The federal marshals' pay scale is based on three factors. A marshal's pay grade is determined by their relative level in their career as identified by their grade level, which also corresponds to the federal government's general schedule system. Within a grade level, the government has different pay steps that marshals progress through as they serve for longer and longer periods of time. Finally, the area in which the marshal is based also determines his pay.
Marshals enter the service at the GL-0082-07 level. As of 2013, the base pay for that GL-7 level is $38,511 per year. After one year, they are eligible for promotion to GL-0082-09, which carries a base salary of $42,498. After another year, marshals are eligible for promotion to a GS-11 level and to GS-12 after one more year after that. GS-11s start at $50,286 while GS-12s start at 60,274.
Each grade level or general schedule level has ten steps. As of 2013, going from step to step can result in an increase of $1,133 for a GL-7, $1,385 for a GL-9 or a larger increase for other grades. To qualify for a step increase, an employee must meet basic requirements for competence and must serve the required period of time. Advances between steps one and four can occur at a rate of one step per year, while increases from steps four through seven can occur every other year. Step increases between steps seven and 10 can happen every three years.
The federal government also adjusts the pay of marshals based on the area in which they serve. Serving in Dayton-Springfield-Greenville, Ohio carries a 16.24 percent pay bump. Marshals in Los Angeles, Long Beach and Riverside, California, get a 27.16 percent pay increase over the base. Those serving in a non-specific part of the country get a 14.16 percent increase. This means that a GS-12 step 3 marshal in non-specific Yuma, AZ, would earn $73,396 while one a few hundred miles away in Los Angeles makes $81,754.
Base pay is only a part of what marshals earn, though. They are also entitled to the government's three-part retirement system, which includes social security, a government pension and a tax-deferred Thrift Savings Plan. They also earn anywhere from 104 to 208 hours of leave per year, along with an additional 104 hours of sick leave. The government also offers both health and life insurance benefits.
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