B-147261, OCTOBER 30, 1961, 41 COMP. GEN. 280

B-147261: Oct 30, 1961

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TO CREDIT THE 3 YEARS OF SERVICE AT THE MAXIMUM RATE OR STEP IN THE HIGHER GRADE WHICH SERVICE WAS PREVIOUSLY COUNTED FOR THE LONGEVITY STEP IN THAT GRADE WOULD IN EFFECT NULLIFY THE DISCRETION THE TRANSFER AGENCY HAS IN APPLYING THE HIGHEST PREVIOUS RATE RULE IN SECTION 25.103 (E) OF THE FEDERAL EMPLOYEES' PAY REGULATIONS (5 C.F.R. 25.103 (E) ( AND. AN EMPLOYEE WHO DID NOT RECEIVE CREDIT FOR 1 YEAR AND 3 MONTHS OF SERVICE IN A LONGEVITY STEP OF GRADE GS-7 WHEN SHE WAS TRANSFERRED AND DEMOTED TO THE MAXIMUM STEP OF GRADE GS-5 MAY HAVE HER SERVICE RECOMPUTED TO REFLECT ENTITLEMENT TO THE FIRST AND SECOND LONGEVITY STEPS IN GRADE GS-5 BASED ON THE SERVICE IN THE LONGEVITY STEP OF GRADE GS-7 AND IN THE MAXIMUM STEP OF GRADE GS-5 AND PAYMENT OF ADDITIONAL COMPENSATION RESULTING FROM THE RECOMPUTATION IS PROPER.

B-147261, OCTOBER 30, 1961, 41 COMP. GEN. 280

COMPENSATION - LONGEVITY INCREASES - SERVICE CREDIT - DEMOTIONS--- APPROPRIATIONS - AVAILABILITY - COMPENSATION - RETROACTIVE ADJUSTMENTS ALTHOUGH CREDIT FOR SERVICE PERFORMED BY AN EMPLOYEE IN A LONGEVITY STEP IN A HIGHER GRADE PRIOR TO A SIMULTANEOUS TRANSFER AND DEMOTION TO THE MAXIMUM STEP OF A LOWER GRADE MAY BE ALLOWED UNDER SECTION 703 (A) OF THE CLASSIFICATION ACT OF 1949, AS AMENDED, 5 U.S.C. 1123 (A), TOWARD A LONGEVITY IN THE LOWER GRADE, TO CREDIT THE 3 YEARS OF SERVICE AT THE MAXIMUM RATE OR STEP IN THE HIGHER GRADE WHICH SERVICE WAS PREVIOUSLY COUNTED FOR THE LONGEVITY STEP IN THAT GRADE WOULD IN EFFECT NULLIFY THE DISCRETION THE TRANSFER AGENCY HAS IN APPLYING THE HIGHEST PREVIOUS RATE RULE IN SECTION 25.103 (E) OF THE FEDERAL EMPLOYEES' PAY REGULATIONS (5 C.F.R. 25.103 (E) ( AND, THEREFORE, AN EMPLOYEE WHO DID NOT RECEIVE CREDIT FOR 1 YEAR AND 3 MONTHS OF SERVICE IN A LONGEVITY STEP OF GRADE GS-7 WHEN SHE WAS TRANSFERRED AND DEMOTED TO THE MAXIMUM STEP OF GRADE GS-5 MAY HAVE HER SERVICE RECOMPUTED TO REFLECT ENTITLEMENT TO THE FIRST AND SECOND LONGEVITY STEPS IN GRADE GS-5 BASED ON THE SERVICE IN THE LONGEVITY STEP OF GRADE GS-7 AND IN THE MAXIMUM STEP OF GRADE GS-5 AND PAYMENT OF ADDITIONAL COMPENSATION RESULTING FROM THE RECOMPUTATION IS PROPER. ADDITIONAL COMPENSATION PAYMENTS WHICH RESULT FROM THE RECOMPUTATION OF SERVICE FOR LONGEVITY STEP INCREASE PURPOSES DUE AN EMPLOYEE WHO HAS BEEN SUCCESSIVELY TRANSFERRED BETWEEN SEVERAL DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES ARE CHARGEABLE AGAINST THE APPROPRIATION OF THE DEPARTMENT OR AGENCY WHICH WAS ORIGINALLY CHARGED FOR THE EMPLOYEE'S SALARY.

