9550.1 CPO P (Extended) Pay Administration and Position Classification Handbook

  • Posted Date: 06/08/2010
  • Status: Validated
  • Outdated on: 06/08/2022

GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION
                Washington, DC 20405
 

CPO P 9550.1, EXTENDED
June 8, 2010; Extended on December 8, 2020

GSA ORDER



SUBJECT:  Pay Administration and Position Classification Handbook

1.  Purpose.  This directive revises the handbook, Pay Administration and Position Classification (HCO P 9550.1).  This revision’s purpose is to revise and replace ch. 5, Superior Qualifications Appointment, of the existing Pay Administration and Position Classification HB, HCO P 9550.1.
 

2.  Explanation of revisions.  This chapter is being replaced in its entirety, incorporating the following changes: 

 a.  Reflect changes in responsibilities subsequent to the GM&A realignment effective November 2009. 

 b.  Clarify the use of the SQA for entry-level positions considering candidate’s education and/or experience. 

   c.  Delete reference to the Federal Personnel Manual.

   d.  Delete reference to the GM employees of the General Schedule.
 

   e.  Clarify criteria for authorizing a SQA and provide examples. Add explanation of “actual income/existing pay”. 




Gail T. Lovelace 
Chief Human Capital Officer 







Attachment

PAY ADMINISTRATION AND POSITION CLASSIFICATION

GENERAL TABLE OF CONTENTS

CHAPTER         1.  GENERAL

CHAPTER         2.  PAY PLANS AND AUTHORITIES

CHAPTER         3.  PAY RATES UPON APPOINTMENT (RESERVED)
 

CHAPTER         4.  HIGHEST PREVIOUS RATE

CHAPTER         5.  SUPERIOR QUAIFICATIONS APPOINTMENT

CHAPTER         6.  REEMPLOYMENT OF MILITARY AND CIVILIAN RETIREES TO MEET EXCEPTIONAL EMPLOYMENT NEEDS

CHAPTER         7.  TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES
 

CHAPTER         8.  RECRUITMENT, RELOCATION AND RETENTION INCENTIVES 

APPENDIX  8-A.       SERVICE AGREEMENT – RECRUITMENT INCENTIVE 

APPENDIX  8-B.       SERVICE AGREEMENT – RELOCATION INCENTIVE 

APPENDIX  8-C.       SERVICE AGREEMENT – RETENTION INCENTIVE 

APPENDIX  8-D.       GSA 3-Rs POLICY AT A GLANCE

CHAPTER         9.  SPECIAL SALARY (RESERVED)

CHAPTER        10.  FEDERAL WAGE SYSTEM (RESERVED)

CHAPTER         11.  PROMOTIONS(RESERVED)

CHAPTER         12.  WITHIN-GRADE AND QUALITY STEP INCREASES (RESERVED)
 

CHAPTER         13.  PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT AND RECOGNITION SYSTEM (RESERVED) 

CHAPTER         14.  CHANGE TO LOWER GRADE (RESERVED)

CHAPTER        15.  GRADE AND PAY RETENTION (RESERVED)

CHAPTER         16.  OVERTIME (RESERVED)

CHAPTER        17.  OTHER PREMIUM PAY (RESERVED)

CHAPTER        18. ALLOWANCES AND DIFFERENTIALS (RESERVED)

CHAPTER        19.  (RESERVED)

CHAPTER         20.  (RESERVED)

CHAPTER        21.  (RESERVED)

CHAPTER         22.  (RESERVED)

CHAPTER         23.  (RESERVED)

CHAPTER         24.  (RESERVED)

CHAPTER         25.  (RESERVED)

CHAPTER        26.  CLASSIFYING POSITIONS

CHAPTER         27.  POSITION MANAGEMENT

CHAPTER        28.  POSITIONS DESCRIPTIONS

CHAPTER         29.  CLASSIFICATION APPEALS

                        TABLE OF CONTENTS

            CHAPTER 1. GENERAL PROVISIONS

Paragraph                                                    Paragraph
Titles                                                       Numbers

Scope....................................................        1
 
Applicability............................................        2 
Responsibility for pay and position classification.......        3 



CHAPTER 1. GENERAL PROVISIONS 

1.    Scope.

        a.    This handbook contains policies and procedures for administering pay and position classification within the General Services Administration (GSA).  It is intended to improve the quality and availability of information by incorporating relevant information from the GSA Administrative Manual, prevailing policy, and appropriate legislation.  While it is for general use by all GSA employees, this handbook sometimes uses language taken from legislation, regulation, and other sources that is necessary to properly state GSA policy. 

     b.    General Schedule employees are distinguished from wage system employees in this HB as required by legal or regulatory provisions: 

              (1)     General Schedule positions are subject to provisions of the Classification Act of 1949, as amended (codified in 5 U.S.C. ch. 51).  These positions involve the performance or supervision of clerical, administrative, professional, scientific, technical, and fiscal work. 

             (2)     Federal Wage System positions are subject to the provisions of 5 U.S.C. ch. 53, subch.  IV, which provides for a job-grading and pay fixing system for prevailing rate employees.  These jobs involve supervision or performance of duties in recognized trades or crafts, skilled mechanical crafts, or in unskilled, semiskilled or skilled manual labor occupations.

2.     Applicability. The provisions of this handbook apply to all employees of GSA except the Administrator, and members of the Senior Executive Service (SES), unless otherwise noted.

3.     Responsibility for pay and position classification.  The Director of Personnel (CP) is responsible for establishing policies and procedures for administering pay and position classification in GSA.





                 TABLE OF CONTENTS 

       CHAPTER 2.  PAY PLANS AND AUTHORITIES

Paragraph                                                    Paragraph
Titles                                                       Numbers

Pay plans in GSA.........................................        1
 
PIRS and PIPS pay tables (RESERVED)......................        2 
Authority for pay administration (RESERVED)..............        3 
General pay setting rules (RESERVED).....................        4 
Assigning rates of pay to individual employees (RESERVED)        5 
Position or appointment changes (RESERVED)...............        6 
General pay increases (RESERVED).........................        7 
References (RESERVED)....................................        8 


CHAPTER 2. PAY PLANS AND AUTHORITIES

1.    Pay plans in GSA. 

    a.    Executive positions exempt from the General Schedule. The following General Services Administration (GSA) positions are not under the General Schedule:

             (1)     Positions under the Executive Schedule; and
 

             (2)     Positions in the Senior Executive Service (SES). 

The rates of basic pay for these positions are adjusted by presidential pay recommendations pursuant to the Ethics Reform Act of November 30, 1989 (Pub.  L. 101-94). 

   b.    General Schedule positions.  Employees in positions subject to 5 U.S.C. ch. 51 are paid in accordance with basic schedules and compensation rules governing pay under the General Schedule (5 U.S.C. ch. 53, subch.  III), the Fair Labor Standards Act  (29 U.S.C. ch.8), and regulations and instructions issued by the Office of Personnel Management (Federal Personnel Manual chapters, and other OPM issuances coded in the 500 series, e.g., position classification, pay,allowances, etc.). 

   c.    Wage system positions.  Employees in recognized trades, crafts, or other skilled mechanical crafts; employees in unskilled, semi-skilled, or skilled manual-labor; and other employees, including foremen and supervisors in positions having trade, craft, or labor experience and knowledge as the paramountrequirement, are exempted from the General Schedule (5 U.S.C. 5102(c)(7)).  Compensation of these employees is to be fixed and adjusted from time to time as nearly as is consistent with the public interest in accordance with prevailing rates (5 U.S.C. 5341).  In GSA, the pay plan for wage system jobs includes the following:

            (1)     Wage system jobs are evaluated as provided in subch.  S6 of FPM Supplement 532-1 and proper wage system grades assigned.

