Changes in Various 2022 Federal Pay Rates for Federal Employees

President Biden’s Executive Order on the 2022 federal pay raise impacts a number of federal employee pay schedules.

With the issuance of an Executive Order on December 22, 2021, federal employees will receive an average 2.7% federal pay raise effective this month (the average pay raise includes the amount for locality pay).

While most of the attention is focused on how the raise impacts the majority of employees under the General Schedule pay system, here are some other groups impacted according to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).

The General Schedule and Other Statutory Federal Pay Systems

The Executive Order established an across-the-board federal pay increase of 2.2% and an increase in locality pay rates for the General Schedule pay system. It also includes the same 2.2 percentage increase for the Foreign Service schedule and some schedules for the Veterans Health Administration in the Department of Veterans Affairs. Special base rates for law enforcement officers at GS grades 3 through 10 are also increased by 2.2 percent. (These law enforcement officers are assigned the “GL” pay plan code.)

Executive Schedule

The official Executive Schedule (EX) rates of pay are also going up 2.2 percent (rounded to the nearest $100). The official EX rates of pay are used in establishing pay limitations for employees and pay systems unaffected by any pay freeze for certain senior political officials.

Senior Executive Service

The minimum rate of basic pay for the Senior Executive Service (SES) rate range is adjusted to be consistent with the increase in the minimum rate of basic pay for senior-level positions. The applicable maximum rate of basic pay for the SES is $203,700 (EX-II) for SES members covered by a certified SES performance appraisal system and $187,300 (EX-III) for SES members covered by an SES performance appraisal system that has not been certified.

An SES member with a pay rate below the minimum rate of the new SES rate range must receive a pay increase effective January 2, 2022. That brings the SES member’s rate to at least the new minimum rate because an SES member may not receive less than the minimum rate of the SES rate range.

Other SES pay adjustments must generally be made based on individual performance, contribution to the agency’s performance, or both. An agency’s decision to adjust the rate of basic pay for an SES member that is approved by the end of the first pay period in January 2022 (January 15, 2022) may be made effective as of the first day of that first pay period (January 2, 2022). Determinations to adjust SES pay that are approved after January 15, 2022, are effective at the beginning of the next pay period following the approval.

Senior-Level and Scientific and Professional Positions

The minimum rate of basic pay for the senior-level (SL) and scientific and professional (ST) rate range is going up 2.2%—the amount of the base GS increase—and is $135,468 in 2022.

An SL or ST employee with a pay rate below the minimum rate of the new SL/ST rate range must receive a pay increase effective January 2, 2022, to the employee’s rate to at least the new minimum rate. An SL or ST employee may not receive less than the minimum rate of the SL/ST rate range. The applicable maximum rate of basic pay is $203,700 (EX-II) for SL or ST employees covered by a certified SL/ST performance appraisal system and $187,300 (EX-III) for SL or ST employees covered by an SL/ST performance appraisal system that has not been certified.

Aggregate Limitation on Pay

The aggregate limitation on pay for the calendar year 2022 is $226,300 (equivalent to the rate for EX-I). SES members and employees in SL/ST positions who are covered by a certified performance appraisal system are subject to a higher aggregate limitation on pay of the Vice President’s salary ($261,400 in 2022).

Federal Pay in Various Localities

The federal General Schedule pay system provides higher pay to federal employees in various locality pay areas. Here is a listing of the locality pay tables in each area for 2022.

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