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Pay, Benefits and Flexibilities

Alix Rodowa wears safety glasses and gloves in the lab as she reaches for a container of clear liquid on top of a piece of scientific equipment.
Credit: R. Wilson/NIST

Many other federal agencies classify employees using the General Schedule (GS) system. At NIST, most employees are covered under the Alternative Personnel Management System (APMS) – a pay-for-performance system. 

NIST positions are classified according to career path and pay band

Career paths (also referred to as pay plans) are categories of jobs grouped by similarities in work, qualification requirements, pay ranges and career progression. Pay bands are generally based on experience and correspond with GS levels. 


Under the APMS, most employees receive performance-related pay increases and bonuses as a part of the annual performance review process. 

Additionally, APMS employees have their pay adjusted accordingly with annual cost-of-living raises, if approved by the president for other government employees. 

Wage Grade Pay 

Wage Grade employees under the Federal Wage System may advance if their performance is satisfactory. Employees under a regular wage schedule may advance to:

  • Rate 2 after 26 weeks at Rate 1
  • Rate 3 after 78 weeks at Rate 2
  • Rates 4 and 5 after 104 weeks at the next lower rate

Wage Grade pay schedules vary based on the role and locality. 

Senior Executive Pay 

Pay increases for Senior Executive Service and Senior Level and Scientific and Professional employees result from performance pay adjustments.

Federal Benefits

Federal employees are offered a generous benefits package. More information about benefits can be found at the links below. 

Leave Programs

The leave (time off) options available at NIST are comparable to those offered government-wide as outlined by OPM, such as, but not limited to:

Created August 31, 2017, Updated June 5, 2024