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Federal Wage System


Federal Wage System Overview

The Federal Wage System (FWS) is a uniform pay-setting system that covers Federal appropriated fund and nonappropriated fund blue-collar employees who are paid by the hour.  The system's goal is to make sure that Federal trade, craft, and laboring employees within a local wage area who perform the same duties receive the same rate of pay.  The FWS includes 130 appropriated fund and 118 nonappropriated fund local wage areas.  Successful labor-management partnership is the hallmark of the FWS, with labor organizations involved in all phases of administering the pay system.

Under this uniform pay system -

  • Your pay will be the same as the pay of other Federal jobs like yours in your wage area, and
  • Your pay will be in line with pay for private sector jobs like yours in your wage area.

Pay Limitation

On December 21, 2023, OPM issued Compensation Policy Memorandum 2023-22 (external link) to notify agencies that section 737 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023, as extended by the Further Continuing Appropriations and Other Extensions Act, 2024, continues the provisions affecting the determination of pay adjustments for certain prevailing rate (wage) employees in Fiscal Year 2024.

Operating Manuals

The FWS Appropriated Fund and Nonappropriated Fund Operating Manuals contain information about the history of the FWS program, how wage surveys are conducted, setting pay for FWS employees, premium pay guidelines, special rates and schedules, and set-aside schedules. The FWS Operating Manuals are useful tools for personnel specialists and FWS employees.

* Hearing impaired users may utilize the Federal Relay Service by dialing 1-800-877-8339** to reach a Communications Assistant (CA). The CA will dial the requested number and relay the conversation between a standard (voice) telephone user and text telephone (TTY) user.

** Visiting the Federal Relay Service website will provide access to additional Toll-Free and Toll Access Numbers.

Appropriated Fund Operating Manual

Table of Contents

Nonappropriated Fund Operating Manual

Table of Contents

Minimum Wage

The following documents provide guidance to Federal agencies on the application of the Federal Minimum Wage under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938, as amended, to employees of the Federal Government.

How to Obtain an FWS Wage Schedule

The Department of Defense (DOD) is the lead agency responsible for conducting Federal Wage System (FWS) wage surveys and issuing wage schedules. DOD's Defense Civilian Personnel Advisory Service maintains a website with all FWS wage schedules. You can visit the FWS wage schedules website or contact DOD directly at 571-372-1614.

Reports to Congress

Federal Prevailing Rate Advisory Committee

The Federal Prevailing Rate Advisory Committee (FPRAC) studies the prevailing rate system and other matters pertinent to the establishment of prevailing rates under subchapter IV of chapter 53 of title 5, United States Code, and advises the Director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) on the Governmentwide administration of the pay system for blue-collar Federal employees.

FPRAC has five management members, five labor members, and one Chairman appointed by the Director of OPM.

  • Five management seats: Department of Defense, two of the military departments (Army, Navy, and Air Force rotate through 2 seats annually), the Department of Veterans Affairs, and OPM staff.

  • Five labor seats: Metal Trades Department/AFL-CIO, the American Federation of Government Employees (2 seats), the National Association of Government Employees, and the Association of Civilian Technicians (Ind.).

Meeting Dates for 2024

FPRAC meets on a monthly basis. Committee meetings are open to the public.

The following are tentative meeting dates for 2024:

  • Thursday, January 18, 2024 - Canceled
  • Thursday, February 15, 2024
  • Thursday, March 21, 2024
  • Thursday, April 18, 2024 - Canceled
  • Thursday, May 16, 2024 
  • Thursday, June 20, 2024 - Canceled
  • Thursday, July 18, 2024
  • Thursday, August 15, 2024
  • Thursday, September 19, 2024
  • Thursday, October 17, 2024
  • Thursday, November 21, 2024
  • Thursday, December 19, 2024

Meeting Transcripts

A transcript for each FPRAC meeting is recorded and approved by the Committee. You may find a copy of the text of the proceedings for recent meetings below.

Annual Reports

Annually, the Office of the Chair compiles a report of pay issues discussed and concluded recommendations.


The FPRAC Charter is reviewed every 2 years. The current Charter was issued on January 9, 2024.

Control Panel