Calculating Your 2010 Pay Rate: How Much Will You See in Your Paycheck?

What will your 2010 pay rate be in actual dollars and cents? That depends in large part on the final action by Congress and the President.

We don’t know yet how much of a raise federal employees under the General Schedule will get in 2010. As we pointed out in a recent article, it could be an average raise of 2% which is what President Obama originally proposed. (See President Asks Federal Employees to Sacrifice in 2010: Proposes 2% Pay Raise) The House Appropriations Committee has approved a 2 percent raise for workers as part of its financial services spending bill.

But, of course, it isn’t that simple. It could also turn out to be 2.9%. Assistant Senate Majority Leader Richard Durbin, (D-IL) announced legislation that would give federal civilian employees a 2.9% cost of living raise.

It could also turn out to be 3.4%. The 2010 authorization bill for the Department of Defense contained the authorization for a 3.4 percent pay raise for military personnel next year. Federal employee advocates jumped on that and asked for “pay parity” meaning that federal civilians would also get an average pay raise of 3.4% in 2010. (See Pay Parity and Your 2010 Pay Raise)

What most readers want to know though is the answer to a simple question with a complex answer: “What will my pay be in 2010?”

With there various options, there are numerous possible answers. We have come up with a pay calculator to display an estimate of what your pay will be in 2010 with various options.


Every year, some of the same questions pop up. For example, some readers will write in with a question such as: “How come my pay raise will be less than the 2.9% pay raises that we are supposed to get?”

The most likely answer is this; 2.9% will be an average for the entire federal workforce under the GS system. Some localities will get quite a bit more and some will get less than 2.9%.

Here are several caveats. We do not know what the average pay raise will be that is finally passed by Congress and signed by the President. We are using the 2.9% as a likely figure but what Congress will eventually pass is anyone’s guess.

Also, once the pay raise legislation is passed, the Office of Personnel Management will implement the legislation. The amounts for different localities could change. We will update the pay calculator once these event occur. For now, we are working to give our readers a reasonable estimate of what your pay may be. Please remember that the final figure will not be known for weeks or months.

About the Author

Ralph Smith has several decades of experience working with federal human resources issues. He has written extensively on a full range of human resources topics in books and newsletters and is a co-founder of two companies and several newsletters on federal human resources. Follow Ralph on Twitter: @RalphSmith47