B-150311, DECEMBER 20, 1962, 42 COMP. GEN. 320

B-150311: Dec 20, 1962

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THE PHRASE "TIME IN GRADE" IS DESCRIPTIVE AND THE TIME IN RATE AND NOT THE TOTAL SERVICE IN THE GRADE IS THE DETERMINING FACTOR IN SETTING THE PROPER SALARY STEP IN THE GRADE UNDER THE INITIAL ADJUSTMENT PROVISIONS OF THE ACT. A GS-13 EMPLOYEE WHO DID NOT HAVE THE 3 YEARS OF SERVICE IN STEP 7 REQUIRED BY SECTION 701 (A) (3) MAY NOT BE PLACED IN STEP 8. HAD 3 YEARS IN THE GRADE IS NOT ENTITLED TO STEP 4. WHICH WAS NOT INCLUDED IN THEIR PAY FOR THE PAY PERIOD OCTOBER 14 TO 27. WE ASSUME THAT PERIOD IS THE FIRST PAY PERIOD IN REGION 4 BEGINNING ON OR AFTER THE DATE OF ENACTMENT OF PUBLIC LAW 87-793. THE CIRCUMSTANCES GIVING RISE TO YOUR REQUEST ARE DESCRIBED BY YOU AS FOLLOWS: MR. WAS PROMOTED TO GS-13.

B-150311, DECEMBER 20, 1962, 42 COMP. GEN. 320

COMPENSATION - PERIODIC STEP-INCREASES - SERVICE CREDITS - TIME IN GRADE V. TIME IN RATE IN THE INITIAL ADJUSTMENT OF THE BASIC RATES OF COMPENSATION OF CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES PURSUANT TO THE CLASSIFICATION ACT AMENDMENTS OF 1962, UNDER SECTION 602 (B) (10), PRESCRIBING THAT SERVICE PRIOR TO THE EFFECTIVE DATE PROVIDED BY THE SECTION SHALL BE COUNTED TOWARD NOT TO EXCEED ONE PERIODIC STEP-INCREASE UNDER THE TIME IN GRADE PROVISION OF SECTION 701 (A) OF THE CLASSIFICATION ACT OF 1949, AS AMENDED BY SECTION 603 OF THE 1962 ACT, THE PHRASE "TIME IN GRADE" IS DESCRIPTIVE AND THE TIME IN RATE AND NOT THE TOTAL SERVICE IN THE GRADE IS THE DETERMINING FACTOR IN SETTING THE PROPER SALARY STEP IN THE GRADE UNDER THE INITIAL ADJUSTMENT PROVISIONS OF THE ACT; THEREFORE, A GS-13 EMPLOYEE WHO DID NOT HAVE THE 3 YEARS OF SERVICE IN STEP 7 REQUIRED BY SECTION 701 (A) (3) MAY NOT BE PLACED IN STEP 8, NOTWITHSTANDING COMPLETION OF THE 12 YEARS OF SERVICE ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENT, AND A GS 11 EMPLOYEE WHO HAD NOT COMPLETED THE 52 WEEKS OF SERVICE PRESCRIBED BY SECTION 701 (A) (1) FOR A STEP-INCREASE, BUT HAD 3 YEARS IN THE GRADE IS NOT ENTITLED TO STEP 4.

TO RICHARD T. ERICKSON, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, DECEMBER 20, 1962:

YOUR SPEEDLETTER OF NOVEMBER 15, 1962, FILE 4-360, REQUESTS OUR DECISION WHETHER YOU MAY CERTIFY FOR PAYMENT A SUPPLEMENTAL PAYROLL REPRESENTING ADDITIONAL SALARY FOR TWO EMPLOYEES, NAMED BELOW, WHICH WAS NOT INCLUDED IN THEIR PAY FOR THE PAY PERIOD OCTOBER 14 TO 27, 1962. WE ASSUME THAT PERIOD IS THE FIRST PAY PERIOD IN REGION 4 BEGINNING ON OR AFTER THE DATE OF ENACTMENT OF PUBLIC LAW 87-793, APPROVED OCTOBER 11, 1962, 5 U.S.C. 1113. THE CIRCUMSTANCES GIVING RISE TO YOUR REQUEST ARE DESCRIBED BY YOU AS FOLLOWS:

