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Special Rates

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) may establish higher rates of basic pay - special rates - for a group or category of General Schedule (GS) positions in one or more geographic areas to address existing or likely significant handicaps in recruiting or retaining well-qualified employees. OPM may establish special rates for nearly any category of employee - i.e., by series, specialty, grade-level, and/or geographic area.

OPM may establish special rates to address staffing problems caused by -
• significantly higher non-Federal pay rates than those payable by the Federal Government within the area, location, or occupational group involved;
• the remoteness of the area or location involved;
• the undesirability of the working conditions or nature of the work involved; or
• any other circumstances OPM considers appropriate.

Locating a Special Rates Table

To find a specific special rates table use this search engine. For a complete set of current special rates tables, use this link for a printable HTML version (set your printer to landscape mode for best results). The current special rates tables are indexed by occupation, agency, and location (these can also be printed).

For special rates tables before 2010, please use the SRTIS system.

Payroll-Usable File of Title 5 Special Rates

You can download a text file of special pay rates which can be used to facilitate the entry of special rate information into agency payroll systems. The format of this file is:

Char: Field:
1-4 Table Number
5-6 Pay Plan
7-8 Grade
9-10 Step
11-16 Step Rate
17-26 Effective Date

Agency Requests for Special Rates

Individuals cannot request a special rate. Requests for special rates must come to OPM through agency headquarters. Information on how agencies can make special rates requests can be found here.

Contact Information

Mailing address:
U.S. Office of Personnel Management
Pay Systems
1900 E Street, NW.
Room 7H31
Washington, DC 20415-6000

Phone Number: 202-606-2838

Email address:


Other Pay Flexibilities

Besides special rates, agencies can use other methods for addressing recruitment and retention issues. For more information about "Human Resources Flexibilities," visit this page.

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