What is pay banding?
In pay banding, also called broad banding, several General Schedule grades are combined into one, and the agency has greater leeway in setting starting salaries and increasing pay for various reasons, including for performance. Pay banding systems are common in “demonstration projects” and other settings where there are exceptions to standard civil service rules.

In pay banding systems, the amount of a pay increase within a band is based on the employee’s skills or competencies, job performance, contributions, or similar measures; most do not have automatic increases within a band. A high performing employee could move to the top salary of a pay band much more quickly than is possible in the GS system. In contrast, a low- or marginal-rated employee might get no incentive pay, and only part—or even none—of a general increase.

An employee might move to the next higher band through promotion, or even without a promotion, depending on how the pay banding system is defined.

Another typical feature of pay banding systems is occupational groupings. Similar to the consolidation of General Schedule grades, there typically is consolidation of job classifications into a small number of career paths—for example, science and engineering research; professional and administrative management; engineering, scientific and medical support; business and administrative support; and others as pertinent to the agency. The pay bands for each vary in number but typically correspond to what is deemed under GS classification systems to be entry level, apprentice, journeyman, full performance, and senior level accomplishment in those occupational groups, with a managerial level often added on top.

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