            (2)     Prevailing rates are determined through periodic locality wage surveys conducted by a lead agency designated by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to plan the survey, analyze the wage data, and determine and issue required wage schedules for an area.  GSA may be requested to serve as a wage data collector in the conduct of a full-scale wage change survey.  Revised wage rate schedules for each labor market area are issued once every 12 to 15 months.

            (3)    GSA issues the following wage schedules for compensating wage system employees:

                     (a)    The Regular Wage Schedule of the Federal Wage System (FWS) contains rates applicable to trade, craft, and labor (including custodial) jobs concerned with the operation and maintenance of buildings and grounds and to trade, craft, material-handling, and industrial-type manual-labor jobs in shops, depots, and similar facilities.  The schedule provides five step rates within each wage system grade level for nonsupervisory employees and five rates for lead and supervisory employees.

                     (b)     The Printing and Lithographic Wage Schedule contains rates applicable to printing and lithographic wage jobs.  The schedule provides for three step rates within each wage system grade level. (In an area for which a Printing and Lithographic Wage Schedule has not been approved, employees in such jobs are paid on the basis of the Regular FWS Wage Schedule.)
 

   d.     Staff employees of former President.  GSA provides an office staff for each former President without regard to civil service and classification laws (3 U.S.C. 102 note).  Each former President fixes basic rates of pay for employees on his staff.  The rate of pay for any such staff employee may not exceed the highest annual rate of basic pay for positions at level II of the Executive Schedule (5 U.S.C. 5313). 

2 thru 8.   Reserved. 



CHAPTER 3.  RESERVED






CHAPTER 4.  HIGHEST PREVIOUS RATE (HPR) 

Paragraph                                                                                    Paragraph 
Title                                                                                             Number 

Definitions………………………………………………………………….................................          1
Basis for highest previous rate…………………………………..................          2
Determining maximum payable rate…………………………………….....          3
FWS pay setting………………………………………………………….........................…         4
GSA policy on applying highest previous rate…………………          5 


CHAPTER 4.  HIGHEST PREVIOUS RATE (HPR)

1.     Definitions.

   a.  Actual earned rate.  The rate a Federal Wage System (FWS) employee was actually earning just before the effective date of the personnel action for which pay is to be set under the highest previous rate rules.  The actual earned rate method is one of two methods used in the FWS for calculating highest permissible rate.  The alternative method is the FWS corresponding rate method. (See subpar. 4a.)

   b.  Existing rate of basic pay.  The rate received immediately before the effective date of a transfer, promotion, demotion, or reassignment.  It is the rate the employee earned just before the pay setting personnel action.

   c.  Highest earned rate.  The highest rate earned as a civilian Federal employee.  This rate is not necessarily the "highest previous rate." A rate must meet certain requirements, described in par. 2, to count as the highest previous rate.  This term should not be confused with a similar term, "actual earned rate," used in the FWS.

   d. Highest permissible rate.  As used in this chapter, applies to the FWS system, where the term is functionally equivalent to "maximum payable rate." The term "maximum payable rate" is not mentioned in the regulations prescribing pay setting under the highest previous rate rules in the Federal Wage System.  This term is adopted as a convenient label for describing the process that those regulations require.

   e. Highest previous rate (HPR).  The highest creditable rate of basic pay previously paid to an individual while employed in a branch of the Federal Government (executive, legislative, or judicial) or a mixed ownership corporation, regardless of whether the position was under the General Schedule.  This is not necessarily the highest earned rate.  A rate must meet the requirements of par. 2 to count as the highest previous rate.  The highest previous rate is an actual annualized rate of pay, not a grade and step.

   f.  Maximum payable rate.  The highest rate at which an employee's pay can be set under the Governmentwide HPR rules.  GSA policy described in par. 5 prescribes when the maximum payable rate or some lesser rate under the HPR rule can be used in setting pay.  Strictly speaking, this term does not apply to pay setting in the Federal Wage System. (See subpar. 1d.)

   g.  Rate of basic pay.  The rate of pay for the position fixed by law or administrative action and before any deductions and exclusive of additional pay of any kind.  Differentials, allowances, and premium pay are never included in the highest previous rate.  The Federal Employees Pay Comparability Act of 1990 (FEPCA) provides for interim geographic adjustments, locality adjustments, supervisory differentials, staffing differentials, retention allowances, etc.  None of these count as part of basic pay for pay setting purposes and are not part of any highest previous rate.  Similarly, in the Federal Wage System, the rate of basic pay for highest previous rate does not include night shift differential, which normally counts as part of basic pay.

   h.  Relative position.  The place that the highest previous rate falls within the salary range of a grade, expressed to at least seven decimal places.  To find the relative position, take the difference between the highest previous rate and the minimum rate for the grade and divide it by the salary range for the grade.  Carry the division out to at least seven decimal places.  The relative position method is used only in connection with the Performance Management and Recognition System.  The Office of Personnel Management recently codified it at 5 CFR 531.203(c)(2).

2.    Basis for highest previous rate.

   a.  Except as otherwise provided in this section, the highest previous rate must be based on:

         (1)    A regular tour of duty, either full-time or part-time; rates earned on an intermittent or when-actually-employed work schedule cannot be used as the HPR because those work schedules are not regular; and

         (2)   An appointment over 90 days or a series of appointments over 90 days without a break in service.  The length of time the employee held the position is irrelevant as long as the appointment itself was not limited to 90 days or less.

   b.  The highest previous rate must not be based on a rate earned as an expert or consultant, a rate held only during a supervisory or managerial probationary period from which the employee was removed, a rate from a position where either the rate or the position itself was not legally attained, or a rate from a former position from which the employee was removed for misconduct, delinquency, or poor performance.

   c.  The highest previous rate must not be based on a rate received by an employee of the District of Columbia who was first employed by that government on or after October 1, 1987.

         (1)   The date of first employment, not the date of the rate itself, is the deciding factor.  Salaries for District employees hired before October 1, 1987, count as the HPR even though the employee earned the rate itself after that date.

         (2)   OPM regulations at 5 CFR 531.203(d)(2)(v) supersede the HPR guidance in FPM Letter 531-61, dated September 7, 1989.  The regulations also supersede the previous contrary decision of the Comptroller General in the Langello case, B-214541, September 30, 1986.

   d.  Usually a special salary rate established under 5 U.S.C. 5303 does not count as an HPR.  Instead, find the corresponding rate for that grade and step on the regular General Schedule, or regular FWS schedule, or the relative position in the salary range in the PMRS.  Use that corresponding rate as the HPR.  For instance, an employee in Washington, DC, in 1990 earned a rate of $21,201 as a GS-5/7, clerical covered by the special rates schedule in that area.  The corresponding rate on the regular General Schedule for GS-5/7, $19,569, would be used as the HPR.

   e.  When duly authorized, a special salary rate may be used as the HPR when all these limited circumstances occur:

         (1)   The reassignment must be to another position in the same agency, not between agencies or in connection with an appointment, conversion, or change to lower grade;

         (2)   The special rate must be the employee's current rate of basic pay, not a former rate;

         (3)   An agency official specifically designated to make such determinations must approve in writing case by case.  Initially, this means Heads of Central Office Services and Staff Offices and Regional Administrators.  (See the Delegations of Authority Manual, ADM P 5450.39C).  Ideally, the official will be in line of authority above both the gaining and losing organizations, to allow the perspective necessary for weighing overall advantage to the organization; and

         (4)   The designated official must find in writing that the need for the services of the employee and his/her contribution to the program of the agency will be greater in the position to which he/she is being reassigned.  This is to protect the integrity of the special rates program.

                  (a)  The reasons must be sufficient to overcome the presumption of greater need and larger contribution in the job from which the employee is being reassigned, that is, the job covered by special rates.

                  (b)   It is not sufficient that the gaining office wants the special rate salary used as the HPR.  As an interested party, it cannot impartially weigh the need for the employee's services or contribution in his/her current organization against its own need or the employee's potential contribution in its own organization.  Nevertheless, the gaining office should explain in writing why it wants the special rate used as the HPR.

