensation for unscheduled duty equals 25% of the agent’s base salary.

 

There is of course the full range of other benefits (group health, Federal Group Life Insurance, Federal Employees Retirement System, etc.).

 

Vacation policies will differ slightly, but typically:

 

  • Less than 3 years federal service: 2.5 weeks
  • 3 to 15 years federal service: 4 weeks 
  • over 15 years federal service: 5.25 weeks

 

“Federal service” includes any prior time spent in the military.

 

Sick Leave: All federal employees earn 8 hours sick leave per month, regardless of the number of years of federal service.

 

Example: in 1999, Allie Levine is a Secret Service Special Agent, GS grade 12, Step 6 with about ten years in federal service (of which eight have been at GS grade 12). She is serving in an area (Washington, DC) with a 12% locality adjustment. Base pay for GS 12 + 15% for Step 6 + 12% locality bonus + 25% AUO = $72,830 gross pay per year, and receives four weeks of vacation and twelve sick days (roughly) per year.

 

Federal income tax rates for 1999 (filing single) were as follows:

  


 

Schedule X - Use if your filing status is Single         

If the amount on Form 1040, Line 39 is:

Over --         But not over --   Enter on Form 1040, line 40 of the amount over --       

$0              $25,750           $0                          + 15%     $0      

$25,750         $62,450           $3,862.50                   + 28%     $25,750         

$62,450         $130,250          $14,138.50                  + 31%     $62,450         

$130,250        $283,150          $35,156.50                  + 36%     $130,250        

$283,150                          $90,200.50                  + 39.6%   $283,150

    

 


 

 

 

Personal exemption (reduction of wages before figuring taxes) for single filers was $2,750; standard deduction (also a reduction of wages before figuring taxes) was $4,300. Social Security tax (OASDI and Medicare) is 7.65% of gross pay, in addition to the above. We will assume SA Lavine has ‘employee business expenses’ up to the 2% of adjusted gross pay limit -- $1,457 (dry cleaning, wardrobe, etc.) – these also reduce her gross pay (and in fact keep her out of the 31% tax bracket).

 

Example: If we assume SA Levine is dedicating $7,283 (10%) of her pre-tax salary to retirement-matching deductions, she would owe $12,752 in Federal income tax, and $5,571 in Social Security taxes. She is probably spending $40 per month on health insurance. Her take-home pay is thus $47,184 per year, or $1,815 per two-week long pay period. She can afford an apartment or house costing about $1,200 per month at most (a pretty nice apartment in DC).

 

An average new car costs $21,420 in 1999. Financed through the Federal Employees Credit Union at 6.15% (presuming 80% financing), and a $2,000 trade in value on the previous car, monthly payments for a 48 month loan will be $357. If we assume about $30 per month phone bill, $25 per month internet access, $30 per month utilities, $24 per month gym fees, $150 per month cleaning bills, $90 per month for auto insurance … this leaves about $1,700 per month for saving or spending. If we assume she currently puts $400 per month into some kind of savings account or other investment plan, she still has $1,300 per month for spending (food, vacation, personal items). Her savings account (stock fund, or whatever) will have about $62,000 in it (if she’s been investing at the current level for her entire Secret Service career, and has managed to average about 5% annual interest).

 

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