TO ELEANOR N. PARKS, INTERSTATE COMMERCE COMMISSION, OCTOBER 30, 1961:

YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 20, 1961, REQUESTS OUR DECISION REGARDING THE ENTITLEMENT OF MISS SARAH B. SCHNEIDER, NOW AN EMPLOYEE OF THE INTERSTATE COMMERCE COMMISSION, TO ADDITIONAL COMPENSATION FOR PROPOSED RETROACTIVE ADJUSTMENTS OF LONGEVITY STEP INCREASES UNDER THE CLASSIFICATION ACT OF 1949, AS AMENDED, 5 U.S.C. 1123, WHILE EMPLOYED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, EDUCATION, AND WELFARE PRIOR TO HER TRANSFER TO THE COMMISSION. WE ASSUME THE QUESTION ARISES BECAUSE OF A VOUCHER BEFORE YOU PROPOSING PAYMENT OF ADDITIONAL COMPENSATION TO THE EMPLOYEE. 21 COMP. GEN. 1128.

THE COPIES OF THE PERSONNEL FILE ACCOMPANYING YOUR LETTER SHOWS MISS SCHNEIDER HAS THE FOLLOWING SERVICE:

CHART

GRADE AND SALARY EFFECTIVE DATE PROMOTION CAF-6 $2,300 1) 1/43 DEPT. OF AGRI. PROMOTION CAF-7 2,600 12/11/43 DEPT. OF AGRI. PS1 TO TOP OF GRADE GS-7 4,575 8/20/50 DEPT. OF AGRI. LONGEVITY/1ST STEP GS-7 5,080 12/20/53 DEPT. OF AGRI. SEPARATION (TRANSFER) AFTER RIF DATED 2/2/55 GS-7 5,080 3/27/55 DEPT. OF AGRI. TRANSFER (CAREER) GS-5 ( MAXIMUM OF 3/28/55 DEPT. OF HEALTH,

GRADE) EDUCATION, AND

4,160 WELFARE SEPARATED (TRANSFER) GS-5 ( MAXIMUM OF 6) 2/57 DEPT. OF HEALTH,

GRADE) EDUCATION, AND

4,480 WELFARE TRANSFER (CAREER) GS-5 4,480 6) 3/57 I.C.C. LONGEVITY GS-5 4,615 4) 6/58 I.C.C.

YOU SAY THAT SINCE MISS SCHNEIDER HAD COMPLETED AN AGGREGATE TOTAL OF 10 YEARS' SERVICE IN GS-6 AND 7 AND HAD COMPLETED 3 YEARS' CONTINUOUS SERVICE AT THE MAXIMUM STEP OF GS-7, SHE WOULD HAVE BEEN ENTITLED UPON DEMOTION TO GRADE GS-5 TO THE FIRST LONGEVITY STEP IN THAT GRADE ON APRIL 10, 1955, THE NEXT PAY PERIOD AFTER THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF HER TRANSFER TO GRADE GS-5 ON MARCH 28, 1955. YOU ALSO BELIEVE SHE WOULD BE ENTITLED TO THE SECOND LONGEVITY STEP EFFECTIVE THE NEXT PAY PERIOD AFTER AUGUST 19, 1956, WHICH WAS AUGUST 26, 1956.

SECTION 102 (A) (1) OF THE ACT OF SEPTEMBER 1, 1954, 68 STAT. 1105, AMENDED SECTION 703 (A) OF THE CLASSIFICATION ACT OF 1949, AS AMENDED, 5 U.S.C. 1123 (A), TO READ AS FOLLOWS--- THE ITALICIZED PORTION REPRESENTING THE AMENDATORY LANGUAGE:

SUBJECT TO SUBSECTION (B), 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 OF CONTINUOUS SERVICE COMPLETED BY HIM AT SUCH MAXIMUM RATE OR AT A RATE IN EXCESS THEREOF AUTHORIZED BY THIS SECTION WITHOUT INCREASE IN GRADE OR RATE OF BASIC COMPENSATION EXCEPT SUCH INCREASE AS MAY BE PRESCRIBED BY ANY PROVISION OF LAW OF GENERAL APPLICATION.