                  (c)   The Personnel Officer's findings must be in writing either as an annotation on the SF 52, Request for Personnel Action, or as a memorandum for the record attached to it.  The finding must state, in so many words, that the employee's special salary rate was used as the highest previous rate because the need for the services of the employee and his/her contribution to the program of the agency will be greater in the position to which he/she is being reassigned.  The finding must also include the particular reasons that support the conclusion of greater need and benefit.

                  (d)   Examples:

                           (i) The job in the gaining organization is critical to its mission or requires the unique skills of the employee.

                           (ii) The losing organization has multiple jobs like the one being vacated but the gaining organization has only one or very few.

                           (iii) The labor market is very tight or the job site in the gaining organization is isolated or otherwise undesirable.

                           (iv) A hiring freeze precludes filling the job by appointment or by transfer from outside the agency.

                           (v) In anticipation of, or to avoid a RIF.

                  (e)    Note:  Upward mobility reassignments are already covered by the pay retention rules, which give the employee benefits at least equal to, and sometimes greater than, the highest previous rate rules.

   f.  An HPR may be based on a rate received in a position to which the employee was temporarily promoted for 1 year or more, or upon permanent placement to a position at the same or higher grade to which the employee was temporarily promoted for any period. (5 CFR 531.203(d)(2)(ii))

3.    Determining maximum payable rate.

   a.  Setting pay in PMRS.  Employees in positions outside the Performance Management and Recognition System (PMRS), e.g., the General Schedule, have their pay set at a grade and step.  Employees in PMRS positions do not have steps in their grade.  Pay in PMRS can be at any rate within the salary range.  Because of this difference, maximum payable rates are calculated differently.  For HPR under the consolidated Federal Wage System (FWS), see par. 4.

   b.  Setting a GS step rate.  Rates on the General Schedule are annual rates.  If the HPR is not already an annual rate (e.g., an hourly FWS rate), turn it into an annual rate as described in subpar. b(3), below.  Then compare the annual rate HPR with the rates on the pay schedule in effect at the time the rate was earned, in the grade in which pay is currently being set.  Find the lowest step of that grade that was equal to or higher than the highest previous rate.  If the HPR falls between two step rates, use the higher rate.  If the HPR is above the rate for 10th step of the grade, use the maximum rate.  Find the current rate of basic pay for that step and grade.  This is the maximum payable rate.

          (1)   Setting dollar rate for HPR.  The highest previous rate is a dollar rate, not a grade and step.  Regulations in 5 CFR 231.203(c)(1) mandate comparison between rates in effect at the time the dollar rate HPR was earned to find the appropriate grade and step for the maximum payable rate.  Only then is the current pay schedule examined to find the current rate for that step and grade.  Shortcut methods that look only to the current General Schedule are contrary to regulation and could yield the wrong answer; the Federal Pay Comparability Act does not require equal percent increases in each grade at the time of the general pay increase.  If a comparability adjustment gave different percentage increases to different grades, it would change the relationships among grades and steps on different schedules from different years.  Also, the multiplier used to annualize hourly rates was different in different periods.  See subpar. (3) below.

          (2)   GS step from GS HPR.  If the HPR was earned in the General Schedule, it is already an annual rate.  Look on the General Schedule in effect at the time the HPR was earned.  Look at the grade in which pay is to be set (not the grade in which it was earned).  Find the lowest rate in that grade that equals or exceeds the HPR.  If there is no such rate, take the maximum rate (step 10).  Find the rate on the current General Schedule corresponding to that step.  This is the maximum payable rate. (5 CFR 531.203(c)(1)).   For example, an employee whose HPR of $23,207 was earned in 1987 (as a GS-9/2) is being reinstated in 1990 as a GS-7.  In 1987, the dollar rate for GS-9/2,  $23,207, fell between the rates then in effect for GS-7/8,  $22,642 and step 9, $23,254.  The current (1990) rate for GS-7/9 is $25,579; this is the maximum payable rate.

          (3)   Annual rate from hourly rate.  An hourly rate first is annualized by multiplying it by either 2,080 or 2,087 depending on the work year multiplier that was in effect at the time the employee earned the highest previous rate.  The 2,087 multiplier is permanent effective March 2, 1986, and it was also effective during the period from January 4, 1984, through October 12, 1985, inclusive.  Before January 4, 1984, the multiplier was 2,080.  It was also 2,080 between October 13, 1985 and March 1, 1986, inclusive. (FPM Letter 531-59.)  For example, a rate from March 1982 of $8.54 is annualized to $17,763 ($8.54 x 2,080 - $17,763).  That same hourly rate of $8.54 earned in March 1984 would be annualized to $17,823 ($8.54 x 2,087 = $17,823).

          (4)   GS step from hourly FWS HPR.  The step method holds for an hourly rate earned under the FWS system.  The only difference is that hourly rate must first be annualized as described in subpar. (3), above.  Take the annualized rate and look on the General Schedule in effect at the time the HPR was earned.  Look at the GS grade in which pay is to be set.  Find the lowest rate in that grade that equals or exceeds the HPR. If there is no such rate, take the maximum rate (step 10).  Find the rate on the current General Schedule corresponding to that step.  That is the maximum payable rate.  (The previous method of calculating equivalent GS grades for FWS rates, formerly prescribed by 5 CFR 531.203, is obsolete.)  For example, take the rate of $8.54 earned in March 1984 annualized to $17,823.  Assume pay is to be set for a GS-6 job.  In 1984, the annualized rate $17,823 fell between steps 5, $17,565, and 6, $18,082.  Take the higher step (6) and find the rate for it on the current General Schedule.  It is $21,204, which is the maximum payable rate.

          (5)   GS step from PMRS rate.  This step method is used even for an HPR earned in a PMRS position so long as pay is to be set in a non-PMRS position.  (5 CFR 531.203(c)(1)).  What counts is the kind of position for which pay is being set; the kind of position in which the HPR was earned is irrelevant.  Consider an HPR of $47,300 earned in a PMRS position in 1987.  (It does not matter whether this rate was earned as a GM-13 or GM-14; the result is the same.)  Assume that pay is to be set in a GS-13 position.  The HPR of $47,300 did not correspond to any step; it fell between step 7, $46,473 and step 8, $47,764 in grade GS-13 in 1987.  The current rate (1990) for the higher step, step 8, is the maximum payable rate, $52,541.

   c.  Setting pay in the PMRS.   In setting pay for PMRS positions, the method for calculating the maximum payable rate is different because there are no steps in the grade of the position for which pay is to be set.  PMRS salaries can be any dollar amount in the salary range for the grade.  Since there are no steps, the highest previous rate must first be expressed as a relative position in the salary range for the grade in which pay is to be set.  Then the comparison can be done with the old and new pay schedules.  The relative position method is prescribed in OPM regulations in 5 CFR 531.203(c)(2).

          (1)  The relative position is the place that the highest previous rate fell within the salary range of the target grade, expressed as a decimal.  It is found by taking the difference between the highest previous rate and the minimum rate for the grade and dividing it by the salary range for the grade, carrying it out to at least seven decimal places.  This extreme degree of precision is necessary to ensure that subsequent merit increases are properly calculated and paid.  Merit increases depend on the employee's relative position in the salary range.  For instance, a rate of $51,500 in 1990 has a relative position of 0.6963224 in grade GM-13.  The salary range in GM-13 is $12,780 ($55,381 -$42,601 = $12,780).  The difference between $51,500 and the minimum rate is $8,899 ($51,500 - $42,601 = $8,899).  Dividing the difference by the salary range yields the relative position ($8,899.0000000/$12,780.0000000 = 0.6963224).  In grade GM-14, the rates are higher and the salary range, $15,102 is longer ($65,444 - $50,342).  Hence, the same rate would have a lower relative position in GM-14. ($51,500 - $50,342 = $1,158 and $1,158.0000000/$15,102.0000000 = 0.0766786).

