B-28359, SEPTEMBER 4, 1942, 22 COMP. GEN. 179

B-28359: Sep 4, 1942

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OF THE GRADE AND SALARY RATE OF A CUSTODIAL EMPLOYEE EXCEEDED THE $60 COMPENSATION INCREMENT IN BOTH HIS FORMER GRADE AND IN THE GRADE IN WHICH HE WAS PLACED PURSUANT TO THE ACT. 1942: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 21. AS FOLLOWS: REFERENCE IS MADE TO THE ACT OF AUGUST 1. UNDER THIS LAW IT IS NECESSARY TO INCREASE THE SALARIES OF A NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES IN THE CUSTODIAL SERVICE OF THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT IN ORDER THAT THEY MAY BE PAID AT THE ENTRANCE SALARY OF THE NEW GRADES ESTABLISHED BY THIS LEGISLATION. THE QUESTION ARISES AS TO WHETHER AN ADVANCE IN PAY BECAUSE OF PUBLIC LAW 694 IS TO BE CONSIDERED AN INCREASE IN SALARY UNDER THE ACT OF AUGUST 1. PLEASE ADVISE WHETHER A WATCHMAN IN THE CUSTODIAL SERVICE WHO WAS APPOINTED AT THE RATE OF $1.

B-28359, SEPTEMBER 4, 1942, 22 COMP. GEN. 179

COMPENSATION - WITHIN-GRADE PROMOTIONS - STATUTORY SALARY INCREASE AS "EQUIVALENT INCREASE" - CUSTODIAL EMPLOYEES WHERE THE COMPENSATION INCREASE RESULTING FROM THE REVISION REQUIRED BY THE ACT OF AUGUST 1, 1942, OF THE GRADE AND SALARY RATE OF A CUSTODIAL EMPLOYEE EXCEEDED THE $60 COMPENSATION INCREMENT IN BOTH HIS FORMER GRADE AND IN THE GRADE IN WHICH HE WAS PLACED PURSUANT TO THE ACT, SUCH INCREASE CONSTITUTES AN "EQUIVALENT INCREASE IN COMPENSATION" WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE WITHIN-GRADE SALARY-ADVANCEMENT STATUTE OF AUGUST 1, 1941, AND THE PRESIDENT'S REGULATIONS THEREUNDER, SO AS TO PRECLUDE AN AUTOMATIC PROMOTION UNDER THE LATTER STATUTE UNTIL THE BEGINNING OF THE QUARTER FOLLOWING THE EXPIRATION OF 18 MONTHS FROM THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE INCREASE.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO THE POSTMASTER GENERAL, SEPTEMBER 4, 1942:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 21, 1942, AS FOLLOWS:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO THE ACT OF AUGUST 1, 1942 ( PUBLIC LAW 694--- 77TH CONGRESS), WHICH AMENDS THE CLASSIFICATION ACT.

UNDER THIS LAW IT IS NECESSARY TO INCREASE THE SALARIES OF A NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES IN THE CUSTODIAL SERVICE OF THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT IN ORDER THAT THEY MAY BE PAID AT THE ENTRANCE SALARY OF THE NEW GRADES ESTABLISHED BY THIS LEGISLATION.

THE QUESTION ARISES AS TO WHETHER AN ADVANCE IN PAY BECAUSE OF PUBLIC LAW 694 IS TO BE CONSIDERED AN INCREASE IN SALARY UNDER THE ACT OF AUGUST 1, 1941 ( PUBLIC LAW 200--- 77TH CONGRESS), PROVIDING FOR AUTOMATIC INCREASES IN PAY.

AS A CONCRETE EXAMPLE, PLEASE ADVISE WHETHER A WATCHMAN IN THE CUSTODIAL SERVICE WHO WAS APPOINTED AT THE RATE OF $1,320 PER ANNUM ON FEBRUARY 1, 1941, AND WHO WAS INCREASED IN SALARY TO $1,500 PER ANNUM AND PLACED IN GRADE CPC-4 UNDER THE ACT OF AUGUST 1, 1942, EFFECTIVE THAT DATE, WILL BE ELIGIBLE FOR AN AUTOMATIC INCREASE IN SALARY EFFECTIVE OCTOBER 1, 1942, OR MARCH 1, 1944.

