General Schedule grade level increase process

Career Staff

Please see GSA Insite for the merit promotion process.

Excepted Service Staff

To be eligible for a promotion at 18F, you must have at least one year in the current grade (it is not possible to jump two General Schedule (GS) levels) and have received consistently high performance ratings (4 or 5).

Please note that your step level may reset to level 1 after the promotion. See the two-step promotion rule or this thread for details.


  1. Supervisor reviews the higher position description (PD) and provides a justification for the promotion showing how the employee is performing at the higher level
    a. The justification can be anywhere from 2-5 paragraphs and the content should align with the position description (PD Reference)
    b. Sample justifications
  2. Employee updates their resume to include their work at 18F
    a. Again, the content should align with the PD
    b. Make sure it’s written in plain language
    c. Keep the bureaucratic-style resume showing everything the employee has done and the start and stop dates (mm/yy) for each position
  3. Send the supervisor justification and updated resume via email to TTS Talent
  4. Justification will be reviewed and then Talent will forward to HR for qualification and approval within one week of receipt
  5. If HR approves (typically within one week), Talent will initiate a request for personnel action (RPA) in the HR system for pay and grade level changes, etc. Once submitted it can take up to two pay periods to take effect.

Please review the appropriate PD’s to help with the justification and resume updates. You can find your current PD by looking it up in your CHRIS account.

Under “Position,” look for something like the following: Innovation Specialist.GS19.00CX489.034.019454.C. In this example, your PD number is 00CX489.

Frequency of step increases

Steps 1-3: Annually
Steps 4-6: Every 2 years
Steps 7-9: Every 3 years

Step increases happen automatically. Your supervisor will get an email notification from Leila Knight about 60 days prior to the date you’re set to receive the within grade increase. An example email notification is below. It typically takes one or two pay periods for the step increase to appear. If you have any questions, please contact Leila Knight directly.


The following employee is eligible for a Within Grade Increase on the date indicated below. As a reminder, law, policy, and regulation state that a GS employee’s performance must be at an acceptable level of competence, level 3 (Fully Successful) under the Associate Performance Plan & Appraisal System (APPAS) before we may grant a within-grade increase to that employee. Employees with ratings of record below the Fully Successful level (Level 1 or Level 2) are not eligible for within-grade increases and must not receive such increases.

Org—-Full Name—-WGI Date—-PP-Ser-Gr—-Step

Please contact me immediately if you are planning to deny an employee’s increase. Employees are required to receive written notification of the denial at least 60 days prior to the within grade due date.

If we do not hear from you at least 60 days prior to the within grade due date, we will presume that you are agreeable to the increase.

Still have questions?

Contact: Leila Knight

  • Office: (202) 969-7079
  • Mobile: (202) 805-4922