          (2)   Like GS steps, relative positions show how far a rate is above the minimum rate for a grade except that the increments are much smaller.  There are nine steps above the minimum of a GS salary range.  Relative positions start at 0.0000000 for the lowest rate in a salary range and rise to 1.0000000 for the top rate.  Each GS step above step one is one ninth higher (0.1111111) in the salary range for the grade.  A PMRS rate exactly equal to a step rate has a relative position that is an exact multiple of 0.1111111.  (Step 3 = 0.2222222, step 7 = 0.6666666, but step 10 is 1.0000000 rather than 0.9999999).  If the highest previous rate is above the maximum rate for the grade, then the relative position mathematically would be higher than 1.0000000.  However, in that case it is not necessary to go through all the steps of the relative position method.  The maximum payable rate is the top rate in the grade (step 10 in a GS grade).

          (3)   The relative position method is best explained by an example.  Consider an HPR of $46,200 earned in 1985 in a PMRS position.  Pay is to be set in a GM-13 position.  (The grade in which the HPR was earned does not matter; it could have been GS/GM-13 or GS/GM-14.)  The difference between the HPR rate and the minimum rate for grade 13 (1985) was  $46,200 - $37,599 or $8,601.  (Grade 13, not grade 14, is used because pay is to be set in grade 13.)  The salary range in 1985 for GS-13 was $48,876 - $37,599, = $11,277 (the lowest rate subtracted from the top rate).  Dividing the difference above the lowest rate ($8,601) by the range ($11,277) gives the relative position.  For the rate of $46,200 earned in 1985, the relative position is 0.7627028; that is, about three-quarters the way along the salary range ($8,601.0000000/$11,277.0000000 = 0.7627028).  This relative position is then applied against the current range for the grade to find the maximum payable rate.  The current range (1990) is $55,381 - $42,601 = $12,780.  Multiplying the relative position by the current range gives the dollar amount by which the maximum payable rate exceeds the minimum rate for the grade (0.7627028 x 12,780 = 9747.3417840 or $9,748).  Round up to the next whole dollar instead of to the nearest dollar.  Adding the amount over the lowest rate to the lowest rate yields the maximum payable rate itself, $52,349. (9,748 + 42,601 = $52,349.)

          (4)   The method is the same for an HPR that was a step rate on the regular General Schedule.  What counts is the pay system in which pay is being set, not the system in which it was earned.  Consider an HPR of $42,341 earned as a GS-12/10 in 1987.  Pay is being set in the PMRS for a GM-13 position.  In 1987, that rate fell between steps 3 and 4 in the grade 13 salary range.  Its precise relative position was 0.3110423. The rate range in 1987 was $50,346 - $38,727 = $11,619, and the amount over the minimum rate was $42,341 - $38,727 = $3,614.  Dividing the range by the amount the HPR was above the minimum yields a relative position of 0.3110423 ($3,614.0000000/$11,619 = 0. 3110423.  The current range (1990) is $55,381 - $42,601 = $12,780.  Multiplying the relative position by the current range gives the dollar amount by which the maximum payable rate exceeds the minimum rate for the grade, (0.3110423 x 12,780 = 3975.1205940 or $3,976), rounding up to the next whole dollar.  Adding the amount over the lowest rate to the lowest rate yields the maximum payable rate itself, $46,377 ($3,776 + $42,601 = $46,377).

          (5)   However a short cut is available when that HPR was exactly equal to a step rate in the target PMRS grade at the time the HPR was earned.  In 1987 a rate of $43,891 was exactly at step 5 of the GS/GM range.  Its relative position is 0.4444444. This is true whether the rate was earned as a GS step rate, a GM rate or an annualized FWS rate.  Since the step 5 in 1990 is also exactly in relative position 0.4444444, the maximum payable rate is the current rate for step 5, $48,281.  This is the only time you can safely treat the HPR as a step instead of as an exact dollar amount.

   d.  HPR rates from special rate schedules.  A rate from a special salary rate schedule may not be used as a highest previous rate without the approval process in par. 2.   A rate on a special salary schedule may be the highest earned rate, but it usually does not qualify as the highest previous rate.  However, once the highest earned rate from a special salary rate schedule is transformed into its corresponding rate on the regular General Schedule, that lower rate becomes the highest previous rate.  Be careful to transform special rates into regular rates in the same grade the rate was earned in, regardless of the grade in which pay will finally be set.  Use the regular and special rate schedules in effect at the time the employee got that highest earned rate.

          (1)   When the HPR is a step rate on a special salary rate schedule, take the grade and step of the rate from the special salary rate schedule and look on the regular General Schedule for the dollar rate of the corresponding grade and step.  That can be used as the HPR.  Consider a rate of $16,723 earned as a clerk-typist GS-4/8 in 1986 in Boston.  The rate for the corresponding step on the regular General Schedule in 1986 was $15,865.  This regular rate, not the special rate, qualifies as a highest previous rate and may be used in the normal way to find the maximum payable rate or highest permissible rate in accordance with the rules for the appropriate pay system, whether GS, PMRS, FWS.

          (2)   Over the last 4 years, the number of employees in GSA on special rates has risen from fewer than 200 to more than 2600.  Reassignments from special rates to regular rates have become common.  When the HPR from the special rate job is merely the regular rate equivalent, employees lose money upon voluntary reassignment.  Consider a GS-4/5 clerk-typist in Washington, DC, earning $16,784, a special rate.  The HPR from this job is the regular rate equivalent of that special rate, $15,016.  Upon voluntary reassignment to a job not covered by special rates, the employee's pay would be set at $15,016.  For HPR purposes, the reassignment is from one GS-4/5 job at regular rates to another.  Hence, OPM delegated discretionary authority to agencies to use the special rate as the HPR and avoid putting the employee on a lower rate of pay.  This discretionary authority applies only to reassignment within the agency, when the Personnel Officer finds in writing that the need for the services of the employee and his/her contribution to the program of the agency will be greater in the position to which he/she is being reassigned. (See par. 2.)

          (3)   Pay retention rules apply when employees are involuntarily placed in a regular rate job from a special rate job or from one special rate schedule to a lower special rate schedule.  If the special rate fell within the regular rate range for the grade, pay would be set at the lowest rate that equals or exceeds the existing rate.  In such cases, although pay is set under the pay retention rules (and not under HPR rules), the employee does not go on pay retention.  If the special rate were higher than the regular rate maximum, the employee would keep his/her existing rate and go on pay retention.

                  (a)   Reassignment of a special rate employee is considered involuntary when the employee applies under a vacancy announcement issued as part of a formal employee development program utilized Governmentwide:  upward mobility programs like Career Advancement Development Agreement and Training and Advancement Development Agreement in GSA, career intern programs, and apprenticeship programs.

                   (b)   With an ordinary vacancy announcement under a merit promotion plan and not part of an upward mobility program, the reassignment is considered to be at the employee's request, which bars pay retention.

          (4)   To use a PMRS rate from a special salary rate schedule, first find its relative position as a PMRS rate regular General Schedule in effect at the time it was earned.  As with a step rate, use the grade in which the rate was earned.  Calculate the relative position of the rate on the special salary rate schedule and use it to find the corresponding rate for a GM position on the regular General Schedule.  This highest previous rate can then be used in the normal way to find the maximum payable rate or highest permissible rate in accordance with the rules for the appropriate pay system (GS, PMRS, FWS).  GSA has few special rate jobs in the grade range of the Performance Management and Recognition System, GM-13 thru 15, so this set of calculations should be rare.  Consider a highest earned rate of $45,700 from a special salary rate schedule, a rate the employee earned in 1984 as a GM-13 petroleum engineer in another agency.  That highest earned rate is equivalent to a highest previous rate of $43,370.

