The United States federal civil service is the civilian workforce (i.e., non-elected and non-military public sector employees) of the United States federal government's departments and agencies. The federal civil service was established in 1871 (5 U.S.C. § 2101). U.S. state and local government entities often have comparable civil service systems that are modeled on the national system, in varying degrees.
According to the Office of Personnel Management, as of December 2011, there were approximately 2.79 million civil servants employed by the U.S. government. This includes employees in the departments and agencies run by any of the three branches of government (the executive branch, legislative branch, and judicial branch), such as over 600,000 employees in the U.S. Postal Service.
There are three categories of U.S. federal employees:
A hiring authority is the law, executive order, or regulation that allows an agency to hire a person into the federal civil service. In fiscal year 2014, there were 105 hiring authorities in use. The following were the top 20 hiring authorities used that year, which accounted for 91% of new appointments:
The pay system of the United States government civil service has evolved into a complex set of pay systems that include principally the General Schedule (GS) for white-collar employees, Federal Wage System (FWS) for blue-collar employees, Senior Executive System (SES) for Executive-level employees, Foreign Service Schedule (FS) for members of the Foreign Service and more than twelve alternate pay systems that are referred to as alternate or experimental pay systems such as the first experimental system China Lake Demonstration Project. The current system began as the Classification Act of 1923 and was refined into law with the Classification Act of 1949. These acts that provide the foundation of the current system have been amended through executive orders and through published amendments in the Federal Register that sets for approved changes in the regulatory structure of the federal pay system. The common goal among all pay systems is to achieve the goal of paying equitable salaries to all involved workers regardless of system, group or classification. This is referred to as pay equity or ("equal pay for equal work"). Select careers in high demand may be subject to a special rate table, which can pay above the standard GS tables. These careers include certain engineering disciplines and patent examiners.
The General Schedule (GS) includes white collar workers at levels 1 through 15, most professional, technical, administrative, and clerical positions in the federal civil service. The Federal Wage System or Wage Grade (WG) schedule includes most federal blue-collar workers. As of September 2004, 71% of federal civilian employees were paid under the GS; the remaining 29% were paid under other systems such as the Federal Wage System for federal blue-collar civilian employees, the Senior Executive Service/Senior Level and the Executive Schedule for high-ranking federal employees, and the pay schedules for the United States Postal Service and the Foreign Service. In addition, some federal agencies—such as the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Reserve System, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation—have their own unique pay schedules.
All federal employees in the GS system receive a base pay that is adjusted for locality. Locality pay varies, but is at least 10% of base salary in all parts of the United States. The following salary ranges represent the lowest and highest possible amounts a person can earn in base salary, without earning over-time pay or receiving a merit-based bonus. Actual salary ranges differ adjusted for increased locality pay (for instance a GS-9, step 1 in rural Arkansas may start at $50,598 versus $61,084 in San Jose, California), but all base salaries lie within the parameters of the following ranges (effective January, 2018):
|Lowest step (1)||$ 18,785||$ 21,121||$ 23,045||$ 25,871||$ 28,945||$ 32,264||$ 35,854||$ 39,707||$ 43,857||$ 48,297||$ 53,062||$ 63,600||$ 75,628||$ 89,370||$ 105,123|
|Highest step (10)||$ 23,502||$ 26,585||$ 29,957||$ 33,629||$ 37,630||$ 41,939||$ 46,609||$ 51,623||$ 57,015||$ 62,787||$ 68,983||$ 78,355||$ 98,317||$116,181||$136,659|
Nineteen percent of federal employees earned salaries of $100,000 or more in 2009. The average federal worker's pay was $71,208 compared with $40,331 in the private sector, although under Office of Management and Budget Circular A-76, most menial or lower paying jobs have been outsourced to private contractors. In 2010, there were 82,034 workers, 3.9% of the federal workforce, making more than $150,000 annually, compared to 7,240 in 2005. GS salaries are capped by law so that they do not exceed the salary for Executive Schedule IV positions. The increase in civil servants making more than $150,000 resulted mainly from an increase in Executive Schedule salary approved during the Administration of George W. Bush, which raised the salary cap for senior GS employees slightly above the $150,000 threshold.
Basic pay rates for Senior Executive Service (i.e. non-Presidentially appointed civil servants above GS-15) will range from $119,554 to $179,700 in 2012.
