B-117510, DECEMBER 16, 1953, 33 COMP. GEN. 271

B-117510: Dec 16, 1953

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1953: REFERENCE IS MADE TO THE LETTER OF OCTOBER 26. THE EMPLOYEE FINALLY WAS RESTORED TO GS-5. THE SPECIFIC QUESTION PRESENTED IS WHETHER THE DEPARTMENT HAS AUTHORITY UNDER THE LAW AND REGULATIONS TO GRANT A LONGEVITY INCREASE EFFECTIVE MARCH 15. EACH DEPARTMENT SHALL GRANT AN ADDITIONAL STEP INCREASE (TO BE KNOWN AS A LONGEVITY STEP-INCREASE) BEYOND THE MAXIMUM SCHEDULED RATE OF THE GRADE IN WHICH HIS POSITION IS PLACED. TO EACH OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE FOR EACH THREE YEARS IN WHICH HIS POSITION IS PLACED. (B) THE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE SHALL HAVE HAD. ARE MET. THE EMPLOYEE IN QUESTION WAS ENTITLED TO A LONGEVITY INCREASE AT THE BEGINNING OF THE NEXT PAY PERIOD AFTER MARCH 4.

B-117510, DECEMBER 16, 1953, 33 COMP. GEN. 271

COMPENSATION - LONGEVITY INCREASES UNDER CLASSIFICATION ACT OF 1949 THE THREE YEARS OF CONTINUOUS SERVICE AT THE MAXIMUM SCHEDULED RATE OF GRADE REQUIRED OF EMPLOYEES TO BE ELIGIBLE FOR A LONGEVITY STEP INCREASE UNDER SECTION 703 (A) AND (B) (6) OF THE CLASSIFICATION ACT OF 1949, NEED NOT BE THE LAST THREE YEARS IN THE TOP SALARY OF THE GRADE PROVIDED AN EMPLOYEE HAS SERVED AT THE MAXIMUM STEP OF THE GRADE AND HAS IN THE AGGREGATE NOT LESS THAN TEN YEARS SERVICE IN THE POSITION WHICH HE NOW OCCUPIES OR IN A POSITION OF EQUIVALENT OR HIGHER GRADE.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE, DECEMBER 16, 1953:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO THE LETTER OF OCTOBER 26, 1953, FROM THE ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT SECRETARY, REQUESTING DECISION WHETHER, UNDER THE FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES HEREINAFTER RELATED, A CERTAIN EMPLOYEE OF YOUR DEPARTMENT MAY BE GRANTED A LONGEVITY INCREASE.

IT APPEARS THAT UPON THE PASSAGE OF THE CLASSIFICATION ACT OF OCTOBER 30, 1949, THE EMPLOYEE HAD COMPLETED THREE YEARS OF CONTINUOUS SERVICE AT THE TOP SALARY RATE IN GS-5 BUT HAD NOT COMPLETED THE REQUIRED AGGREGATE PERIOD OF TEN YEARS OF SERVICE IN THE SAME OR IN AN EQUIVALENT OR HIGHER GRADE; AND THAT AFTER A NUMBER OF PROMOTIONS AND DEMOTIONS BECAUSE OF REDUCTIONS IN FORCE, THE EMPLOYEE FINALLY WAS RESTORED TO GS-5, MARCH 4, 1953, AT THE TOP STEP OF THAT GRADE, AT WHICH TIME THE EMPLOYEE HAD COMPLETED THE AGGREGATE TEN YEARS OF SERVICE REQUIRED. THE SPECIFIC QUESTION PRESENTED IS WHETHER THE DEPARTMENT HAS AUTHORITY UNDER THE LAW AND REGULATIONS TO GRANT A LONGEVITY INCREASE EFFECTIVE MARCH 15, 1953.

SECTION 703 (A) AND (B) (6) OF THE CLASSIFICATION ACT OF 1949, 63 STAT. 968 PROVIDES:

SEC. 703. (A) SUBJECT TO SUBSECTION (A), AND AS A REWARD FOR LONG AND FAITHFUL SERVICE, EACH DEPARTMENT SHALL GRANT AN ADDITIONAL STEP INCREASE (TO BE KNOWN AS A LONGEVITY STEP-INCREASE) BEYOND THE MAXIMUM SCHEDULED RATE OF THE GRADE IN WHICH HIS POSITION IS PLACED, TO EACH OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE FOR EACH THREE YEARS IN WHICH HIS POSITION IS PLACED, TO EACH OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE FOR EACH THREE YEARS OF CONTINUOUS SERVICE COMPLETED BY HIM AT SUCH MAXIMUM RATE OR AT A RATE IN EXCESS THEREOF AUTHORIZED BY THIS SECTION WITHOUT CHANGE OF GRADE OR RATE OF BASIC COMPENSATION EXCEPT SUCH CHANGE AS MAY BE PRESCRIBED BY ANY PROVISION OF LAW OF GENERAL APPLICATION.

(B) THE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE SHALL HAVE HAD, IN THE AGGREGATE, NOT LESS THAN TEN YEARS OF SERVICE IN THE POSITION WHICH HE THEN OCCUPIES, OR IN POSITIONS OF EQUIVALENT OR HIGHER CLASS OR GRADE.

I FIND NOTHING IN THE ABOVE ACT, OR IN THE APPLICABLE CIVIL SERVICE REGULATIONS--- Z1-316, SECTIONS 25.51 TO SECTIONS 25.54 INCLUSIVE--- REQUIRING THAT THE "THREE YEARS OF CONTINUOUS ERVICE" IN THE TOP SALARY RATE OF THE GRADE MUST BE THE LAST THREE YEARS OF THE TEN YEAR PERIOD. THEREFORE, SINCE THE EMPLOYEE HAD, ON MARCH 4, 1953, SERVED AT THE MAXIMUM STEP OF GRADE GS-5 FOR ,THREE YEARS OF CONTINUOUS SERVICE * * * WITHOUT CHANGE OF GRADE OR RATE OF BASIC COMPENSATION,"--- THUS DISTINGUISHING THIS CASE FROM THAT CONSIDERED IN 31 COMP. GEN. 525, REFERRED TO IN THE DEPARTMENT'S LETTER--- AND HAD "IN THE AGGREGATE, NOT LESS THAN TEN YEARS OF SERVICE IN THE POSITION WHICH HE THEN OCCUPIES, OR IN POSITIONS OF EQUIVALENT OR HIGHER CLASS OR GRADE," AND ASSUMING THE OTHER REQUIREMENTS OF THE STATUTE AS TO EFFICIENCY RATING, CONDUCT, ETC., ARE MET, THE EMPLOYEE IN QUESTION WAS ENTITLED TO A LONGEVITY INCREASE AT THE BEGINNING OF THE NEXT PAY PERIOD AFTER MARCH 4, 1953, NAMELY, MARCH 14, 1953.