IN 34 COMP. GEN. 687 WE SAID THAT SINCE THE AMENDATORY LANGUAGE HAD AS ITS PURPOSE THE RETENTION OF SERVICE CREDITS EARNED AT A MAXIMUM OR LONGEVITY STEP IN A HIGHER GRADE UPON DEMOTION, SERVICE RENDERED AT THE MAXIMUM STEP OR A LONGEVITY STEP IN A HIGHER GRADE PRIOR TO THE DEMOTION TO THE LOWER GRADE IS CREDITABLE TOWARD AN EMPLOYEE'S NEXT LONGEVITY STEP- INCREASE IN THE GRADE TO WHICH DEMOTED. UPON THE BASIS OF THAT DECISION, THE SERVICE AT THE LONGEVITY STEP OF GS-7 PRIOR TO MISS SCHNEIDER'S DEMOTION TO GRADE GS-5 IS CREDITABLE TOWARD HER FIRST LONGEVITY STEP- INCREASE IN GRADE GS-5. SEE ALSO 38 COMP. GEN. 660. HOWEVER, SHE IS NOT ENTITLED TO ANY FURTHER CREDIT FOR THE 3 YEARS' SERVICE IN THE MAXIMUM STEP OF GRADE GS-7 FOR WHICH SHE RECEIVED CREDIT WHEN ADVANCED TO THE FIRST LONGEVITY STEP OF THAT GRADE. TO HOLD OTHERWISE WOULD IN EFFECT NULLIFY THE "HIGHEST PREVIOUS RATE RULE," A DISCRETIONARY RULE, AS SET FORTH IN THE FEDERAL EMPLOYEES' PAY REGULATIONS, 5 C.F.R. 25-103. WE DO NOT VIEW SECTION 25.53 OF THE REGULATIONS AS AUTHORITY FOR ANY DIFFERENT CONCLUSION.

THE ABOVE EMPLOYMENT DATA SHOWS THAT MISS SCHNEIDER HAD COMPLETED IN EXCESS OF 1 YEAR AND 3 MONTHS IN THE FIRST LONGEVITY STEP OF THE HIGHER GRADE AT THE TIME OF HER DEMOTION TO THE MAXIMUM STEP OF GS-5 "WITHOUT INCREASE IN GRADE OR BASIC COMPENSATION.' UNDER THE AMENDATORY LANGUAGE OF 5 U.S.C. 1123 (A), PERMITTING SUCH CREDITABLE SERVICE TO BE USED TOWARD A LONGEVITY IN THE GRADE TO WHICH DEMOTED, SHE THEN BECAME ENTITLED TO A SERVICE CREDIT OF APPROXIMATELY 1 YEAR AND 3 MONTHS (FROM DECEMBER 20, 1953) EARNED TOWARD THE REQUIRED 3-YEAR PERIOD AT THE MAXIMUM RATE OF HER GRADE TO BE ELIGIBLE FOR A LONGEVITY INCREASE. ALSO, SHE BECAME ENTITLED TO AN ADDITIONAL 4 MONTHS' SERVICE ( AUGUST 20, 1953-1DECEMBER 20, 1953) WHICH WAS IN EXCESS OF THE NECESSARY 3 YEARS' SERVICE FOR ADVANCEMENT TO THE FIRST LONGEVITY STEP OF GRADE GS 7. SEE SECTION 25.52 (D) OF THE REGULATIONS OF THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION. THUS, SHE WOULD HAVE BEEN ENTITLED TO THE FIRST LONGEVITY STEP OF GS-5 ON THE FIRST DAY OF THE FIRST PAY PERIOD FOLLOWING AUGUST 19, 1956, AND TO THE SECOND LONGEVITY STEP AFTER THE COMPLETION OF 3 YEARS' SERVICE FROM THAT DATE.

THEREFORE, A VOUCHER COVERING THE ADDITIONAL COMPENSATION RESULTING FROM RECOMPUTATION OF MISS SCHNEIDER'S FIRST AND SECOND LONGEVITY RATES, IN THE MANNER SPECIFIED HEREIN AND FOR THE PERIOD OF HER EMPLOYMENT IN THE INTERSTATE COMMERCE COMMISSION, MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT IF OTHERWISE CORRECT.

YOUR FURTHER QUESTION RELATES TO WHAT AGENCY APPROPRIATION IS CHARGEABLE FOR THE PAYMENT OF THE RECOMPUTED COMPENSATION RATE COVERING THAT PART OF THE PERIOD PRIOR TO THE EMPLOYEE'S TRANSFER TO THE INTERSTATE COMMERCE COMMISSION. SINCE THE REQUIRED ADJUSTMENTS AND THE RESULTING SUPPLEMENTAL PAYMENTS ARE PROPER CHARGES AGAINST THE APPROPRIATIONS WHICH WERE CHARGED WITH THE EMPLOYEE'S SALARY, IT FOLLOWS THAT THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, EDUCATION, AND WELFARE WOULD BE RESPONSIBLE FOR MAKING ANY PAYMENTS OF ADDITIONAL COMPENSATION FOR THAT PART OF THE PERIOD INVOLVED HEREIN DURING WHICH MISS SCHNEIDER WAS EMPLOYED BY THAT AGENCY. 31 COMP. GEN. 166.