Click here to skip navigation
This website uses features which update page content based on user actions. If you are using assistive technology to view web content, please ensure your settings allow for the page content to update after initial load (this is sometimes called "forms mode"). Additionally, if you are using assistive technology and would like to be notified of items via alert boxes, please follow this link to enable alert boxes for your session profile. Home  |  Subject Index  |  Important Links  |  Contact Us  |  Help

U.S. Office of Personnel Management - Recruiting, Retaining and Honoring a World-Class Workforce to Serve the American People

This page can be found on the web at the following url:

Special Rates

Special Rate Requests

OPM Authority

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.

Additional information on establishing and adjusting special rates is contained in OPM regulations at 5 CFR 530.304.

Agency Headquarters Approval

Special rate requests must include the information required by OPM's Worksheet for Special Rate Requests, Form 1397PDF file. The requests must come to OPM through agency headquarters.


5 U.S.C 5305 and 5 CFR part 530, subpart C