MR. PARLEY R. NEELEY, GENERAL ENGINEER, WAS PROMOTED TO GS-13, MARCH 5, 1950, AND GIVEN A LONGEVITY STEP INCREASE SEPTEMBER 4, 1960, WHICH ESTABLISHED HIS SALARY AT $12,195. MR. GRANT R. LAMB, ENGINEERING TECHNICIAN, WAS PROMOTED TO GS-11, DECEMBER 28, 1958, AND GIVEN A STEP INCREASE DECEMBER 24, 1961, WHICH ESTABLISHED HIS SALARY AT $8,080.

PURSUANT TO THE NEW PAY ACT OUR FIELD OFFICE APPLIED THE TIME IN GRADE LANGUAGE OF PARAGRAPH 10 OF THE "CLASSIFICATION ACT AMENDMENTS OF 1962" , TO THESE POSITIONS AND CALCULATED THE SALARIES AT $13,705 AND $8,840 RESPECTIVELY. THEY FIGURED THE GENERAL ENGINEER, GS-13, HAVING BEEN IN GRADE OVER 12 YEARS, SHOULD BE PLACED IN STEP 8, WHICH STEP, IN POINT OF YEARS, WOULD REQUIRE THE COMPLETION OF 12 YEARS SERVICE TO REACH. THEY FIGURED THE ENGINEERING TECHNICIAN, GS-11, HAVING BEEN IN GRADE OVER 3 YEARS, SHOULD BE PLACED IN STEP 4, WHICH STEP, IN POINT OF YEARS, WOULD REQUIRE THE COMPLETION OF 3 YEARS SERVICE TO REACH.

OUR PERSONNEL OFFICE REDUCED THE SALARY BASES ONE STEP EACH FIGURING THE FIRST EMPLOYEE HAD NOT COMPLETED 3 YEARS IN HIS STEP SINCE SEPTEMBER 4, 1960, AND THE SECOND HAD NOT COMPLETED ONE YEAR IN HIS STEP SINCE DECEMBER 24, 1961. SALARIES FOR THESE TWO EMPLOYEES FOR THE PERIOD ENDING OCTOBER 27, 1962, WERE THEREFORE PAID AT THE RATES FOR STEPS 7 AND 3 RESPECTIVELY.

THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS ARE POSED IN YOUR LETTER--- NUMBERED BY US:

1. SHOULD THE TOTAL TIME IN GRADE BE APPLIED AGAINST THE RATE REQUIREMENTS SPECIFIED IN THE NEW ACT, WITHOUT REGARD TO TIME IN RATE, TO DETERMINE THE STEP IN WHICH THE EMPLOYEE'S SALARY IS INITIALLY ASSIGNED?

2. IF YOUR DECISION IS IN THE AFFIRMATIVE, SHOULD THE SALARIES OF OTHER EMPLOYEES BE ADJUSTED TO REFLECT HIGHER RATES BASED ON THE TIME IN GRADE PROVISIONS OF PARAGRAPH 10, EVEN THOUGH THEY MAY NOT HAVE COMPLETED THE TIME IN STEP REQUIREMENTS OF SECTION 603?

