Thread: GS0081 Pay

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    Default GS0081 Pay

    I am highly confused with the pay...I know certain localities get different pays, and your step gets you a different pay. What is the ballpark starting pay and top pay for the following certs:

    FF1
    FF2
    Hazmat Ops
    Driver Operator(Fire Apparatus Engineer)
    Technical Rescue Awareness
    IS 300/700
    NREMT-B

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    All depends on what you get hired as-

    GS-04 trainee?
    GS-05 Firefighter? What Step? How many years experience?
    GS-06 Driver Operator??? What step? How many years experience?
    GS-07 Lead FF?

    One thing you have to remember about Federal Firefighters pay computation- you need a degrees in algebra and economics to understand how they compute your pay. For example, you are not making the same amount of money that a GS-05 Secretary may be making, you are getting that base pay, plus hazardous duty, locality adjustments, overtimes (72 hrs!) all of this adds up to what we used to call "Chinese Overtime." We called it that because no one truly understood it.

    And also remember that for your 24 hr shift you are not making the same hourly rates- the first 8 hours are called "scheduled work time." You make your full rate. The second 8 hours are called "stand-by" time, and you may make 70% of the hourly rate (forgive me I can't remember the percentages.) And finally the last 8 hours are called "scheduled sleep time." You are lucky if you break 45% of the hourly base rate.

    For more information, contact the IAFF's 16th Dist office- they used to have a breakdown showing how pay is calculated.
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    Going back and re-reading your question again, I would have to say with those qualifications you could get picked up as a GS-05 FF, and advance to a 6 within one year of your hire date. It's been a few years for me since I got out, but if I remember right, a GS-06 could bring you 46-49K per year.

    I went out as a GS-07 step 4 driver operator, and was grossing $58K I think.
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    Thanks for the reply, I have heard that it can be quite confusing.

    If hired, how in the world would I know what my pay would be? I would be transfering from another government agency to the Department of the Navy. I am not sure how much a pay cut if any I would take?
    Last edited by Extinguisher911; 06-13-2008 at 12:33 AM.

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    You need to contact the regional CPOC (civilian personnel operations center) for your area, or perhaps human resources at the post where you are applying and speak to a payroll specialist. When you call, remember to ask someone who knows the specifics of GS0081 pay!!!
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    I think FWD would agree with me when I tell you this:

    DO NOT WORK FOR THE NAVY!!! (at least on the East coast)
    A Fire Chief has ONLY 1 JOB and that's to take care of his fireman. EVERYTHING else falls under this.

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    Ok, if you dont have your ARFF cert and depending on the base (like a NAS) you might be stuck as a 5 untill you get your ARFF. Where im at if you dont have your drivers certs youll be stuck as a 5 untill you at least get those.

    But if you go the dodfire.com and look under the firefighter pay youll get a better idea about the pay.

    Other then that im not much help, each base is diffrent when it comes to stuff like that.

    Best advice, get all the IFSAC certs you can to make your self more marketable to the DoD.

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    I was just looking for a ballpark number, I realize each area is different. I am also trying to figure what is added to the base pay.

    With the US Postal Service, there is a base pay. Added to that is night pay, Sunday pay, overtime pay, and working outside your normal schedule pay. I make a couple grand above my base pay each year.

    So believe me I can understand the confusion, just trying to get a better hand on it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by shortimer52 View Post
    Ok, if you dont have your ARFF cert and depending on the base (like a NAS) you might be stuck as a 5 untill you get your ARFF. Where im at if you dont have your drivers certs youll be stuck as a 5 untill you at least get those.

    Not a NAS location, don't believe I need ARFF cert.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Extinguisher911 View Post
    I was just looking for a ballpark number, I realize each area is different. I am also trying to figure what is added to the base pay.

    With the US Postal Service, there is a base pay. Added to that is night pay, Sunday pay, overtime pay, and working outside your normal schedule pay. I make a couple grand above my base pay each year.

    So believe me I can understand the confusion, just trying to get a better hand on it.

    The Federal Firefighters' pay was re-organized back in 1999. There is no more holiday pay, hazard pay, ect.... There is 144 hrs in a pay period (72 hr work weeks). It is structured after 53 hrs straight pay a week. The next 19 hrs is time and half. So you get 38 hrs of time and half structured into your regular pay per pay period. There is also locality pay calculated in there also. Depending where you work in the nation, dictates how much. Every year there is a pay raise/increase w/ locality. Usually a 2-3% increase.

    When you look at an announcement for a firefighter position. The pay they show is just the base pay w/ locality w/o the time and half. You can add another 10K on top of the announcement advertised pay.