In addition to departments, there are a number of staff organizations grouped into the Executive Office of the President. These include the White House staff, the National Security Council, the Office of Management and Budget, the Council of Economic Advisers, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the Office of National Drug Control Policy and the Office of Science and Technology Policy.
There are also independent agencies such as the United States Postal Service, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). In addition, there are government-owned corporations such as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the National Railroad Passenger Corporation.
There were 456 federal agencies in 2009.
As of January 2009, the Federal Government, excluding the Postal Service and soldiers, employed about 2 million civilian workers.
The Federal Government is the nation's single largest employer. Although most federal agencies are based in the Washington, D.C. region, only about 16% (or about 288,000) of the federal government workforce is employed in this region.
In the early 19th century, positions in the federal government were held at the pleasure of the president—a person could be fired at any time. The spoils system meant that jobs were used to support the American political parties, though this was gradually changed by the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act of 1883 and subsequent laws. By 1909, almost two-thirds of the U.S. federal workforce was appointed based on merit, that is, qualifications measured by tests. Certain senior civil service positions, including some heads of diplomatic missions and executive agencies, are filled by political appointees. Under the Hatch Act of 1939, civil servants are not allowed to engage in political activities while performing their duties. In some cases, an outgoing administration will give its political appointees positions with civil service protection in order to prevent them from being fired by the new administration; this is called "burrowing" in civil service jargon.
Public support in the United States for civil service reform strengthened following the assassination of President James Garfield. The United States Civil Service Commission was created by the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act, which was passed into law on January 16, 1883. The commission was created to administer the civil service of the United States federal government. The law required federal government employees to be selected through competitive exams and basis of merit; it also prevented elected officials and political appointees from firing civil servants, removing civil servants from the influences of political patronage and partisan behavior. However, the law did not apply to state and municipal governments.
Effective January 1, 1978, the commission was renamed the Office of Personnel Management under the provisions of Reorganization Plan No. 2 of 1978 (43 F.R. 36037, 92 Stat. 3783) and the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978.
The United States Civil service exams have since been abolished for many positions, since statistics show that they do not accurately allow hiring of minorities according to the affirmative action guidelines.
This act abolished the United States Civil Service Commission and created the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) and the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB). OPM primarily provides management guidance to the various agencies of the executive branch and issues regulations that control federal human resources. FLRA oversees the rights of federal employees to form collective bargaining units (unions) and to engage in collective bargaining with agencies. MSPB conducts studies of the federal civil service and mainly hears the appeals of federal employees who are disciplined or otherwise separated from their positions. This act was an effort to replace incompetent officials.
President Donald Trump signed three executive orders designed to enforce merit-system principles in the civil service and intended to improve efficiency, transparency, and accountability in the federal government. U.S. District Court Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson struck down the majority of Trump's executive orders, ruling they were a violation of federal law.
The excepted service is the part of the United States federal civil service that is not part of either the competitive service or the Senior Executive Service. It provides streamlined hiring processes to be used under certain circumstances.Government employees in the United States
Government employees in the United States includes the United States federal civil service, employees of the state governments of the United States, and employees of local government in the United States.
Government employees are not necessarily the same as civil servants, as some jurisdictions specifically define which employees are civil servants; for example, it often excludes military employees.The federal government is the nation's single largest employer, although it employs only about 12% of all government employees, compared to 24% at the state level and 63% at the local level.H. R. Crawford
Hazle Reid "H. R." Crawford (January 18, 1939 – February 10, 2017) was a real estate developer and former Democratic politician in Washington, D.C..List of Vassar College people
This is a partial list of notable faculty and alumni of Vassar College.Lois Lerner
Lois Gail Lerner (born October 12, 1950) is an American attorney and former United States federal civil service employee. Lerner became director of the Exempt Organizations Unit of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in 2005, and subsequently became the central figure in the 2013 IRS targeting controversy in the targeting of conservative groups, either denying them tax-exempt status outright or delaying that status until they could no longer take effective part in the 2012 election. conservative groups were scrutinized. Only three groups - all branches of the Democratic group Emerge America - had tax exemptions revoked. Lerner resigned over the controversy. The Obama Administration attempted to clear itself of wrongdoing in a 2015 investigation that claimed to find "substantial evidence of mismanagement, poor judgment and institutional inertia" but "no evidence that any IRS official acted based on political, discriminatory, corrupt, or other inappropriate motives that would support a criminal prosecution."Lot Dean Lockwood
Lot Dean Lockwood (L. D. Lockwood, February 20, 1879 – September 26, 1960) was an American businessman, attorney-at-law, educator, Philippine Government Official and Republican Delegate for the Philippines.