                   (a)   First subtract the minimum rate on the special salary rate schedule from the highest earned rate ($45,700 -$39,186 = $6,514) and subtract the minimum rate on the special salary rate schedule from the maximum rate ($49,266 - $39,186 = $10,080).  Divide the first result by the second to find the relative position of the. special rate ($6 f 514.0000000/$10,080 = 0.6462302).

                   (b)   Next calculate the salary range in the regular General Schedule by subtracting the minimum from the maximum rates on that schedule ($47,226 - $36,327 = $10,899).  Apply the relative position to that range by multiplying the relative position by the salary range of the regular General Schedule (0.6462302 x $10,899 = $7043.2629498 = $7,043).  Add that dollar amount to the minimum regular rate ($7,043 + $36,327 = $43,370).  The result is $43,370, the highest previous rate on the regular General Schedule corresponding to the special rate of $45,700.

                   (c)   Next find the maximum payable rate for the pay system and grade in which pay is to be set.  When setting pay with this rate in the PMRS itself, apply the relative position, already calculated, to the current 1990 schedule.  The current range is $55,381 - $42,60l = $12,780 and 0.6462302 x $12,780 = $8,258.8219560 or $8,259.  Add that amount to the minimum or the GM-13 range to find the maximum payable rate of $50,860 ($42,601 + $8,259 = $50,860).

                   (d)   When setting pay in a regular GS rate, find the lowest rate in the grade that equals or exceeds the HPR of $43,370 in 1984.  Its equivalent in 1990 is the maximum payable rate.  When setting pay in the FWS, convert the current equivalent of the HPR to an hourly rate and compare it to the appropriate FWS schedule ($50,860/2087.00 = $24.37). (See subpar. 4e.)

   e.  Movement into special rates jobs.   Pay setting  is  simpler when the HPR or the existing rate is from a  job covered by the regular General Schedule to one covered by  a special salary rate schedule.  Apply the regulations governing the pay system under which pay is to be set.  Determine the step, rate, or relative position in the PMRS range on the regular General Schedule, without regard to the special salary rate schedule.  The rate for the corresponding step, rate, or position on the special salary rate schedule is the maximum payable rate.  Within the limits of administrative discretion, described in par 5, officials with the authority to set pay may set it at or below that maximum payable rate.

            (1)   With reappointment to a job in the same grade, the maximum payable rate is the rate for the same grade and step as the HPR on the special rate schedule.  For instance, a realty specialist had worked until 1989 in Kansas City as a GS-12/2 earning $35,733.  After moving to San Francisco, GSA hired her for a similar GS-12 job covered by special rates.  Her maximum payable rate in 1990 is the current special rate for step 2, $40,601.

          (2)   With reappointment in a lower grade or change to lower grade, use the regular General Schedule in effect at the time the rate was earned.  In the grade for which pay is being set, find the lowest step rate that equals or exceeds the HPR.  Suppose a realty specialist in the prior example was rehired in grade GS-11.  On the 1989 regular General Schedule, the HPR of $35,733 fell between the rates for GS-11/8, $35,586 and GS-11/9, $36,548.  The current special rate in San Francisco for GS-11/9, is $42,989.  This is her maximum payable rate.  It is actually higher than in the GS-12 job in the prior example.  The difference between special rates and regular rates on that schedule is $4,980 at GS-11, but only $3,582 at GS-12.

           (3)   With reappointment in the same grade of the PMRS, use the relative position method.  Assume a GM-13 engineer resigned in 1989 from a regular rate job that had a final salary of $45,100.  He is being reinstated in New York City as a Civil Engineer GM-13, a job covered by a special salary rate schedule.

                   (a)   Apply the relative position of the regular rate job to the salary range for GM-13 on the special salary rate schedule.  The salary range in 1989 on the regular General Schedule was $12,339 ($53,460 - $41,121 = $12,339).

                   (b)   The difference between the HPR and the minimum rate was $3,979 ($45,100 - $41,121 = $3,979).  Divide to find the relative position, 0.3224735 (3,979/12,339 = 0.3224735).

                   (c)   The salary range on the current special rate schedule in New York is $12,780 ($58,221 - $45,441 = $12,780).

                   (d)   Multiply to find the amount by which the maximum payable rate exceeds the minimum rate on the special salary rate schedule, $4,122, rounding up to the next whole dollar (0.3224735 x $12,780 - $4,121.2113300 = $4,122).

                   (e)   Add that amount to the minimum rate to get the maximum payable rate, $49,563 ($4,122 + $45,441 = $49,563).

          (4)   With reappointment or change to lower grade in the PMRS, the calculations are much the same except that the relative positions are for the grade in which pay is being set.  Assume a GM-14 civil engineer in New York is being demoted to a GM-13 in 1990.  Both jobs are in the PMRS but only the GM-13 job is covered by special rates.  GM-13 is the top grade on that schedule.  Hence, this movement is from regular rates to special rates.  Assume the GM-14 is earning $51,250.  First calculate the relative position of that rate in the GM-13 range and on the regular General Schedule, not the special rate schedule.  Only the target grade is of interest.  The regular GM-13 range is $12,780 ($55,381- $42,601 = $12,780).  The difference between the HPR and the regular minimum GM-13 rate is $8,649 ($51,250 -$42,601 = $8,649).  Hence, the relative position in the regular GM-13 range, here to eight decimal places, is 0.67676056 ($8649/ 12780 = 0.67676056).

          (5)   The salary range in the special rate schedule is also $12,780 because OPM set the step interval the same on both schedules.  Hence, even without calculating, the maximum payable rate is also $8,649 above the minimum rate on that schedule.  The reason eight decimal places are needed in this case is that calculating to only seven decimal places introduces a rounding error.  The division of $8,649/$12,780 to only seven decimal places yields a quotient of 0.6767606. If you multiply it by the salary range of $12,780 you get an amount slightly more than with eight decimal places.  Compare 0.6767606 x 12780 = 8649.0004680, which by rounding up to the next whole dollar comes to $8,650, to 0.67676056 x 12780 = 8648.99995680, which by rounding up is still $8,649.  See also FPM Letter 540-2.

          (6)   If the special rate range were different, use that range in the calculation.  In any event, add the result to the minimum special rate to find the maximum payable rate, $54,090 ($8,649 + $45,441 = $54,090).

          (7)   If such calculations are programmed on a computer, rounding up means adding 0.99 to the product of the relative position and the salary range and truncating everything after the decimal point.  Thus 0.67676056 x 12780 = 8648.99995680 and 8648.99995680 + 0.99 = 8649.98995680 = 8649.

4.  FWS pay setting.  If the HPR was earned in a wage job, the highest permissible rate is the higher of two rates.  Find the lowest rate on the new wage schedule that equals or exceeds the actual earned rate.  (See subpar a.)  Then separately find the lowest rate on the new wage schedule that equals or exceeds the current rate of the grade and step of the former job on the same type wage schedule in the wage area in which the
employee is being employed. (See subpar b.)  Take whichever is higher.  (See subpar. f.) If the HPR was earned in a GS job, the highest permissible rate is the lowest rate on the new wage schedule that equals or exceeds the current rate for the GS grade and step, converted to an hourly rate.  (See subpar e.)  In pay setting for the FWS, only the current pay schedules are used and the applicable wage schedule is the one for the wage area in which pay is to be set, not the one for the area in which the highest previous rate was actually earned (unless it is the same).  The term "maximum payable rate" is not used for the FWS.

   a.   Actual earned rate method.  For an HPR based on the employee's actual earned rate, take that rate in dollars and cents and find the lowest step rate in the grade in which pay is to be set that equals or exceeds that actual earned rate.  That lowest step is the highest permissible rate under the actual earned rate rule.  Note the actual earned rate is not the same as the "highest earned rate" for GS positions as defined in subpar.  la.  The actual earned rate is always a rate that meets HPR requirements.  The highest earned rate may or may not meet those requirements.  For example, an employee formerly a WG-10/2 in Ohio earning $8.76 is reinstated in San Francisco in a WG-9 position. (The pay table for grade WG-9 in San Francisco is shown below.)