    There was also a change in position/rank/grade w/ the 0081 series re-write a few years back. Meaning, majority of federal fire departments now are EMT's, Paramedics, Hazmat Ops or Techs, Rescue, ect..... Was not recognized as a added part of the job way back when. So the 0081 series was re-written to add those to our job description (depending on the dept on what they do) and just about everyone got a grade increase. So a Engineer spot(Driver Operator) w/ a EMT and/or Hazmat Ops went from a GS/06 to a GS/07. Paramedics and hazmat Tech's went to a GS/08 (some are GS/09's as medics).

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    Thanks that makes much more sense...

    Basically I have to wait now to find out where they want to start me (grade/step). Should I get hired that is....

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    Quote Originally Posted by engineer2000 View Post
    There is 144 hrs in a pay period (72 hr work weeks). It is structured after 53 hrs straight pay a week. The next 19 hrs is time and half. So you get 38 hrs of time and half structured into your regular pay per pay period.
    Dont forget to tell him how we (well, I used to, how you guys currently) get boned up the sphincter by personnel- since the extra 38 hours are classified as "overtime", it does NOT count towards your retirement calculation. (Even though your workweek is mandatory 144 hrs.) Another one of the reasons I jumped ship!

    (Ps- dont get me wrong, I wouldnt be where I am now without having been a Federal FF for 10 years....But I just had to get out for 2 reasons- my own sanity and that of my young family. I would never tell a young man not to take a federal FF job, but if you have a family, you really need to think very, very hard before you sign that Form 50 on the dotted line.)
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    Quote Originally Posted by engineer2000 View Post
    The Federal Firefighters' pay was re-organized back in 1999.
    God, how I remember sitting in the rec room of the Aberdeen Proving Ground Fire Dept, watching C-SPAN for hours, watching the debates and then finally the vote on the bill.....LOL
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    Default GS-0081 pay

    Ask a simple question and get ten, "this is what I think" answers. Anthony Fanchi, (this can be downloaded at www.dodfire.com) developed a great Excel spread sheet that spells it out. all you need to know is your locality area. For the NYC area its.
    GS-4 step 1- $44,970.12
    GS-5 step 1- $50,310.00
    GS-6 step 1- $56,073.68

    That is the grand total each year for working 72 hours per week. They is no holiday, night or weekend pay. you get the same as any other GS employee for the first 53 hours weekly or 106 hours per two week pay period. You then get more hours counted as regular pay (this counts towards retirement) and then time and a half overtime in tour. You will be required to work 8 hours then get 16 hours on standby. Depending on where you work you may have "down days" on weekends and holidays. After 20 years and age 50 you can retire or at 25 years any age you can retire.

    I don't know of many other jobs in America, where a guy with a GED and some certifications can get a job that starts that high. If your willing to move you can go far, I started as a GS-4 and just ended at GS-13.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FWDbuff View Post
    (Ps- dont get me wrong, I wouldnt be where I am now without having been a Federal FF for 10 years....But I just had to get out for 2 reasons- my own sanity and that of my young family. I would never tell a young man not to take a federal FF job, but if you have a family, you really need to think very, very hard before you sign that Form 50 on the dotted line.)
    What do you mean the time does not count toward retirement?

    I have a young family, so explain what you mean about thinking hard before signing.

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    An 0081 Firefighter's workweek is 72 hours, x2 per pay period, =144 hours.

    However, for purposes of payroll calculation (earlier I mentioned "Chinese Overtime) everything beyond a certain number is classified as time and a half overtime, even though it is our regularly scheduled shift time. Engineer2000 explained it in his previous post, although the numbers were different when I was in, or at least I thought they were.

    One of the ways that the DoD "got revenge" on us, because they were ****ed off that they had to pay us a lot more money after 1999, was that they determined that since the extra time was classified as "overtime" (again, mind you it's our regular scheduled and worked shift, but for purposes of payroll calculation, it is called time and a half overtime) they figured out that they could get away with calculating retirement pay based on straight time only. In other words, they will NOT calculate your retirement using total hours worked (earned salary.) I recently heard a rumor that the IAFF 16th District is trying to get a bill sponsored in Washington to change this. I am sure the DoD cowboys will circle the wagons and fight this to the end. Would me a massive amount of money they would have to pay out in retirement.

    As for your family, see the thread regarding the shift schedules. Not a bad gig for a single young man. But when you have a family with children, 24/24 gets tough, especially if your spouse works a full time job. The 24 hour shift isnt so bad, but 24/24 sucks!

    I worked with senior guys who all had 15, 20 or 30 years on the job. Back when they came on, the cost of living was MUCH lower than today. Wives didnt have to work, and could stay home with the children. But today, with things the way they are, cost of living is much higher; wives often have to work a full time job, and many DoD FF's also work a PT gig. I know that towards the end of my career, when my 2 sons were 2 and 1, I was either on shift when they went to bed at night, and I was not there when they woke up in the morning (left the house by 0500.) My wife was a nurse working full time. She had to tailor her schedule around mine, which became a monumental pain in the *** after a while.