Born in Brownsville, California, L. D. Lockwood studied at local California schools ultimately studying law at Stanford University. He was a member of the Bar associations of the Philippines and California, as well as a member of the Bar of the Supreme Court of the United States. In 1903 he was commission by the United States Federal Civil Service to serve as an educator in the Philippines. While in the Philippines, he became a supervisor for the public school system and held several governmental positions including treasurer and district auditor of several provinces. In 1926 he developed a well-known law practice in the Philippines becoming widely known as Judge Lockwood and as prominent member of the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines. He started and lead several businesses including the Pampanga Bus Company, Inc, the Northern Luzon Transportation Company, Inc., and the Motor Service Company, Inc. Lot Dean Lockwood represented the Philippines as a delegate to the Republican National Convention in Kansas City in 1928 (Convention Vice President) and again in Philadelphia in 1940. Lockwood worked with US Government officials to help the Philippines develop legal and financial independence which involved him working personally with Dwight D. Eisenhower. Lockwood chronicled the history of law in the Philippines during and after World War II Japanese occupation of the Philippines in a 1950 Stanford Law Review article entitled "The Philippine Supreme Court and Postwar Problems of International Law"Lockwood nearly died in the Agusan River while traveling between provinces as district auditor. Lockwood was married to Goldie Elizabeth Donham, who died not long after childbirth in Manila due to preeclampsia. His only daughter, Martha Elizabeth Lockwood-Laederich, survived. Lockwood remarried the socialite Bertha Gardner of San Francisco.Mary F. Hoyt
Mary Francis Hoyt (also Mary Francis Moses; June 17, 1858 – October 19, 1958), a Vassar College graduate, was the first woman to receive a position in the United States federal civil service which was followed by hundreds of thousands of women filling these government positions. She was a centenarian.Salt Wells Pilot Plant
The Salt Wells Pilot Plant was a facility established by the Manhattan Project at the Naval Ordnance Test Station (NOTS) at Inyokern, California, where non-nuclear explosive components of nuclear weapons were manufactured. The first explosives were melted, mixed and poured on 25 July 1945. Between 1945 and 1954, it manufactured explosive components of the Fat Man, Mark 4, Mark 5 and Mark 12 nuclear bombs. The Salt Wells Pilot Plant also helped design, equip, and train workers for the Burlington AEC Plant in Iowa and the Pantex Plant in Texas. The Salt Wells Pilot Plant closed on 30 June 1954.Title 42 appointment
A Title 42 appointment is an excepted service employment category in the United States federal civil service. It allows scientists and special consultants to be hired as part of the Public Health Service or Environmental Protection Agency under a streamlined process "without regard to the civil-service laws". Courts have ruled that, although Title 42 appointments are exempt from hiring and compensation provisions of civil service laws, they are still entitled to protections relating to termination, including appeals to the Merit Systems Protection Board.
Title 42 hiring authority was first enacted in 1944 as part of the Public Health Service Act, and was extended to the Environmental Protection Agency on a limited basis in 2005. It is named after Title 42 of the United States Code, which contains its legal basis, and is contrasted with Title 5 employees which are normal civil service appointments.Women Airforce Service Pilots
The Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP), (also Women's Army Service Pilots or Women's Auxiliary Service Pilots) was a civilian women pilots' organization, whose members were United States federal civil service employees. Members of WASP became trained pilots who tested aircraft, ferried aircraft and trained other pilots. Their purpose was to free male pilots for combat roles during World War II. Despite various members of the armed forces being involved in the creation of the program, the WASP and its members had no military standing.
WASP was preceded by the Women's Flying Training Detachment (WFTD) and the Women's Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron (WAFS). Both were organized separately in September 1942. They were pioneering organizations of civilian women pilots, who were attached to the United States Army Air Forces to fly military aircraft during World War II. On August 5, 1943, the WFTD and WAFS merged to create the WASP organization.