                Step 1      Step 2       Step 3      Step 4       Step 5

WG-9          8.19            8.54            8.88           9.22            9.56

The HPR of $8.76 based on an actual earned rate falls between steps 2 and 3, so the highest permissible rate under the actual earned rate is the step 3 rate, $8.88. In another example, an employee formerly a WG-10/2 in Baltimore, MD, earning $10.35 is reinstated in San Francisco in a WG-9 position.  The HPR of $10.35 based on an actual earned rate is above step 5 so the highest permissible rate under the actual earned rate method is the step 5 rate, $9.56.

   b.   FWS corresponding rate.  With this method, the highest permissible rate is the lowest current rate on the new wage schedule that equals or exceeds the rate corresponding to that of the former job.  The corresponding rate is the rate for the same grade and step, on the same type wage schedule. (See subpar. (c) below), and in the wage area in which the employee is being employed.  First, find the current rate of the grade and step of the former job on the same type wage schedule in the wage area in which the employee is being employed.  Next, find the lowest rate in the grade in which pay is being set that equals or exceeds that rate.  That is the highest permissible rate.  For example, an employee is being reinstated in San Francisco in a WG-8 position.  His/her highest previous rate of $8.45 was earned in another wage area, Denver, CO, as a WG-10/2.  The current value of that rate in grade WG-10/2 in San Francisco is $9.00.  (Refer to the wage schedule below.)  To find the highest permissible rate in WG-8, find the lowest rate that equals or exceeds $9.00.  The rate of $9.00 falls between the rates for step 4, $8.71 and step 5, $9.03.  The highest permissible rate under the corresponding rate method then is $9.03.

                Step 1        Step 2       Step 3      Step 4       Step 5

WG-8          $7.74           8.06            8.39             8.71           9.03 

WG-10        $8.64           9.00            9.36             9.72        10.08

   c.   Identifying the same type wage schedule.  The corresponding rate is for the same grade and step, in the wage area in which the employee is being employed, on the same type wage schedule.  Some wage areas have two wage schedules, a regular FWS schedule (pay plans WG, WL, WS, WD, WN) with five steps in each grade and a printing and lithographic schedule (pay plans XP, XL, XS, XD, XN) with three steps in each grade.  Most wage areas have only a regular wage schedule.  Printing and lithographic jobs are paid off the regular FWS schedule in those areas.  If the HPR is being applied in the same wage area it was earned, there is no problem in finding a corresponding rate "on the same type wage schedule." In most instances there is also no problem in applying an HPR from one wage area to another.  There is always a match for an HPR from a regular wage schedule because all wage areas have regular wage schedules.  For instance, WG-11/ 4 will always match WG-11/4.  If the HPR was from a printing and lithographic schedule and the new wage area has a printing and lithographic schedule, the corresponding rate is on the printing and lithographic schedule.  For example, match XP-7/3 in the old wage area to the XP-7/3 in the new wage area.

   d.  The problem arises when the HPR was from a printing and lithographic schedule (in an area with two schedules), but the new wage area does not have a printing and lithographic schedule.  In that case, you must use the regular wage schedule in the new area, matching the type of pay plan, and exactly matching the grade and step corresponding to the HPR.  The rule for matching pay plans is WG = XP (nonsupervisory), WL - XL (leaders), WS = XS (supervisors), WD = XD (production facilitators), and WN = XN (supervisory production facilitators).  For example, WG-7/2 in the new area matches XP-7/2 in the old wage area.

   e.  The match between types of wage schedules for the corresponding rate has nothing to do with the type of wage schedule in which pay is to be set.  For instance, an HPR from a WG-5/2 corresponds to WG-5/2 in the new wage area regardless of the type of wage schedule or pay plan for which pay is being set.  Consider an employee being reinstated in Washington, DC, in an XP-7 position.  His/her highest previous rate of  $9.46 was earned in another wage area, Scranton-Wilkes-Barre, PA, as a WG-10/4.

The current value of the corresponding rate in grade WG-10/4 in Washington, DC, is $11.88. (Refer to the wage schedule below.) To find the highest permissible rate in XP-7, find the lowest rate that equals or exceeds $11.88. The rate of  $11.88 falls between the rates for step 1, $11.52, and step 2, $12.00. The highest permissible rate under the corresponding rate method then is $12.00.


                   Step 1       Step 2       Step 3      Step 4      Step 5

WG-10        $10.56        11.00        11.44        11.88        12.32

XP-7             $11.52        12.00        12.48

   f.   Using both methods.  If the HPR was earned in a wage job, the highest permissible rate is the higher of the two rates calculated from the actual earned rate method and the corresponding rate method.  Consider an employee who earned $9.86 as a WG-10/2 and is being reinstated in a WG-8 position.  Assume the rates for WG-8 and WG-10 in the wage area are as shown below.  Using the corresponding rate method, the current value of the original HPR (of $9.86) for WG-10/2 is the current rate for WG-10/2, $10.71. That rate falls between the rates for steps 3 and 4 for WG-8.  The highest permissible rate under the corresponding rate method is the rate for the higher step 4, or $10.74. Under the actual earned rate method, pay could be set no higher than $9.94 because the actual earned rate of $9.86 falls between the rates for steps 1 and 2. This is much less than the current value of the HPR based on the corresponding rate.  If the actual earned rate had been $10.79 (in the old wage area), then under the actual earned rate method pay could have been set at the rate for WG-8/5 because $10.79 falls between the rates for steps 4, $10.74, and 5, $11.14.

                    Step 1         Step 2       Step  3      Step 4         Step 5

WG-8              $9.54            9.94           10.34         10.74            11.14

WG-10          $10.28         10.71           11.14         11.56            11.99

   g.   Annual rate HPR.  The process is different for a highest previous rate earned as an annual rate of pay.  For a GS employee, the HPR is the current rate for the same grade and step, converted to an hourly rate.  To find the current value of the highest previous rate, take that grade and step and find the current rate on the General Schedule, then divide it by 2,087.  If the annual rate were earned as a step rate from a special salary schedule, find the current rate for the same grade and step on the regular General Schedule and convert it to an hourly rate by dividing by 2,087.  Since the FWS pay setting process looks to current pay schedules, the divisor is always 2,087.  For example, a rate of $23,207 as a GS-9/2 in March 1987 equates to a current rate of $25,529 on the current (1990) General Schedule.  Convert this to an hourly rate by dividing it by 2,087.  The hourly rate therefore is $12.23 ($25,529/2,087 - $12.23). On the current FWS wage schedule, find the lowest rate that equals or exceeds the HPR of $12.23. Assume the employee is being reinstated to a job as a WG-10 using the wage schedule below.  The $12.23 falls between the rates for steps 2, $11.80, and 3, $12.27. The employee's pay could be set as high as the rate for step 3, $12.27. If the reinstatement were to WG-8, then the rate of $12.23 would fall between steps 4 and 5 in that grade.  Step 5 would be the highest permissible rate ($12.54) at which pay could be set.

                    Step 1        Step 2      Step 3      Step 4         Step 5

WG-8            $10.74          11.19        11.64         12.09           12.54

WG-10          $11.33          11.80       12.27          12.74           13.21

   h.   PMRS rates conversions.  Step rates from GS special salary rate schedules convert easily.  PMRS rates are harder to use because there are no steps.  Instead, the relative position is used.  For PMRS rates not from a special rate schedule, the relative position in the former regular PMRS range for the rate is used to find the rate for that relative position on the current regular PMRS range.  That rate can then be converted to an hourly rate by dividing by 2,087 and used to find the highest permissible rate on the current FWS schedule.  When the highest earned rate was for a PMRS special rate position, first convert a PMRS special rate to a PMRS annual rate on the regular General Schedule in effect when that PMRS special rate was earned.  This is the only time where the HPR process for FWS positions looks back at past pay schedules instead of current schedules.  The process looks back to get the relative position on the former regular PMRS schedule and then looks to the corresponding rate in the current regular PMRS range.  All three rates have the same relative position, the rate in the former special PMRS range, the rate for the former regular PMRS range, and the rate for the current regular PMRS range.  (See subpar. 3c.)

