B-125480, NOV. 10, 1955

B-125480: Nov 10, 1955

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EMPLOYEE "A" OCCUPIES A POSITION IN GRADE GS-8 AND IS RECEIVING A "SAVED" SALARY OF $5. IS INTENDED TO REFER TO ANY GRADE OF THE APPROPRIATE CLASSIFICATION ACT SCHEDULE. SUBSECTION (1) IS INTENDED TO REFER TO THE GRADE OF THE POSITION OCCUPIED. "B. EMPLOYEE "B" OCCUPIES A POSITION IN GRADE GS-10 AND IS RECEIVING A "SAVED" SALARY OF $6. 740 IS IN EXCESS OF THE MAXIMUM LONGEVITY STEP OF GRADE GS- 10. SECTION 2 (B) OF THE ACT PROVIDES IN PERTINENT PART AS FOLLOWS: "/B) THE RATES OF BASIC COMPENSATION OF OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES TO WHOM THIS SECTION APPLIES SHALL BE INITIALLY ADJUSTED AS FOLLOWS: "/1) IF THE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE IS RECEIVING BASIC COMPENSATION IMMEDIATELY PRIOR TO THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THIS SECTION AT ONE OF THE SCHEDULED OR LONGEVITY RATES OF A GRADE IN THE GENERAL SCHEDULE OR THE CRAFTS.

B-125480, NOV. 10, 1955

TO HONORABLE H. V. HIGLEY, ADMINISTRATOR, VETERANS ADMINISTRATION:

THE DEPUTY ADMINISTRATOR'S LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 9, 1955, REQUESTS OUR DECISION REGARDING THE SALARY RATES TO BE PAID EMPLOYEES UNDER SECTION 2 (B) OF THE FEDERAL EMPLOYEES SALARY INCREASE ACT OF 1955, APPROVED JUNE 28, 1955, 69 STAT. 172, WITH PARTICULAR REFERENCE TO THE FOLLOWING EXAMPLES:

"A. EMPLOYEE "A" OCCUPIES A POSITION IN GRADE GS-8 AND IS RECEIVING A "SAVED" SALARY OF $5,435, THE FOURTH STEP OF GRADE GS-9, WHICH STEP HE HAD ATTAINED IN THAT GRADE PRIOR TO THE REGRADING OF HIS POSITION TO GS-8. THE RATE OF $5,435 FALLS BETWEEN THE MAXIMUM SCHEDULED STEP AND THE FIRST LONGEVITY STEP OF GRADE GS-8. IF SUBSECTION (1) OF SECTION 2 (B), PUBLIC LAW 94, IS INTENDED TO REFER TO ANY GRADE OF THE APPROPRIATE CLASSIFICATION ACT SCHEDULE, EMPLOYEE "A-S" SALARY WOULD BE ADJUSTED TO $5,845, THE NEW RATE FOR THE FOURTH STEP OF GRADE GS-9. IF, ON THE OTHER HAND, SUBSECTION (1) IS INTENDED TO REFER TO THE GRADE OF THE POSITION OCCUPIED, SUBSECTION (2) WOULD APPLY, AND EMPLOYEE "A S" SALARY WOULD BE ADJUSTED TO $5,915, THE NEW RATE FOR THE FIRST LONGEVITY STEP OF GRADE GS- 8.

"B. EMPLOYEE "B" OCCUPIES A POSITION IN GRADE GS-10 AND IS RECEIVING A "SAVED" SALARY OF $6,740, THE FIFTH STEP OF GRADE GS-11, WHICH STEP HE HAD ATTAINED IN THAT GRADE PRIOR TO THE REGRADING OF HIS POSITION TO GS-10. THE RATE OF $6,740 IS IN EXCESS OF THE MAXIMUM LONGEVITY STEP OF GRADE GS- 10. IF SUBSECTION 2 (B) (1) REFERS TO ANY GRADE OF THE APPROPRIATE CLASSIFICATION ACT SCHEDULE, EMPLOYEE "B-S" SALARY WOULD BE ADJUSTED TO $7,250, THE NEW RATE FOR STEP FIVE OF GRADE GS-11. HOWEVER, IF SUBSECTION 2 (B) (1) REFERS TO THE GRADE OF THE POSITION OCCUPIED, SUBSECTION 2 (B) (3) WOULD BE FOR APPLICATION AND EMPLOYEE "B-S" SALARY WOULD BE ADJUSTED TO $7,245.'

SECTION 2 (B) OF THE ACT PROVIDES IN PERTINENT PART AS FOLLOWS:

"/B) THE RATES OF BASIC COMPENSATION OF OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES TO WHOM THIS SECTION APPLIES SHALL BE INITIALLY ADJUSTED AS FOLLOWS:

"/1) IF THE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE IS RECEIVING BASIC COMPENSATION IMMEDIATELY PRIOR TO THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THIS SECTION AT ONE OF THE SCHEDULED OR LONGEVITY RATES OF A GRADE IN THE GENERAL SCHEDULE OR THE CRAFTS, PROTECTIVE, AND CUSTODIAL SCHEDULE OF THE CLASSIFICATION ACT OF 1949, AS AMENDED, HE SHALL RECEIVE A RATE OF BASIC COMPENSATION AT THE CORRESPONDING SCHEDULED OR LONGEVITY RATE IN EFFECT ON AND AFTER SUCH DATE;