AUTOMATIC PROMOTIONS AUTHORIZED TO BE MADE UNDER THE ACT OF AUGUST 1, 1941, 55 STAT. 613, ARE SUBJECT TO THE CONDITION STATED IN THE STATUTE--- "THAT NO EQUIVALENT INCREASE IN COMPENSATION FROM ANY CAUSE WAS RECEIVED DURING SUCH PERIOD (18 OR 30 MONTHS), EXCEPT INCREASE MADE PURSUANT TO SUBSECTION (F) OF THIS SECTION.' ( ITALICS SUPPLIED.) THE EXCEPTION REFERRED TO PERTAINS TO ESPECIALLY MERITORIOUS PROMOTIONS NOT HERE INVOLVED.

EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 8882, DATED SEPTEMBER 3, 1941, ISSUED PURSUANT TO THE AUTHORITY VESTED IN THE PRESIDENT BY THE SAID ACT OF AUGUST 1, 1941, TO PROMULGATE REGULATIONS FOR ADMINISTERING THE STATUTE, CONTAINS A PROVISION AS FOLLOWS:

(D) "EQUIVALENT INCREASE IN COMPENSATION" SHALL MEAN ANY INCREASE OR INCREASES WHICH IN TOTAL ARE EQUAL TO OR GREATER THAN THE COMPENSATION INCREMENT IN THE LOWEST GRADE IN WHICH THE EMPLOYEE HAS SERVED DURING THE TIME PERIOD OF EIGHTEEN OR THIRTY MONTHS, AS THE CASE MAY BE.

THE WORDS "FROM ANY CAUSE," APPEARING IN THE STATUTE, WHEN CONSIDERED IN CONNECTION WITH THE REGULATIONS, CLEARLY CONTEMPLATE THAT ANY INCREASE IN THE BASE SALARY RATE OF AN EMPLOYEE EQUAL TO OR GREATER THAN THE AMOUNT OF ONE STEP OR COMPENSATION INCREMENT IN THE LOWEST GRADE HELD BY THE EMPLOYEE DURING THE DESIGNATED PERIOD CONSTITUTES AN "EQUIVALENT INCREASE IN COMPENSATION.' SEE 21 COMP. GEN. 285; ID. 326; ID. 369; ID. 478. COMPARE 21 ID. 569; ID. 773.

IF, BY OPERATION OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 1, 1942, PUBLIC LAW 694, 56 STAT. 733, THE EMPLOYEE REFERRED TO IN YOUR LETTER RECEIVED, EFFECTIVE AUGUST 1, 1942, AN INCREASE IN HIS BASE SALARY RATE FROM $1,320 TO $1,500 PER ANNUM, WHICH INCREASE IS EQUAL TO THE AMOUNT OF THREE STEPS OR COMPENSATION INCREMENTS OF $60 EACH IN GRADE CU-4 AND GRADE CPC-4, SUCH SALARY ADJUSTMENT REQUIRED BY OPERATION OF LAW IN THE BASE SALARY RATE OF THE EMPLOYEE CONSTITUTED AN "EQUIVALENT INCREASE IN COMPENSATION.' HENCE, THE EMPLOYEE WILL NOT BE ENTITLED TO AN AUTOMATIC PROMOTION IN GRADE CPC-4 ESTABLISHED BY THE ACT OF AUGUST 1, 1942, UNTIL APRIL 1, 1944 (NOT MARCH 1, 1944, AS SUGGESTED IN YOUR LETTER), THE BEGINNING OF THE FIRST QUARTER AFTER THE EXPIRATION OF 18 MONTHS FROM AUGUST 1, 1942.