5.    GSA policy on applying highest previous rate.  The maximum payable rate for annual rate positions and the highest permissible rate for the FWS are maximum rates that the agency may pay under Governmentwide pay-setting rules.  Under those rules, agencies may set pay at any rate in the grade but no higher than the maximum payable rate or highest permissible rate and no lower than the lowest rate in the grade.  As a matter of policy, agencies place limits on the discretion of their managers to set pay within that range.

   a.  Administrative discretion.  The Governmentwide rules on highest previous rate and the GSA policies described here apply to reinstatement, transfer, promotion, reassignment, conversion and change to lower grade.  Except where GSA policy specifically prescribes a rule, pay may be set at any rate up to the maximum payable rate or the highest permissible rate.  Local management may set pay at any lower rate, even the minimum rate in the grade, unless a specific rule applies.

          (1)   Factors to consider in setting pay under the highest previous rate provisions include keeping salaries competitive with other employers, equity among employees, the qualifications or experience of the applicant in relation to the duties of the new position and similar considerations.

          (2)   Within the limits of managerial discretion, employees are not automatically entitled to the maximum payable rate.  Pay-setting decisions should not be based on a presumption that pay must or even should be set at the maximum payable rate.  A lower rate should not be looked upon as a penalty.  Instead, any exercise of discretion to pay more than the minimum rate of the grade (up to the maximum payable rate) should depend on an affirmation of some positive benefit to the Government for the higher pay rather than on the absence of any negative factors.

          (3)   Except where GSA policy specifically prescribes a rule, the existing rate of basic pay should be used as if it were the highest previous rate.  Thus, in most cases of reassignment, transfer, demotion, or promotion, pay would not be set under HPR rules using a different and higher rate even though it is the employee's actual highest previous rate.  Administrative discretion allows for rare exceptions when fully justified.

          (4)   GSA has deliberately not established a hard and fast rule for continuous service within the agency, whereby employees are guaranteed a rate at least equal to their existing rate.  Except for movements between regular rate and special rate jobs, pay in fact is usually set at a rate at least equal to the existing rate.  However, administrative discretion allows for exceptions.

          (5)   See also par. 2 for which rates qualify as the highest previous rate in the first place.

   b.  Reemployment priority list.  When a former GSA employee is reemployed from a reemployment priority list, pay must be set no lower than the maximum payable rate or the highest permissible rate when that maximum payable rate or highest permissible rate is based on the rate the employee held upon separation.  If the rate on separation was not the highest previous rate, pay may be set at any rate at or below the maximum payable rate, but no lower than what the maximum payable rate would have been if it were based on the rate at separation. (An employee reclassified or RIFed in the past or who took a voluntary change to lower grade may have an HPR considerably higher than the existing rate of basic pay upon separation.) For instance, an employee whose maximum payable rate (based on the rate at separation) is the rate for step 5 must be reinstated at that rate and not at a lower rate. if, based on the employee's highest previous rate from an earlier job, the actual maximum payable rate is step 9, the employee must be reinstated no lower than step 5 and may be reinstated at any higher rate up to step 9, the maximum payable rate.

   c.   Demotion for cause.  For involuntary change to lower grade when the employee is at fault (demotion for cause), the GSA policy sets an agency maximum rate lower than the Governmentwide maximum payable rate or highest permissible rate.  Pay must be set no higher than the GSA maximum rate, but local management has discretion to set it as low as the minimum rate in the grade.  An involuntary change to lower grade for cause can be either for misconduct or for inefficiency.  In demotions for cause, the first rule is that, regardless of whether it is for misconduct or inefficiency, when pay is set in the lower grade, an employee must not receive an increase in pay.  The rule is implemented by using the existing rate of basic pay as if it were the highest previous rate.  When that existing rate falls between two rates in the lower grade, use the lower rate as the initial new rate. (Under the Governmentwide rules, the higher rate is the maximum payable rate or the highest permissible rate.) For demotion to a PMRS position the first rule is satisfied even if the rate in the lower grade is the same as the existing rate of basic pay.  The key point of the first rule is that pay may not increase.

   d.  Misconduct.  Pay setting in misconduct cases is governed by two rules.  The first rule, already described, is that an employee may not get a pay increase.  The second rule is that pay must be reduced from the initial rate, unless it is already at the lowest rate in the new grade by the first rule.  For positions with step rates, pay must be set at least one full step lower.  For PMRS positions, pay must be reduced at least 3 percent but not lower than the minimum rate for the grade.

          (1)   Local management has discretion to set pay lower based on such factors as the seriousness of the offense, the degree to which the employee was at fault, equity with other employees, consistency with past practice or local policy.

          (2)   An example of a misconduct case is a demotion of a GS-9 employee to GS-7.  Assume the employee is at GS-9/2, $25,529.  In the GS-7 range, that rate falls between step 8, $24,906, and step 9, $25,579.  By the first rule, take the rate for the lower step, $24,906.  By the second rule, pay is set at least a full step lower at GS-7/7, $24,233.  Consider a demotion to a PMRS position, in this case a GM-14 being demoted to GM-13.  Assume the employee earns $47,850.  That rate falls within the GM-13 range so, by the first rule, the initial rate is $47,850.  In a demotion for misconduct, that initial rate would be reduced by 3 percent to  $46,415. ($47,850 x .03 = $1,435 and $47,850 -$1,435 = $46,415.)

   e.   Inefficiency.  If the demotion were for inefficiency, only the first rule is mandatory.  However, for inefficiency cases, local management may also exercise discretion and set pay lower than the initial rate derived from the first rule, based on such factors as how poorly the employee has performed, the degree to which the employee was at fault, equity with other employees, consistency with past practice or local policy.  Consider a demotion of a GS-9 employee to GS-7.  Assume the employee is at GS-9/2, $25,529.  In the GS-7 range that rate falls between step 8, $24,906, and step 9, $25,579.  By the first rule, take the rate for the lower step, $24,906.  Because the demotion is for inefficiency, only the first rule is mandatory.  Pay could be set lower at local discretion.  Consider a demotion to a PMRS position, in this case a GM-14 being demoted to GM-13.  Assume the employee earns $47,850.  That rate falls within the GM-13 range so, by the first rule, the initial rate is $47,850.  No further reductions are mandatory for inefficiency, although pay could be set lower at local discretion.

   f.  Involuntary demotion - no fault.  In an involuntary change to lower grade when the employee is not at fault, pay is set under either the rules for pay retention or the HPR rules, depending on whether the employee is eligible for pay retention.  If an eligible employee's salary is outside the range of the lower grade, pay retention applies.  If an ineligible employee's salary is outside the range, pay is set at the maximum rate of the lower grade.  If an employee's existing rate falls within the salary range of the lower grade, the employee, even though otherwise eligible, will not need or go on pay retention.  Instead, pay is set at the lowest rate in the new grade that equals or exceeds the existing rate of basic pay.  If the demotion is to a PMRS position, the employee retains the existing rate of basic pay since that is the lowest rate that "equals or exceeds" the existing rate.

          (1)   Whether it is done under the HPR rules for ineligible employees or the pay retention rules for eligible employees, the calculation is the same whenever the employee's existing rate falls within the salary range of the lower grade.  For those covered by HPR rules (i.e., employees ineligible for pay retention) the existing rate is used as the highest previous rate and the employee gets the higher step when that rate falls between two steps of the grade.  For example, at GS-9/2, $25,529 is involuntarily changed to GS-7.  In the GS-7 range, that rate falls between step 8, $24,906, and step 9, $25,579.  The rate for the higher step, $25,579, is used.