SUBSECTIONS 602 (B), (4) AND (10) OF THE CLASSIFICATION ACT AMENDMENTS OF 1962, TITLE II OF PART II, PUBLIC LAW 87-793, 5 U.S.C. 1113 NOTE, AND SECTION 701 (A) OF THE CLASSIFICATION ACT OF 1949, AS AMENDED BY SECTION 603 OF PUBLIC LAW 87-793, 5 U.S.C. 1121 (A), PROVIDE, IN PERTINENT PART, AS FOLLOWS:

(B) THE RATES OF BASIC COMPENSATION OF OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES TO WHOM COMPENSATION SCHEDULE I OF THE GENERAL SCHEDULE SET FORTH IN SUBSECTION (A) OF THIS SECTION APPLIES SHALL, SUBJECT TO THE PROVISIONS OF PARAGRAPH (10) OF THIS SUBSECTION, BE INITIALLY ADJUSTED, EFFECTIVE ON THE FIRST DAY OF THE FIRST PAY PERIOD BEGINNING ON OR AFTER THE DATE OF ENACTMENT OF THIS ACT, AS FOLLOWS:

(4) IF THE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE IS RECEIVING BASIC COMPENSATION IMMEDIATELY PRIOR TO THE FIRST DAY OF THE FIRST PAY PERIOD WHICH BEGINS ON OR AFTER THE DATE OF ENACTMENT OF THIS ACT AT THE FIRST, SECOND, THIRD, FOURTH, FIFTH, OR SIXTH SCHEDULED RATE, OR AT THE FIRST, SECOND, OR THIRD LONGEVITY RATE OF GRADE 11, 12, 13, OR 14 OF THE GENERAL SCHEDULE OF THE CLASSIFICATION ACT OF 1949, AS AMENDED, HE SHALL RECEIVE A RATE OF BASIC COMPENSATION AT THE CORRESPONDING FIRST, SECOND, THIRD, FOURTH, FIFTH, SIXTH, SEVENTH, EIGHTH, OR NINTH RATE OF THE APPROPRIATE GRADE IN EFFECT ON AND AFTER SUCH DAY.

(10) SERVICE OF OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES PERFORMED IMMEDIATELY PRECEDING THE FIRST DAY OF THE FIRST PAY PERIOD WHICH BEGINS ON OR AFTER THE DATE OF ENACTMENT OF THIS ACT, IN THE GRADE OF THE GENERAL SCHEDULE IN WHICH THEIR RESPECTIVE POSITIONS WERE PLACED ON SUCH DAY, SHALL BE COUNTED TOWARD NOT TO EXCEED ONE STEP INCREASE UNDER THE TIME IN GRADE PROVISIONS OF SUBSECTION (A) OF SECTION 701 OF THE CLASSIFICATION ACT OF 1949 AS AMENDED BY THIS ACT.

SEC. 701. (A) EACH OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE COMPENSATED ON A PER ANNUM BASIS, AND OCCUPYING A PERMANENT POSITION WITHIN THE SCOPE OF THE COMPENSATION SCHEDULES FIXED BY THIS ACT, WHO HAS NOT ATTAINED THE MAXIMUM RATE OF COMPENSATION FOR THE GRADE IN WHICH HIS POSITION IS PLACED, SHALL BE ADVANCED IN COMPENSATION SUCCESSIVELY TO THE NEXT HIGHER RATE WITHIN THE GRADE AT THE BEGINNING OF THE NEXT PAY PERIOD FOLLOWING THE COMPLETION OF (1) EACH FIFTY-TWO CALENDAR WEEKS OF SERVICE IN SALARY RATES 1, 2, AND 3, OR (2) EACH ONE HUNDRED AND FOUR CALENDAR WEEKS OF SERVICE IN SALARY RATES 4, 5, AND 6, OR (3) EACH ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY-SIX CALENDAR WEEKS OF SERVICE IN SALARY RATES 7, 8, AND 9, SUBJECT TO THE FOLLOWING CONDITIONS:

(A) THAT NO EQUIVALENT INCREASE IN COMPENSATION FROM ANY CAUSE WAS RECEIVED DURING SUCH ERIOD; * * *.

