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Frequently Asked Questions Pay & Leave

What is a quality step increase (QSI) and how does it affect a within-grade increase?

A QSI is a faster-than-normal WGI used to reward employees at any GS grade level who display high quality performance. To be eligible for a QSI, employees must:

  • be below step 10 of their grade level;
  • have received the highest rating available under their performance appraisal system;
  • have demonstrated sustained performance of high quality; and
  • have not received a QSI within the preceding 52 consecutive calendar weeks.

A QSI does not affect the timing of an employee's next regular WGI unless the QSI places the employee in step 4 or step 7 of his or her grade. In these cases, the employee becomes subject to the full waiting period for the new step--i.e., 104 weeks or 156 weeks, respectively--and the time an employee has already waited counts towards the next increase. The employee receives the full benefit of receiving a WGI at an earlier date and has not lost any time creditable towards his or her next WGI.

See 5 U.S.C. 5336, 5 CFR part 531, subpart E, and for additional information on QSIs.

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