"/2) IF THE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE IS RECEIVING BASIC COMPENSATION IMMEDIATELY PRIOR TO THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THIS SECTION AT A RATE BETWEEN TWO SCHEDULED OR TWO LONGEVITY RATES, OR BETWEEN A SCHEDULED AND A LONGEVITY RATE, OF A GRADE IN THE GENERAL SCHEDULE OR THE CRAFTS, PROTECTIVE, AND CUSTODIAL SCHEDULE, HE SHALL RECEIVE A RATE OF BASIC COMPENSATION AT THE HIGHER OF THE TWO CORRESPONDING RATES IN EFFECT ON AND AFTER SUCH DATE;

"/3) IF THE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE (OTHER THAN AN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE SUBJECT TO PARAGRAPH (4) OF THIS SUBSECTION), IMMEDIATELY PRIOR TO THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THIS SECTION, IS RECEIVING BASIC COMPENSATION AT A RATE IN EXCESS OF THE MAXIMUM LONGEVITY RATE OF HIS GRADE, OR IN EXCESS OF THE MAXIMUM SCHEDULED RATE OF HIS GRADE IF THERE IS NO LONGEVITY RATE FOR HIS GRADE, HE SHALL RECEIVE BASIC COMPENSATION AT A RATE EQUAL TO THE RATE WHICH HE RECEIVED IMMEDIATELY PRIOR TO SUCH EFFECTIVE DATE, INCREASED BY AN AMOUNT EQUAL TO THE AMOUNT OF THE INCREASE MADE BY THIS SECTION IN THE MAXIMUM LONGEVITY RATE, OR THE MAXIMUM SCHEDULED RATE, AS THE CASE MAY BE, OF HIS GRADE UNTIL (A) HE LEAVES SUCH POSITION, OR (B) HE IS ENTITLED OF THE CLASSIFICATION ACT OF 1949, AS AMENDED; BUT WHEN SUCH POSITION BECOMES VACANT THE RATE OF BASIC COMPENSATION OF ANY SUBSEQUENT APPOINTEE THERETO SHALL BE FIXED IN ACCORDANCE WITH SUCH ACT, AS AMENDED.'

THE SALARY OF THE EMPLOYEES REFERRED TO IN THE EXAMPLES IS SAID TO HAVE BEEN SAVED UNDER SUBSECTIONS 25.103 (C) AND (F) OF THE FEDERAL EMPLOYEES PAY REGULATIONS.

THE ADMINISTRATIVE DOUBT IN THE MATTER RESULTS FROM THE DIFFICULTY IN CONSTRUING THE LANGUAGE IN THE ABOVE-QUOTED SUBSECTIONS OF SECTION 2 (B) OF THE ACT. THE BASIC QUESTION FOR DECISION IS WHETHER THE LANGUAGE REGARDING THE RATES RECEIVED BY EMPLOYEES IMMEDIATELY PRIOR TO THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE SECTION REFERS TO THE RATES OF THE GRADES IN WHICH THE POSITIONS OCCUPIED ARE ALLOCATED OR TO THE RATES OF THE GRADES IN WHICH THE POSITIONS FORMERLY WERE ALLOCATED AND FROM WHICH THE SAVED SALARY RATES WERE DERIVED. IN HOUSE REPORT 857, ACCOMPANYING S. 67, THE BILL WHICH WAS ENACTED AS THE FEDERAL EMPLOYEES SALARY INCREASE ACT OF 1955, SPECIFIC EXAMPLES ARE GIVEN FOR THE APPLICATION OF THE INITIAL ADJUSTMENT RULES CONTAINED IN SECTION 2 (B) OF THE ACT. IN EACH OF THESE EXAMPLES THE EMPLOYEE'S SALARY RATE IMMEDIATELY PRIOR TO THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE SECTION IS COMPARED WITH A SALARY RATE IN THE CLASSIFICATION GRADE OF THE POSITION WHICH THE EMPLOYEE THEN OCCUPIES, RATHER THAN THAT OF A GRADE TO WHICH THE POSITION PREVIOUSLY MAY HAVE BEEN ALLOCATED. THE LIGHT OF THE EXAMPLES IN THE HOUSE REPORT IT WOULD SEEM THAT THE PHRASING "A GRADE" APPEARING IN SUBSECTIONS (1) AND (2) SHOULD BE GIVEN THE SAME MEANING AS THAT OF "HIS RADE" APPEARING IN SUBSECTION (3) AND THAT INITIAL ADJUSTMENTS UNDER THE SUBSECTIONS IN QUESTION ARE TO BE EFFECTED IN THE RATES OF THE GRADES TO WHICH THE POSITIONS CONCERNED ARE ALLOCATED.

ACCORDINGLY, IN THE CASE OF EMPLOYEE "A" SUBSECTION (2) IS FOR APPLICATION AND HIS SALARY UNDER THE ACT OF JUNE 28, 1955, SHOULD BE ADJUSTED TO $5,915, THE FIRST LONGEVITY STEP OF GRADE GS-8, RETROACTIVELY TO THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE SECTION. IN THE CASE OF EMPLOYEE "B" WHOSE SAVED SALARY EXCEEDED THE MAXIMUM LONGEVITY RATE OF GRADE GS-10 PRIOR TO THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE ACT OF JUNE 28, 1955, SUBSECTION (3) IS APPLICABLE AND HIS SAVED SALARY IS INCREASED BY $505, THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE OLD AND NEW MAXIMUM LONGEVITY RATES OF GRADE GS-10, MAKING HIS NEW SALARY RATE $7,245 PER ANNUM ALSO EFFECTIVE AS OF THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF SECTION 2 (B).