Salary and Benefits for IOIs

Salary and Compensation

ATF Industry Operations Investigators (IOIs) use the General Schedule (GS) pay scale for criminal investigators in the 1801 job series. The Office of Personnel Management regularly reviews job requirements along with salaries and updates the GS scale on an annual basis. All qualified applicants must meet the basic job requirements of a GS grade 5 Industry Operations Investigator to be eligible for hiring.

Base Salary Range

Based on their qualifications, newly hired IOIs start anywhere between GS grade 5, step 1 and GS grade 9, step 10.

In 2021, this includes a base salary range of $30,414 to $59,907 before locality pay. OPM updates its pay scales each year to reflect cost of living increases.

Locality Pay

All ATF duty stations qualify for locality pay. Employees receive an additional percentage of their base salary (16% to 41%) depending on their location.

Foreign Language Award Program

ATF’s Foreign Language Award Program offers cash awards to qualified employees who speak one or more foreign languages and make substantial use of them when performing their official duties.

Promotion Potential

Over the course of their career, IOIs may be promoted up to GS grade 13. In 2021, this includes a base salary of $79,468 to $103,309 before locality pay. Promotions are performance-based and must receive supervisory approval.


Annual and Sick Leave

Annual leave (or vacation time) is earned at the rate of 13 to 26 days per year, based on length of federal service. Employees can save up a maximum of 240 hours of annual leave.

Sick leave is earned at the rate of 13 days per year, and it does not include a maximum limit.

All federal holidays are paid days off. Employees who have to work during federal holidays receive premium pay.

Health and Life Insurance

ATF employees are able to choose from a variety of low cost health insurance plans through the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program. This includes a wide range of vision and dental insurance plans are available to employees through the Federal Employees Dental/Vision Program (FEDVIP).

New employees are automatically enrolled in Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance (FEGLI), and can choose to waive or increase their life insurance coverage.

Physical Fitness

ATF is committed to supporting the health, physical fitness and well-being of its employees through the Health Improvement Program (HIP). Employees can take up to 3 hours per week as excused absence from work for regular workouts, fitness classes and other exercise activities. Employees stationed at ATF Headquarters can also take advantage of the building’s state-of-the-art fitness center.

Mental, Physical and Emotional Wellness

ATF is aware of the potential stresses that may impact employees at work and at home. All employees and their household members have access to first-class, comprehensive Employee Assistance Program (EAP) services through Business Health Services (BHS). These services are free, confidential and available 24/7, including counseling and problem resolution sessions, childcare/eldercare referrals, and other work-life services.


IOIs are eligible to receive retirement benefits once they meet the minimum retirement age set by OPM or after they complete 20 years of federal service.

All new federal employees are automatically enrolled in the Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS). This three-tiered retirement plan combines federal retirement, disability and survivor benefits with Social Security benefits and a tax-deferred Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), similar to a 401(k) plan.


Last Reviewed January 15, 2021