Some agencies, especially in the homeland security, law enforcement, defense and intelligence fields, offer enhanced foreign language pay to employees.

Employees are eligible for foreign language pay if certified as fluent in certain foreign languages and are in positions where foreign language proficiency is considered an important skill.

The government’s largest program of this kind is the Defense Department’s “foreign language proficiency pay” program, which pays up to $500 per pay period for eligible DoD civilian employees performing intelligence duties and up to 5 percent of salary for civilians assigned to non-intelligence duties requiring language proficiency.

Terms of such programs at other agencies vary and often are set by labor contracts in unionized workplaces.