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Pay & Leave Pay Administration

Fact Sheet: Pay Plans

Definition

A pay plan is a two-digit alphabetical code used to identify Federal civilian pay systems. The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) approves pay plan codes for agency use. OPM-approved pay plan codes are found Part A of the Guide to Data Standards. For the purpose of Federal civilian personnel data reporting requirements, this manual defines "pay plan" as "a particular table or array of pay rates prescribed by law or other authoritative source that establishes the basic pay rates for certain employees." The term "pay plan" is intended to include other terms such as pay system, pay schedule, pay scale, pay rates, basic pay schedule, statutory pay system, wage schedule, wage system, wage schedules and rates, regular wage schedule, and special wage schedule and rates.

Importance of Pay Plan Codes

Pay plan codes are used to identify important information about an employee's pay system and the authority governing the pay of an employee's position. For example, a pay plan may help identify whether an employee is in-

  • A white-collar position or blue-collar position,
  • An executive or managerial position or a staff-level position,
  • A position paid under a pay system used by many different agencies or a position under a pay system that is unique to a particular agency, or
  • A specific occupational grouping or class of employees.

Pay plans also are used to provide statistical information about Federal employees. Pay plans are reported to and used in such systems as OPM's Central Personnel Data File (CPDF), Enterprise Human Resources Integration (EHRI), FedScope, and agency payroll and human resources processing systems.

Of note-

  • The General Schedule pay system covers the largest group of civilian white-collar Federal employees and is identified by the pay plan codes GS, GM, GL, GP, and GR. See additional information on General Schedule pay plan codes below.
  • The Federal Wage System covers the largest groups of civilian blue-collar Federal employees and is identified in most cases by WG, WL, and WS.
  • Some pay plan codes cover a limited group of employees in multiple agencies (e.g., pay plans FO and FP cover Foreign Service members in the several foreign affairs agencies and the Peace Corps.).
  • Some pay plan codes, such as AD, may be used by any agency with an independent authority to administratively determine the rates of pay for any group or category of employees. Each agency must follow its own unique statutory pay authority when setting and adjusting pay under an AD pay system.
  • Many pay plan codes are unique to occupational groupings within a single agency. For example, pay plan code AT at the Federal Aviation Administration.

General Schedule Pay Plan Codes

The following pay plan codes are used for General Schedule positions:

  • GS - Employees covered by the General Schedule classification and pay system established under the Classification Act of 1949, as amended. (5 U.S.C. chapter 53, subchapter III, and 5 CFR part 531)
  • GM - Employees covered by the General Schedule classification and pay system who are covered by the Performance Management and Recognition System (PMRS) termination provisions of Public Law 103-89 (former PMRS employees).
  • GL - Employees covered by the General Schedule classification and pay system (1) who are law enforcement officers (LEOs) and (2) who receive special base rates at grades 3-10 under section 403 of the Federal Employees Pay Comparability Act of 1990 (FEPCA).
  • GP - Physicians and dentists covered by the General Schedule classification system and GS base pay ranges who receive title 38 market pay instead of locality pay (formerly GS).
  • GR - Physicians and dentists covered by the General Schedule classification system and GS base pay range who receive title 38 market pay instead of locality pay (formerly GM).

Additional Examples of Pay Plan Codes

AL    (Administrative Law Judge)
ES    (Senior Executive Service)
EX    (Executive Schedule)
SL    (Senior level positions)
ST    (Scientific and professional positions)
SV    (Transportation Security Administration)
VN    (Department of Veterans Affairs nurses)

How to Request a Pay Plan Code

Requests for pay plan codes must be submitted in writing to the address shown below and include the number and types of covered employees, the desired pay plan codes, a description of how the codes would be applied, and the legal authority for the pay plan.

Jerome D. Mikowicz
Deputy Associate Director for Pay and Leave
Employee Services
U.S. Office of Personnel Management
Room 7H31
1900 E Street, NW.
Washington, DC 20415

Fax to: 202-606-4264
Telephone: 202-606-2858
Email: pay-leave-policy@opm.gov

References

  • OPM Operating Manual: The Guide to Data Standards

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