B-170113, JUL. 13, 1970

B-170113: Jul 13, 1970

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PRINTING OFFICE ADVISING THAT EMPLOYEES WHO WERE REASSIGNED OR PROMOTED FROM GENERAL GRADE TO WAGE BOARD POSITION UNDER THE CONVERSION MAY NOT HAVE THE WAGE RATES ADJUSTED TO COMPENSATE THE RETROACTIVELY INCREASED GENERAL GRADE PAY RATE. DATE OF ENACTMENT- HAD THEIR PREVIOUS RATES PRESERVED ARE REGARDED AS HAVING SUCH RATE SAVING EFFECTED PURSUANT TO ADMINISTRATIVE DISCRETION AND. REQUESTING OUR DECISION WHETHER THE PAY OF CERTAIN EMPLOYEES OF THE GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE WHO WERE REASSIGNED OR PROMOTED FROM GENERAL GRADE TO WAGE BOARD POSITIONS MAY BE ADJUSTED RETROACTIVELY TO REFLECT THE SALARY INCREASES AUTHORIZED BY THE FEDERAL EMPLOYEES SALARY ACT OF 1970. THE SUBJECT PERSONNEL ACTIONS WERE AFFECTED DURING THE PERIOD BETWEEN DECEMBER 28.

B-170113, JUL. 13, 1970

CIVIL PAY -- COMPENSATION -- CONVERSION FROM GENERAL GRADE TO WAGE BOARD POSITION DECISION TO THE PUBLIC PRINTER, U.S. GOVT. PRINTING OFFICE ADVISING THAT EMPLOYEES WHO WERE REASSIGNED OR PROMOTED FROM GENERAL GRADE TO WAGE BOARD POSITION UNDER THE CONVERSION MAY NOT HAVE THE WAGE RATES ADJUSTED TO COMPENSATE THE RETROACTIVELY INCREASED GENERAL GRADE PAY RATE. GPO EMPLOYEES WHO, WHEN CONVERTED FROM GENERAL GRADE TO WAGE BOARD POSITIONS BETWEEN DEC. 28, 1969--EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE FEDERAL EMPLOYEES SALARY ACT OF 1970--AND APRIL 15, 1970--DATE OF ENACTMENT- HAD THEIR PREVIOUS RATES PRESERVED ARE REGARDED AS HAVING SUCH RATE SAVING EFFECTED PURSUANT TO ADMINISTRATIVE DISCRETION AND, THEREFORE, IN ABSENCE OF ANY PROVISION IN THE 1970 PAY ACT AUTHORIZING RETROACTIVE ADJUSTMENT OF PAY FOR CONVERTED EMPLOYEES THE WAGE RATE MAY NOT BE RETROACTIVELY INCREASED. CF. 31 COMP. GEN. 320

TO MR. SPENCE:

WE REFER TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 19, 1970, REQUESTING OUR DECISION WHETHER THE PAY OF CERTAIN EMPLOYEES OF THE GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE WHO WERE REASSIGNED OR PROMOTED FROM GENERAL GRADE TO WAGE BOARD POSITIONS MAY BE ADJUSTED RETROACTIVELY TO REFLECT THE SALARY INCREASES AUTHORIZED BY THE FEDERAL EMPLOYEES SALARY ACT OF 1970, PUBLIC LAW 91 231, APPROVED APRIL 15, 1970.

THE SUBJECT PERSONNEL ACTIONS WERE AFFECTED DURING THE PERIOD BETWEEN DECEMBER 28, 1969, THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF PUBLIC LAW 91-231 FOR YOUR AGENCY, AND APRIL 15, 1970, THE ENACTMENT DATE OF THAT LAW. IN ACCORDANCE WITH AGENCY POLICY THE PAY OF EACH CONVERTED EMPLOYEE WAS ESTABLISHED AT A RATE WITHIN THE WAGE BOARD SCHEDULE THAT RESULTED IN HIS, AT LEAST, RETAINING HIS PRIOR GENERAL GRADE RATE OF COMPENSATION (44 U.S.C. 40). UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF SECTION 3(D) OF PUBLIC LAW 91 231, HOWEVER, THE SALARY RATES FOR GENERAL GRADE POSITIONS WERE INCREASED RETROACTIVELY TO DECEMBER 28, 1969. IN VIEW THEREOF, YOU QUESTION WHETHER THE WAGE RATES OF THE CONVERTED EMPLOYEES NOW MAY BE ADJUSTED RETROACTIVELY TO REFLECT THE RETROACTIVELY INCREASED GENERAL GRADE PAY RATES.

IN SUCH CONNECTION YOU REFER TO OUR DECISION 31 COMP. GEN. 320 (1952) WHEREIN WE RULED, QUOTING FROM THE SYLLABUS, AS FOLLOWS:

"EMPLOYEES WHO WERE ASSIGNED FROM CLASSIFIED POSITIONS TO WAGE BOARD POSITIONS DURING THE PERIOD COVERED BY THE RETROACTIVE COMPENSATION PROVISION OF THE INCREASED COMPENSATION AMENDMENT TO THE CLASSIFICATION ACT OF 1949, ARE NOT ENTITLED, UNDER ADMINISTRATIVE REGULATIONS DESIGNED TO SAVE THEIR COMPENSATION UPON SUCH ASSIGNMENT, TO AN ADJUSTMENT OF COMPENSATION IN THE WAGE BOARD POSITIONS WHERE THE EFFECT WOULD BE TO INCREASE RETROACTIVELY THE RATES OF SUCH POSITIONS." HOWEVER, YOU QUESTION THE APPLICABILITY OF THAT DECISION TO THE PRESENT SITUATION SINCE THE CITED CASE INVOLVED CLASSIFICATION ACT EMPLOYEES WHEREAS THE EMPLOYEES HERE INVOLVED ARE NOT COVERED BY THAT ACT.

ALTHOUGH 31 COMP. GEN. 320 CONCERNED ONLY CLASSIFICATION ACT EMPLOYEES, THE RATIONALE THEREOF IS EQUALLY APPLICABLE TO THE FACTS OF THIS CASE. THE ABSENCE OF SPECIFIC AUTHORITY PROVIDING OTHERWISE AN INCREASE IN COMPENSATION RESULTING FROM DISCRETIONARY ADMINISTRATIVE AUTHORITY IS EFFECTIVE ON THE DATE THE PROPER ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICIAL APPROVES SUCH INCREASE ON OR SUCH LATER DATE AS HE MAY SPECIFY. 44 COMP. GEN. 264 (1964). THE FIXING OF COMPENSATION UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES HERE INVOLVED SO AS TO PRESERVE THE EMPLOYEE'S PREVIOUS RATE OF PAY WAS AN EXERCISE OF ADMINISTRATIVE DISCRETION. THE FEDERAL EMPLOYEES SALARY ACT OF 1970 CONTAINS NO PROVISION AUTHORIZING THE RETROACTIVE ADJUSTMENT OF PAY FOR EMPLOYEES WHO WERE CONVERTED TO WAGE BOARD POSITIONS DURING THE RETROACTIVE PERIOD OF THAT ACT. COMPARE SECTION 2(C) OF PUBLIC LAW 84-94, 69 STAT. 174, AND SECTION 2(B)(9) OF PUBLIC LAW 85-462, 72 STAT. 206. THEREFORE, IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE RULE EXPRESSED ABOVE, THE PAY OF THE EMPLOYEES CONCERNED MAY NOT BE RETROACTIVELY ADJUSTED.