Want to Make $212,000 a Year as a Federal Employee?

A change in the National Defense Authorization Act will allow some federal employees to make up to $212,000 a year. To get the higher salary, you will have to move.

How would you like to have your salary jump up to $212,000 and still be a federal employee? Most federal employees are limited to either the top GS-15 rate or Level 5 of the Executive Schedule (about $133,900).

The good news is that it may be possible to make the extra money. As you might expect, there are a few negative implications which is the reason for the higher pay.

There are some federal jobs that are not subject to a pay cap. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has issued a memo that notes there are two changes in pay and leave administration policies in the National Defense Authorization Act signed by President Bush in October (Public Law 109-364).

The amendment increased the annual limitation on pay for federal employees to $212,000. This allows the head of an agency to exercise the waiver authority for an employee who performs work while in an overseas location that is in the area of responsibility of the commander of the United States Central Command, in direct support of or directly related to a military operation.

A rough translation of this into plain English: You will be working in Iraq, Afghanistan or similar areas of the world in support of a military operation.

One other bit of bad news: The premium or overtime pay does not count toward retirement and you won’t get credit for the extra money if you get paid for annual leave that you earned but did not use.