DCSA Wage Determination

According to the U.S. Department of Labor , there are 4 levels of Investigators with each level having a minimum hourly pay rate requirement. According to the wage determination “Contracts subject to the Service Contract Act are generally required to pay at least the applicable minimum wage rate required under Executive Order 14026 or Executive Order 13658”.

With that said, can anyone explain to me and others who are curious and have questions about Level IV which is supposed to be paid, at a minimum, $41.33/hour? The reason I ask is because we were told that “if” we were getting an increase our managers would let us know. No one on my team has heard about any increase and many of us have been doing this work for over 10 years. The only difference I see between level III and Level IV is that Level IV mentions "The incumbent is normally assigned cases in which the subjects are known to have complex backgrounds, are controversial individuals or who are in the “public eye.”

What do they define as “Complex Backgrounds”? Many of our cases are complex so how is it none of us received an increase to the level IV pay rate?

What are your thoughts?

I am not an expert but my understanding is the cases that fall into the referenced definition (high profile, very complex, etc) are handled by DCSA investigators and not sent out to the contract investigators. If someone else knows differently feel free to correct me. (I don’t believe your definition of complex is the same as how they are using the word.)

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Thank you for responding. You could be right. I’m not sure either.

It’s always been my understanding that the level increases are for your ability to produce and has nothing to do with how complex the cases are that we are getting assigned. Prior to leaving CACI, I had been doing this job for about 18 years and I was stuck at a Level 2 investigator, making a lot less than my coworkers who had only been doing this job for a few years. And on top of that I was working very complex issue laden cases. So…I think they determine your level on your ability to produce. It still surprises me to this day how some investigators were able to get so much work done in a 40 hour work week, and have the numbers they produced. In an honest 40-hour week how is it possible to interview 25 people, including driving to their locations, typing those up, and doing the plethora of admin duties? I’m not saying people work off the clock, but in my humble opinion you would have to work off the clock to get some of the numbers I’ve seen investigator produce. This is precisely why I’ve always thought the Level/Pay system has always been unfair and I left CACI for better horizons.


I agree. The production requirements for a couple of these contractors are unrealistic unless your getting all T5/T5Rs and even then it’s tough to meet that high level 30 SUs/week with driving, tying, makings calls and all of the other “non-productive” tasks it takes to get your items transmitted. You can work hours on one item and could turn out to be “non-productive”work: wrong phone numbers, wrong addresses, unable to locate HR or with a Source having to make in person and still not be able to produce. You only get credit for what you transmit no matter how hard you worked. So yes, it’s hard to meet those numbers. I’ve heard many of those investigators are working off the clock. I’ve been hearing it for years.


I have no doubt they work off the clock. As a Level 2, I had to average 4.7 testimonies a day, and that certainly took a full day to do. So how in the heck are people saying they can average 6, 7, 8 testimonies a day and only work 8 hours. I say b.s. It all comes down to the love of money, and investigators were willing to work off the clock to get that higher pay, which screwed over us honest workers. Heck, even as a Level 2, there were times I had to work over 40 hours just to meet my numbers out of fear I would get in trouble, so the ones exceeding their numbers you have to wonder.


There’s no question Investigators work of the clock, as it doesnt take a genius to calculate that the math doesnt add up, as you just laid out. The contract industry is just mum on the subject and has a sort of unspoken understanding of this reality while pretending to not have any knowledge of what it takes to meet the numbers. Thank you for keeping it real though.

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Nobody can truthfully say that are Level 6 at Peraton that they can achieve the amount of source units per day without working 50-60 hours per week most weeks. It’s just not possible and anyone that says they can aren’t asking all of the required questions or the required meticulous and thorough note taking to corroborate their ROI.

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Back to the question about DCSA levels vs. the levels at CACI and Peraton, from my understanding the way around that is for the vendors to classify the investigators at a level 3 and have no investigators at a level 4. This is part of the contract between the vendor (CACI) and Paragon (SubK) that I don’t believe is available to the public. I thought Peraton was paying level 6 investigators at DCSA level 4 wages, but I could be wrong. Nothing that is based in fact; just a theory so far until there is a way to view the contract details.

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I was once at the airport to interview a TSA employee for their subject interview and another TSA employee approached me and said that she had recently had her subject interview and she was surprised it only took 15 minutes! So there you go, probably an investigator that makes the big bucks by cheating their way through this occupation.


Exactly. CACI is currently a defendant in a class action lawsuit over unpaid overtime due to investigators having no choice but to work off the clock just to meet their numbers.

Oh really!??? Was not aware…

Yup. The lawsuit was filed two years ago and I believe over 300 investigators signed up.

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I mean it’s rare, but I have definitely conducted a 15 minute TESI without skipping any steps before.

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how can you do that with all of the required PA and other prebrief requirements? My personal best in over two decades has been a 35 minute public trust ESI.


Opening advisements and closing questions only take around ten minutes combined. Then a quick “Hey McDonald’s says they have no record of you ever working there” and them responding with “That’s weird, because I did work there and have no idea why they would say otherwise” and we’re done.

It takes fifteen to twenty minutes just to get through questions from section 19 to the end and confirm responses even if every answer to these questions is “No”.

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Good thing I’m talking about TESIs where we don’t go over those sections without a flagging issue.

You don’t confirm responses from Section 19 to the end on a TESI? Really? Isn’t that policy and procedure?

With the implementation of IST when a TESI is done, we’re only discussing the issue for the TESI and addressing any obvious errors or inconsistencies.