The WASP arrangement with the US Army Air Forces ended on December 20, 1944. During its period of operation, each member's service had freed a male pilot for military combat or other duties. They flew over 60 million miles; transported every type of military aircraft; towed targets for live anti-aircraft gun practice; simulated strafing missions and transported cargo. Thirty-eight WASP members lost their lives and one disappeared while on a ferry mission, her fate still unknown as of 2018. In 1977, for their World War II service, the members were granted veteran status, and in 2009 awarded the Congressional Gold Medal.
|Hiring Authority||Service type||Number||Description|
|Competitive Examining||Competitive||44,612||Vacancies open to the public and posted on USAJobs. Applicants ranked and selections made by category rating. Veterans’ preference applies|
|Department of Veterans Affairs, Title 38||Excepted||30,240||Exclusively for Veterans Affairs to hire certain medical occupations.|
|Schedule A: Agency-specific Authority||Excepted||11,220||Allows agencies to meet a hiring need that has not been remedied by using competitive examining, with justification and OPM approval.|
|Defense National Guard Technician||Excepted||11,143||Unique non-Title 5 hiring authority used strictly for appointment of National Guard technicians. Appointees maintain a dual status as both a federal employee and state national guard member.|
|Veterans Employment Opportunities Act||Competitive||11,011||Allows eligible veterans to apply for positions announced under merit promotion procedures when an agency accepts applications from outside its own workforce.|
|Other law, executive order, or regulation||Both||10,745||Authorities granted by law, executive order, or regulation for which no specific OPM-designated hiring authority code exists.|
|Pathways Internship||Excepted||8,862||Targets students at qualifying educational institutions. Interns eligible to be noncompetitively converted to competitive service under specified conditions.|
|Temporary Appointment, based on prior temporary federal service||Competitive||8,344||Allows agencies to noncompetitively reappoint former temporary employees (who have not already served the maximum time allowed) and noncompetitively appoint others eligible for certain career conditional appointments.|
|Veterans Recruitment Appointment||Excepted||7,733||Allows agencies to appoint eligible veterans up to the GS-11 or equivalent level without regard to competitive examining procedures. Appointees are converted to competitive service appointments after 2 years of satisfactory service.|
|Alternative Personnel System, Department of Agriculture||Competitive||6,630||Provides hiring flexibility exclusively to the Forest Service and the Agricultural Research Service.|
|Transportation Security Administration||Excepted||4,540||Provides hiring flexibility exclusively to the Transportation Security Administration.|
|Government-wide Direct Hire Authority||Competitive||4,449||Allows agencies to fill positions OPM has determined have a severe candidate shortage or a critical hiring need. Public notice is required but not the application of veterans’ preference or applicant rating and ranking.|
|Reinstatement||Competitive||3,624||Allows former eligible federal employees to reenter the competitive service without competing with the public.|
|Pathways Recent Graduates||Excepted||2,845||Targets individuals who have recently received a degree or certificate from a qualifying institution. After completion, eligible for non-competitive conversions to competitive service under specified conditions.|
|Federal Aviation Administration||Excepted||2,676||Provides hiring flexibility exclusively to the Federal Aviation Administration.|
|Schedule A: Severe Physical Disabilities||Excepted||2,204||Allows agencies to appoint persons with severe physicaldisabilities. Allows for non-competitive conversion to competitive service after 2 years of satisfactory service.|
|Department of Defense Expedited Hiring Authority||Competitive||2,080||Allows DOD to hire qualified candidates for certain acquisition and health care occupations using direct-hire procedures where DOD has determined a shortage of candidates or critical hiring needs.|
|Demonstration Project, Defense Lab||Both||2,032||Allows DOD to hire science and technology personnel at Research Labs with modification or waiver of some Title 5 provisions.|
|Schedule A: Temporary, less-than-full time positions, critical need||Excepted||1,688||Allows managers to meet a short-term critical hiring need to fulfill the mission of an agency for up to 30-days with one 30-day extension.|
|Schedule A, Attorneys||Excepted||1,627||Enables agencies to hire attorneys because OPM cannot develop qualification standards or examine for attorney positions by law.|
|Health/Human Services (HHS)||87||4|
|Housing/Urban Dev (HUD)||8||3|
|Selected independent agencies||173||41|
|Social Security Administration||64||0.2|
|Environmental Protection Agency||16||4|
|Securities and Exchange Commission||5||3|
|General Services Administration||12||4|
|Small Business Administration||4||0.8|
|Office of Personnel Management||5||2|