    Then you have the problem of vacations. Not a situation unique to the Federal Fire Service, but a problem still the same. In one Dept I was assigned to, your vacation selection was based on your in-house seniority, NOT your SCD (service comp date, or your date of hire.) It took me about 4 years in this one department (of about 50 uniformed FF's) to be able to get a week straight off without having to work shift exchanges to do it. Dont get me wrong, I have all the respect in the world for the senior guys who were there before me, but I work just as hard as them, and deserve a vacation and time off with my family just as much as they do. For a long time, when I got the vacation book, all I could do was select random days off here and there, never anything amounting to a week or two off in a row- occasionally I could tack a day or two onto a 3 or 4 day break, if I was lucky enough that none of the senior guys assigned to the same work group as me didnt already take those days before me. Just another caveat of working a Fed FF job.

    Another problem (and this was just an idiosynchrosy of the work group I was assigned to) was that it seemed like my work group got hammered to work each and every single major holiday- Easter, Memorial Day, the 4th, labor day, Thanksgiving, X-Mas.....It was just the mathematics of working the "6" group I guess. But it got tiring after a while for my wife having to tell family members (especially ones who dont understand why I had to work major holidays) "Oh he got stuck working again."

    On top of everything else, since I worked 2 jobs to make ends meet, I never got to see anyone. So after 10 years, I jumped the Federal Firefighting ship and ended up in a life raft taking me to a beautiful tropical island of working monday through friday, with nights, weekends and holidays off!!!

    Like I said, I would never tell anyone NOT to take the job. But you really have to think hard before you do it. It's not like a city working 24/48, or even 24/72......Sometimes it just seems like as a Federal FF, you have NO life. Remember, if you get hammered for forced overtime, you could very well be stuck in your firehouse for 72 hours!!!!
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    And then theres the new pay scale.

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    Question

    I may be a little off base here with the thread, but here’s a question for you… How many bases out there go by in-house seniority for picking leave versus service comp date (SCD)? I have been in departments that do both. Why is this not standardized across the board? I agree with you FDWbuff that guys should be “rewarded” for their time on station. However, should those veterans among us not be rewarded for serving in the military? OPM allows us to “buy back” our time and counts military time for SCD. I guess it is a catch 22 at best.

    Extinguisher911, I can tell you for sure that your health insurance premiums will be going up. You Postal employees pay less than we do. I was told it is because you all have a better union. Check to see what union the base you are looking at has. AFGE is about as worthless as, well you know. There are those that will disagree, but they haven’t been able to do anything for the departments I worked for. They are good at collecting dues though. Just be sure that you know what you are getting into. Most federal departments are very unlike their civilian counterparts. There are always those exceptions, the larger bases and the non-DOD government departments that run calls. Best of luck!!

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    For all of you guys looking to go federal, go way to go. Thats how most of us got our start in the professional fire service.

    If you want to really get in on the progressive side, I would suggest California.

    Here is a link to see the apparatus here- http://www.angelfire.com/mi4/chucksfirepics/index.html

    Edit- The Los Alamitos and Ft. Irwin departments are NOT federal.
    Last edited by CALFFBOU; 06-15-2008 at 07:55 PM.

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    Regarding Los Alamitos JFTB Fire Department, if you want to work there, you have to become a volunteer firefighter. When I did there program they had about 20 volunteers. You do a 24 once a week. As a full time employee you will work the 48/96 schedule. Again, Los Al hires 100% from there volunteer program.

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    Mopandglow is right- when it comes to 0081 Firefighters, AFGE and NAGE are about as worthless as tits on a bull. The two IAFF locals that I was represented by, on the other hand, were MUCH better.

    How can you get fair representation from a union representing secretaries, snow plow drivers, electricians and lab scientists when you are a firefighter?
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    Default Gs-0081

    Also note that you should come in as high as you can since the 52 week in grade restricts upward movement.

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    Quote Originally Posted by davidlj1958 View Post
    Also note that you should come in as high as you can since the 52 week in grade restricts upward movement.
    So if hired as a Grade 6, I would have to wait 52 weeks to advance to a Grade 7?

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    The department is IAFF represented.

    I believe if offered, I will most likely take the job. As long as the family and I will not be placed in the poor house in doing so.

    I will have to look into transfering my Air Force and Postal time...and sick/annual leave I currently have on the books.

    I visited the department a little over a year ago, and I found out about the Health Care. I thought it was strange that another branch of the government paid more than another. I currently have Blue Cross/Blue Shield and the amount paid monthly is a big difference...

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    Anyone know what GS level this could get:
    FF1/2
    Airport FF
    HAZMAT Tech
    EMT-B?

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