Human Resources
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Pay and Leave Information

Grade Structures

Positions in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are covered by one of two Federal pay scales: General Schedule (GS) and the Federal Wage System (FWS). GS positions include a wide range of professional, administrative, technical, and clerical work. This system is separated into 15 grades (GS-1, GS-2, etc.) and each grade is separated into 10 steps. Under the GS, there is no salary distinction between the various types of work (i.e. professional, administrative, technical, and clerical). FWS positions include a wide range of trade and labor positions. Under the FWS, non-supervisory positions are designed by WG (Wage Grade), lead positions are designated by WL (Wage Leader), and supervisory positions are designated by WS (Wage Supervisor). The FWS is also separated into 15 grades and each grade is separated into 5 steps. Within each grade, the FWS has separate pay scales for WG, WL, and WS. Pay scales, in both GS and FWS, reflect the geographic area where the position is located; however, the process for determining geographic location and pay is different as the two systems are governed by different laws and regulations.


Salary Tables

Step Increases

Information about advancement procedures within grades is available on OPM's fact sheet.

Federal Leave

As a federal employee, you will accumulate 13 days of sick leave each year along with from 13 to 26 vacation days, depending on years of employment. Full-time employees, with less than 3 years of service earn ½ day (4 hours) for each pay period; full-time employees with 3 years but less than 15 years of service earn 3/4 day (6 hours) for each pay period, except 1¼ day (10 hours) in last pay period, and full-time employees with 15 or more years of service earn 1 day (8 hours) for each pay period.

Along with annual and sick leave the federal government offers a host of Family-Friendly Leave Policies, which are discussed at length at OPM’s Leave Administration website. You may also call your Human Resources Office to discuss different leave options and entitlements.

Your Leave and Earnings Statement will contain up to date information regarding your leave, including leave balances. The National Business Center has issued a guide to help you understand your Leave and Earnings Statement. For question regarding your pay or your Leave and Earnings Statement please contact the PAYROLL INFORMATION LINE (303) 969-7732 or 1-800-662-4324

Premium Pay refers to rate of pay higher than basic pay "straight time.” Premium Pay may be payable for overtime work, work on holidays or scheduled days off, or for work performed under extraordinary conditions such as dangerous work environments. OPM fact sheets are available on the specific types of premium pay listed:

The following FWS manual Chapters supplements Office of Personnel Management (OPM) guidance for the administration of premium pay:

Employee Express

Employee Express in an automated system that allows employees to make changes to their personnel and payroll information and can be accessed by calling 1-800-827-6254 or via the internet at For help with Employee Express please call the Employee Express HELP DESK (478) 757-3030 or 1-888-353-9450

Additional information about Employee Express is also available on the IBC website.

Payroll Schedule Calendar

Payroll and Pay Periods

Last updated: April 13, 2020

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