B-164515(2), FEB 22, 1971

B-164515(2): Feb 22, 1971

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COORDINATED FEDERAL WAGE SYSTEM SURVEY - PREVAILING RATE - RETROACTIVE INCREASES DECISION CONCERNING DEVELOPMENT OF FEDERAL PAY SCHEDULE ON THE BASIS OF RATES WHICH EMPLOYEES IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR ARE PAID IN LIGHT OF A CONTRACT WHICH WAS SIGNED AFTER THE FEDERAL SCHEDULE WAS ISSUED. IT SHOULD BE NOTED THAT "PREVAILING RATE" UNDER THE CFWS IDENTIFIES EXISTING WAGES AT THE TIME THE AREA WAGE SURVEY IS CONDUCTED AND THERE IS NO BASIS TO CONSIDER PRIVATE SECTOR INCREASES AGREED UPON SUBSEQUENT TO THE DATE OF ISSUANCE OF A CFWS SCHEDULE WHICH ARE RETROACTIVELY EFFECTIVE TO A DATE PRIOR THERETO. ANY PAY ADJUSTMENTS TO GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES WOULD BE VIEWED AS "RETROACTIVE PAY INCREASES" CONTROLLED BY 5 U.S.C. 5343 WHICH SHALL BE MADE NOT LATER THAN A SPECIFIED NUMBER OF DAYS AFTER THE WAGE SURVEY IS ORDERED TO BE MADE.

B-164515(2), FEB 22, 1971

COORDINATED FEDERAL WAGE SYSTEM SURVEY - PREVAILING RATE - RETROACTIVE INCREASES DECISION CONCERNING DEVELOPMENT OF FEDERAL PAY SCHEDULE ON THE BASIS OF RATES WHICH EMPLOYEES IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR ARE PAID IN LIGHT OF A CONTRACT WHICH WAS SIGNED AFTER THE FEDERAL SCHEDULE WAS ISSUED. IT SHOULD BE NOTED THAT "PREVAILING RATE" UNDER THE CFWS IDENTIFIES EXISTING WAGES AT THE TIME THE AREA WAGE SURVEY IS CONDUCTED AND THERE IS NO BASIS TO CONSIDER PRIVATE SECTOR INCREASES AGREED UPON SUBSEQUENT TO THE DATE OF ISSUANCE OF A CFWS SCHEDULE WHICH ARE RETROACTIVELY EFFECTIVE TO A DATE PRIOR THERETO. ANY PAY ADJUSTMENTS TO GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES WOULD BE VIEWED AS "RETROACTIVE PAY INCREASES" CONTROLLED BY 5 U.S.C. 5343 WHICH SHALL BE MADE NOT LATER THAN A SPECIFIED NUMBER OF DAYS AFTER THE WAGE SURVEY IS ORDERED TO BE MADE.

TO MR. JOHN F. GRINER:

THIS IS IN FURTHER REFERENCE TO YOUR LETTER DATED DECEMBER 28, 1970, REFERENCE 14/CFWS, WHEREIN YOU RAISE CERTAIN QUESTIONS CONCERNING THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF A COORDINATED FEDERAL WAGE SYSTEM (CFWS) PAY SCHEDULE AND WHAT CONSTITUTES A "PREVAILING RATE" THEREUNDER.

YOU STATE THAT IN SOME WAGE AREAS CONTRACT NEGOTIATIONS IN A DOMINANT INDUSTRY OR INDUSTRIES ARE IN PROGRESS AT THE TIME A CFWS SURVEY IS CONDUCTED AND THE CONTRACT WHICH IS SIGNED AFTER THE CFWS SCHEDULE IS ISSUED PROVIDES FOR RETROACTIVE INCREASE BACK TO OR PRIOR TO THE TIME THE CFWS SURVEY WAS MADE. IN THESE CIRCUMSTANCES YOU SAY THE FEDERAL PAY SCHEDULE IS DEVELOPED ON THE BASIS OF PAY RATES WHICH ARE LOWER THAN THE EMPLOYEES IN THE MATCHED PRIVATE SECTOR JOBS WERE ACTUALLY PAID FOR THE WORK PERFORMED AT THE TIME THE SURVEY WAS CONDUCTED. YOU CONCLUDE, THEREFORE, THAT THE PAY SCHEDULE DOES NOT REFLECT WHAT IS THE PREVAILING RATE AT THE TIME THE SURVEY WAS CONDUCTED.

"PREVAILING" MEANS GENERALLY CURRENT OR MOST FREQUENT AND IT IS, THEREFORE, NECESSARY TO VIEW THE WORD "PREVAILING" AS IDENTIFYING ACTUAL, EXISTING WAGES AT THE TIME THE AREA WAGE SURVEY IS CONDUCTED. APPARENTLY, YOU HAVE IN MIND A SITUATION WHERE INCREASES IN PRIVATE INDUSTRY ARE UNDER NEGOTIATION (WHICH WILL BE MADE RETROACTIVE) BUT NOT ACTUALLY AGREED UPON UNTIL AFTER THE WAGE SURVEY BY THE GOVERNMENT HAS BEEN COMPLETED AND WAGE SCHEDULES ISSUED. WE UNDERSTAND THAT CONSIDERATION IS GIVEN TO WAGE INCREASES IN PRIVATE INDUSTRY IF AGREED TO BY THE PARTIES PRIOR TO ISSUANCE OF A NEW SCHEDULE BY THE GOVERNMENT. THE AUTHORITY FOR THE FIXING AND ADJUSTING OF THE RATES (5 U.S.C. 5341(A)) SPECIFIES "IN ACCORDANCE WITH PREVAILING RATES" AND, THEREFORE, WE FAIL TO SEE ANY BASIS FOR CONSIDERATION OF PRIVATE SECTOR INCREASES WHICH HAVE BEEN AGREED UPON SUBSEQUENT TO THE DATE OF ISSUANCE OF A CFWS SCHEDULE BUT WHICH ARE RETROACTIVELY EFFECTIVE TO A DATE PRIOR THERETO.

AS TO THE GOVERNMENT WAGE SCHEDULES BEING ADJUSTED BACK TO THE DATE AN INCREASE IN PRIVATE INDUSTRY BECAME EFFECTIVE, WE WOULD VIEW SUCH AN ADJUSTMENT AS A "RETROACTIVE PAY INCREASE" WHICH IS CONTROLLED BY 5 U.S.C. 5343. THOSE STATUTORY PROVISIONS ARE TO THE EFFECT THAT INCREASES IN RATES OF BASIC PAY FOR GOVERNMENT WAGE BOARD EMPLOYEES SHALL BE MADE EFFECTIVE NOT LATER THAN A SPECIFIED NUMBER OF DAYS AFTER THE WAGE SURVEY IS ORDERED TO BE MADE.