Congressional staff plays a key role in the federal government. Their everyday work is very important to the proper operation of legislation and oversight of executive branch sections. In this article, we will see the average salary of a congressional staffer and what affects the salaries. We’ll study how salaries are determined by education and experience, and what can be done to increase the salary. Finally, we’ll talk about some of the ethical and political thoughts around congressional salaries.
Salaries For Congressional Staffer
The salary range of a congressional staffer starts from $20,000 and reaches up to $200,000. The average salary level is $100,000 per year. The salary of a congressional staffer varies on a few factors like location, qualification, position, age, experience, etc. Congressional staffers of the house usually get more pay than staffers of the senate. Sometimes some staffers are sent outside town to other congressional offices which gets them extra pay.
Salary range according to level:
There are three main levels of congressional staffers. The lowest level is for legislative workers, the medium level is for administrative workers, and the highest level considered is for executive officers.
- Legislative: Employees who do all the legislative work receive a payment of $20,000 to $80,000 per year. The average salary at this level is $50,000.
- Administrative: Employees responsible for administrative duties get paid $50,000 to $150,000 per year making the average salary of $100,000 per year.
- Executive: Executives can receive a salary of $100,000 up to $200,000 per year earning an average of $150,000 per year.
At each level, there are normal staff workers, interns, and deputies/chiefs. Deputies/chiefs receive the highest salary whereas interns get the lowest of all.
Description of salary rate:
A congressional staffer works more than a normal office worker. On average they work at least 10 hours a day, five days a week, and this number usually increases depending on the work schedule.
The minimum salary rate of $20,000 gives an hourly wage rate of $8.33, a daily wage rate of $83.33, a weekly wage rate of $416.66, and a monthly wage rate of $1666.66. The average rate of $100,000 per year gives an hourly wage rate of $41.66, a daily wage rate of $416.66, a weekly wage rate of $2.083, and a monthly wage rate of $8333.33. At the highest salary level of $200,000, we get an hourly wage rate of $83.33, a daily wage rate of $833.33, a weekly wage rate of $4166.66, and a monthly wage rate of $16666.66.
Bonuses and benefits a congressional staffer gets:
Congressional staffers stereotypically collect benefits such as–
- Health insurance: Congressional staff workers get health insurance coverage through the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) program. This health insurance covers approximately 95 percent of a staff worker’s healthcare costs at a wide variety of doctors, clinics, hospitals, and other healthcare providers.
- Paid leave: Congressional staff workers usually receive a minimum of 10 days of paid vacation, 10 days of paid sick leave, and 10 days of paid personal leave each year.
- Retirement plans: Congressional staff workers are eligible to participate in the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS). FERS provides benefits that include a basic annuity upon retirement, Social Security benefits, and a Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) which includes matching contributions from the employer.
- Pension plans: Congressional staff workers are eligible for retirement benefits through the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS). FERS is a three-tier retirement plan with benefits for both retirees and survivors. Eligible employees contribute to Social Security and the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP). The TSP matches employee contributions up to 5% of basic pay, and the FERS annuity provides a monthly benefit that is calculated using the employee’s length of service, age, and career-average high-three pay.
- Pay raises: There is no pay raise system for congressional staffers yet, but the proposal is supposed to be passed, and a pay raise of 4.7% per year is supposed to be issued.
- Locality pay: Congressional staffers get locality pay accordingly. The rate of locality pay is supposed to increase by 4% on a yearly basis from 2024.
- Bonuses for years of service: There are no bonuses for years of service for working as a congressional staffer.
- Free or discounted public transportation: Some transportation companies offer discounted prices to employees of Congress. Why they do that, is because probably they want to make a good relationship with federal workers.
Factors deciding the salary level:
- Position: The most important factor in determining the salary of a congressional staffer is the type of position held. Generally, higher-level positions (such as Chief of Staff or Press Secretary) command the highest salaries, while entry-level or lower positions (e.g. legislative assistants) tend to pay less.
- Education and Experience: Congressional staffers with higher levels of education and previous experience in related fields tend to command higher salaries.
- Location: Salaries tend to vary depending on the geographic location of the congressional office. Generally, staffers located in more populous and expensive cities (e.g. Washington, DC) tend to be paid higher salaries than those located in other areas of the country.
- Party: There can be differences in salaries between staffers of different political parties. This is especially true of the most senior positions, where those in the majority party (the controlling party in the majority caucus within the body of Congress) can be paid higher salaries.
- Seniority: Ultimately, the accumulation of experience and years of service within a congressional office can have an effect on the salary of a congressional staffer. Generally, the longer a staffer stays with a particular congressional office, the higher their salary may eventually become.
Things a congressional staffer can do to increase his salary:
- Applying for a promotion, either in the same position or in a new role. To apply for a promotion staffers should visit the Office of Personnel Management website and search for the “Promotion Opportunities” link. Here, applicants will be able to view open districts and positions in their congressional office that have been advertised for promotion, and then they can apply.
- Networking and building relationships with senior congressional leaders and other political professionals. This may open up opportunities for advancement. Such people with their political powers can easily make a big change.
- Continuing their education: by procuring an advanced degree or taking specialized training courses related to their current field. Getting more educated is the best thing to do because the person won’t have to be reliant on others’ support. Simply getting educated, and getting a job at a higher position. As an example, an intern getting the position of deputy can easily quadruple the salary.
- Seeking out casual access work or other professional opportunities outside of their regular job. A lot of staffers use their congressional working experience to provide consulting services earning them spare cash.
- Looking for aspirants who wish to work as a congressional staffer someday. Helping them in exchange for a sum of money can be beneficial for all.
Now We’ve learnt about ‘Salaries For Congressional Staffer’, In conclusion, it can vary greatly depending on the individual’s level of experience, job role, and responsibilities. Generally, salaries for congressional staffers array from the mid-20,000 to the mid-200,000s. A congressional staffer is responsible for providing staff support to a Member of the United States Congress. This may include a variety of tasks such as enlisting, introducing, and tracking bills, developing policy proposals and researching issues, and briefing the Member on important matters. Additionally, most congressional offices offer extra profits that should also be taken into contemplation.