THE PURPOSE OF SUBSECTIONS 602 (B) AND 701 (A) IS EXPLAINED ON PAGES 60 AND 61 OF THE CONFERENCE REPORT (H.REPT. NO. 2532) TO ACCOMPANY H.R. 7927, WHICH BECAME PUBLIC LAW 87-793, IN PERTINENT PART, AS FOLLOWS:

* * * BECAUSE THE NUMBER OF REGULAR STEP RATES IS INCREASED, THE CURRENT PROVISIONS FOR LONGEVITY STEP INCREASES IN TITLE VII OF CLASSIFICATION ACT OF 1949 ARE NO LONGER NEEDED AND ARE REPEALED IN SUBSEQUENT SECTIONS OF THE CONFERENCE SUBSTITUTE.

SECTION 602 (B) SPECIFIES THE RULES ADJUSTING EXISTING PAY RATES TO THE RATES OF THE NEW SCHEDULES. EMPLOYEES GENERALLY ARE TO RETAIN THE SAME RELATIVE PLACE WITHIN THE NEW GRADE RANGE AS THEY HAD WITHIN THEIR FORMER GRADE RANGE.

PARAGRAPH (10) OF SECTION 602 (B) PROVIDES THAT SERVICE IMMEDIATELY PRECEDING THE EFFECTIVE DATE SHALL BE COUNTED TOWARD NOT TO EXCEED ONE STEP INCREASE UNDER THE TIME IN GRADE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 701 (A) OF THE CLASSIFICATION ACT OF 1949, AS AMENDED BY THE CONFERENCE SUBSTITUTE.

SECTION 701 NOW PROVIDES PERIODIC STEP INCREASES, FOR EMPLOYEES BELOW THE MAXIMUM RATE OF THE GRADE, FOR EACH 52 CALENDAR WEEKS OF SERVICE IF THE AMOUNT OF THE STEP INCREASE IS LESS THAN $200, OR 78 WEEKS OF SERVICE IF THE EMPLOYEE'S POSITION IS IN A GRADE IN WHICH THE STEP INCREASE IS $200 OR MORE. AS AMENDED, SECTION 701 (A) PROVIDES FOR PERIODIC INCREASES AT ALL GRADES FOLLOWING THE COMPLETION OF (1) 52 CALENDAR WEEKS OF SERVICE IN SALARY RATES 1, 2, AND 3, (2) 104 CALENDAR WEEKS OF SERVICE IN SALARY RATES 4, 5, AND 6, AND (3) EACH 156 CALENDAR WEEKS OF SERVICE IN SALARY RATES 7, 8, AND 9.

WE VIEW THE TERM "TIME IN GRADE" APPEARING IN SECTION 602 (B) (10), 5 U.S.C. 1113 NOTE, AS MERELY A DESCRIPTIVE PHRASE AND AS NOWISE REQUIRING THAT AN EMPLOYEE'S TOTAL SERVICE IN GRADE BE CONSIDERED AS THE DETERMINING FACTOR IN SETTING HIS PROPER SALARY STEP IN SUCH GRADE UNDER THE INITIAL ADJUSTMENT PROVISIONS OF THE ACT. THAT VIEW IS AMPLY SUPPORTED BY THE SECTIONS OF THE ACT ABOVE, AS WELL AS THE LEGISLATIVE EXPLANATION QUOTED ABOVE. SEE OUR DECISIONS B-150041 OF OCTOBER 12, 1962, 42 COMP. GEN. 202, AND B-150219 OF NOVEMBER 15, 1962, 42 COMP. GEN. 249, COPIES HEREWITH. THE ABOVE-STATED QUESTION 1 ACCORDINGLY IS ANSWERED IN THE NEGATIVE.

IN VIEW OF THE ABOVE "NEGATIVE" ANSWER, QUESTION 2 REQUIRES NO ANSWER. MOREOVER, SEE THE PROVISIONS OF 31 U.S.C. 82D, LAST CLAUSE, AND GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE MANUAL FOR GUIDANCE OF FEDERAL AGENCIES, TITLE 1, SECTION 3060.10, SECOND AND THIRD PARAGRAPHS.

THE VOUCHER, WITH ATTACHMENTS, IS RETURNED HEREWITH AND MAY NOT BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.