The General Schedule (GS) is a classification and pay system that covers the majority of white collar personnel in the Federal civil service. The GS is broken down into 15 grades, with 10 steps in each grade. Employees generally progress through the system by receiving within-grade increases from one step of the grade of the employee’s position to the next higher step of that grade. Waiting periods determine when an increase is awarded. An employee can also progress through the system with promotions to a higher grade or by receiving Quality Step Increases.