If you work for the government here, odds are you report to the Defense establishment, D.C. government, Department of Health, Education and Welfare, the Commerce Department or, maybe, the CIA.

They are the major employers in the Washington area where the monthly federal payroll (excluding uniformed military personnel) now runs well over $600 million a month.

The Navy Department, for years the largest federal agency here, has been replaced as the primary provider of U.S. paychecks by HEW.

More people here now work for HEW than any other federal operation. The tilt came last fall when Navy's civilian federal employment here dropped to 35,400 while HEW moved up to 36,400.

The legislative branch of government - that is Congress, the Library of Congress, General Accounting Office and related agencies - has just over 36,000 workers with a monthly payroll of about $56 million.

Navy's civilian payroll here is over $60 million a month while HEW, which has more people, but at a lower average salary, now pumps more than $54 million a month into the local economy.

Army has 25,000 civilian employes, Commerce about 19,000 Treasury about 17,000 workers and Justice 15,000. No figures are available for the Central Intelligence Agency or the National Security Agency. But they rank up in the top levels of primary government employers here.

The D.C. government has an estimated 40,000 workers, but they include teachers, firemen and policemen because of the unique federal-state-city makeup of the District.

Postal 'Reform': House leaders have decided to halt further debate on H.R. 7700, the postal 'reform bill, until the first week in April. That is when Congress returns from its Easter recess.

AFL-CIO postal union leaders are pushing the bill. It would increase subsidies to the Postal Service, bar service (and job) cutbacks and, they believe, halt rapid rate increases. The bill was due for a vote last week. But debate was halted when it became clear that some amendments that union leaders oppose might pass.

One of them would end the federal monopoly on moving letter mail, and permit private carriers to handle what is now considered first-class material. Much lobbying back home this week, by the unions and private mail services, on the multimillion-dollar issue of reform and services.

HUGH SIEY, Washington bureau chief for Time will be the luncheon speaker at the Wednesday meeting of the National Association of Government Communicators at the Flagship restaurant. NAGC brass expects a sell-out for Sidey, so call 296-5772 for reservations.

First Class Air Travel: Veterans Administration says director Max Cleland has cut first-class employe air travel by 83 per cent. Cleland, a triple amputee who uses a wheelchair, generally travels tourist even though his VIP status and "handicap" would entitle him to first-class accommodations under government rules.

Using the term "handicapped" for Cleland is for descriptive purposes only. He gets around better than most people, frequently eats at Sholl's cafeteria near the VA and personally takes visiting friends and relatives on regular, grueling sightseeing trips to the Smithsoniana and other places. And speaking of the Smithsonian . . .

Memo To S. Dillon Ripley: Next rainy weekend, go down to your museum in disguise. Try to check a rain-coat, umbrella or package! To get the full impact, take along a couple of age relatives and some kids.

Last weekend the coatcheck "service" at the Smithsonian's popular History and Technology building seemed more like an exhibit that was out of order. Hundreds of rain-soaked tourists and locals were caught in bottlenecks at main entrances. They couldn't check coats and packages because the multimillion-dollar museum ran out of coat hangers and, employes said, tokens to operate the check-in lockers.

There were long, unhappy lines and some unlucky souls spent their entire visit waiting in the check-in line while families toured the musieum. Several bus loads of tourists left town mumbling that maybe the Smithsonian should allow tipping for coat checks, and rig the "free" but unused lockers so they wake coins rather than tokens when the latter aren't available."

Federally Employed Women: They will get a chance to talk about upward mobility plans Wednesday (7:3 P.M.) With Alan Campbell, chairman of the Civil Service Commission. Some women fear that new affirmative action programs being planned by CSC to bring women and minorities into government will block promotion chances of women already inside the bureaucracy.

Rep. Gladys N. Spellman (D-Md.) arranged the meeting between Campbell and local chapters of FEW. Call her office, 225-4131 for the Capitol Hill room number of the meeting.