          (2)   A highest previous rate unrelated to the existing rate may not be used in this situation to calculate the maximum payable rate.  An unrelated rate could not be used under the pay retention rules either, where they apply.  Hence, the calculation under the pay retention rules for eligible employees gives the exact same result.

   g.   Voluntary change to lower grade.  Sometimes an employee volunteers for a change to a lower grade for his or her own convenience or benefit.  In GSA, the existing rate of basic pay must be used as if it were the highest previous rate.  Pay may be set at any rate up to the maximum payable rate or highest permissible rate based on the existing rate.  However, setting pay at the maximum payable rate is objectionable when it leads to more rapid pay advancement than normally possible.  When it is likely that the employee will soon (within 6 months) be repromoted back to the higher grade, pay must be set lower than the maximum payable rate.  It must be set low enough in the lower grade so that upon repromotion the employee's pay will not be higher than the pay the employee would have received had the employee remained at the higher grade, taking into account the two-step promotion rule in the General Schedule, or the rule for an increase equal to 4 percent of the going rate for the grade in an FWS position, and within-grade increases that would accrue in both grades.  The particular rate at which pay should be set in the lower grade depends on the anticipated timing of the subsequent promotion and any within-grade increases the employee would normally receive for continuous service at the same grade.  (See subpar. h.)

   h.   Objectionable use of HPR.  This concept is best explained with an example.  Assume an employee at GS-4/1, $14,573, requests a voluntary change to lower grade after 6 months in grade.  The maximum payable rate is $14,714, GS-3/5, and pay would normally be set at that rate.  Next, assume that the employee is promoted only 3 months later back to GS-4.  By the two-step promotion rule, the employee's pay in GS-4 would increase by at least twice the amount of a within-grade increase in GS-3, that is by $866 (2 x $433 = $866).  Pay in GS-4 would have to be at least $14,160 ($14,714 + $866 = $15,580).  That dollar amount falls between GS-4/3, $15,545, and GS-4/4, $16,031.  Pay would be set at the higher step, $16,031.  Had the employee remained in GS-4 all the time, pay would have been at $14,573 after a total of 9 months in grade.  Such rapid advance in the higher grade is objectionable when demotion is voluntary and repromotion is expected within 6 months.

          (1)  The rule on objectionable use of the HPR prevents employees from manipulating the pay system in this way.  To avoid objectionable use of the HPR rules, set pay lower than at the maximum payable rate, GS-3/5, in this case at GS-3/2.  Consider the extract from the General Schedule below.  Under the two-step promotion rule if pay in GS-3 were set at step 2 (instead of step 5), then upon repromotion to GS-4, the employee would be entitled to pay at least at $14,281.  GS-4/1, $14,573, is the lowest step rate in GS-4 that equals or exceeds that amount required by the two-step promotion rule.  Compare this with the result of setting pay in GS-3 even one step higher.  If pay were set at step 3, $13,848, then upon repromotion the employee would have to get at least the amount of step 5, $14,714, which falls between steps 1 and 2 of GS-4.

                  Step 1      Step 2       Step 3        Step 4         Step 5

GS-3          $12,982     13,415        13,848        14,281         14,714

GS-4          $14,573     15,059        15,345        16,031         16,517

          (2)   If the change to lower grade happened after 9 months at GS-4 and the repromotion came after 5 months, the rate of pay the employee would have had by continuous service at GS-4 would be higher thanks to a within-grade increase to step 2. Pay for continuous service at GS-4/2 would be $15,059.  Pay in GS-3 could be set at step 3 (but no higher) because, upon repromotion from that step, the employee would get the rate for GS-4/2, the same rate as for continuous service.  Note the reference date for comparing pay from continuous service and from demotion and subsequent promotion is the date when promotion is anticipated. 


               

                              Table of Contents

 


CHAPTER 5.  SUPERIOR QUALIFICATIONS APPOINTMENTS (Cancelled by HRM 9531.1 Superior Qualifications and Special Needs Pay Setting Authority - signed April 8, 2016)

 



Paragraph                                     Paragraph
Title                                           Number
 

Introduction...........................................               1 
Definitions............................................                2 
Applicability.........................................                3 
Policy.................................................                4 
Responsibilities...................................                 5 
Criteria...............................................                 6 
Determining the Rate of the SQA.........                  7 
Procedures........................................                 8 
Documentation and Recordkeeping......                 9 







CHAPTER 5.  SUPERIOR QUALIFICATIONS APPOINTMENTS





1.      Introduction. This chapter provides policies and procedures for requesting and authorizing a superior qualifications appointment (SQA) to a General Schedule (GS) position in accordance with the provisions of Title 5 United States Code, section 5333 and the Code of Federal Regulations, 5 CFR Part 531, Subpart B.  

2.      Definitions.

   a.   "Approving official" refers to the Chief People Officer (CPO) or his/her designee who serves as the "Approving official", responsible for final review and approval/disapproval of requests for superior qualifications appointments.  

   b.   "Recommending official" refers to the selecting official who is responsible for initiation of a request to approve a SQA. The recommending official is responsible for preparing the initial request for superior qualifications appointment in coordination with the human resources office and for ensuring that the request fully meets the established criteria for approval.  The recommending official is responsible for obtaining the necessary coordination, review and approvals.  

   c.   "Reviewing official" refers to the official in the organization who is responsible for funds control. The reviewing official is responsible for reviewing the initiated request and either concurs or does not concur with the request.  Reviewing officials may be Heads of Services and Staff Offices (HSSO), Regional Administrators or designated officials who are responsible for reviewing the request.

   d.   "Special need" may exist when the type, level, or quality of skills and competencies or other qualities and experience possessed by the candidate are relevant to the requirements of the position, and are essential to accomplishing an important agency mission, goal, or program activity. A candidate also may meet the special needs criteria by meeting agency workforce needs, as documented in the agency's
strategic human capital plan.  The special need may exist within the entire agency, within a major activity of the agency, or within a particular project in support of the agency or the activity's basic mission.  Ordinarily, the special need will occur in a position involving direct program management or operation rather than in a position providing administrative support.

   e.   "Superior qualifications appointment" means an appointment made at a rate above the minimum rate of the appropriate General Schedule (GS) grade under authority of section 5333 of Title 5, United States Code, based on the superior qualifications of the applicant or a special need of the agency for the candidate's services.

3.     Applicability. The authority applies to GS appointees who have superior qualifications or who meet a special agency need, and who are entering the Federal service for the first time or returning to Federal employment after a break in service of 90 calendar days or more from their last period of Federal employment or employment with the District of Columbia.  Limited exceptions to the 90-day limitation are provided in 5 CFR 531.212(a)(3).

4.     Policy.

   a.   The SQA is not merely intended to match a candidate’s rate of pay, but rather is intended to improve the ability of the Federal Government and the agency to compete with private sector employers for top-quality candidates when those candidates have unusually high qualifications or meet a special need of the agency. The rate of pay may not exceed that authorized by regulation (i.e., may not exceed the step 10 of the grade to which the candidate is appointed).  Pay will normally be set at a rate that approximates the applicant's existing rate of pay, and the rate of pay to be offered may not exceed a candidate's existing pay by more than 20 percent (existing pay to include incentives, consulting pay, or fringe benefits that are substantially better than those offered by the Federal Government).  Only in extremely unusual cases where it can be demonstrated that the applicant has exceptionally unique skills or qualifications may the pay be offered in excess of 20 percent of the candidate's existing pay.
 

   b.     A written determination to authorize a rate of pay above the minimum rate of a GS grade must be made before the applicant enters on duty in the position to which appointed.

   c.     It is generally expected that superior qualifications appointments will be to journeyman level or senior level positions.  When a candidate for an entry-level position has only education and no work experience, a superior qualifications appointment should only be considered when the applicant possesses either:
 

           (1)     An undergraduate or higher degree with a grade point average of 3.5 or higher in a field of study related to the position being filled;  or

           (2)     Education in a unique specialty series (e.g., Fire Prevention Engineer) that is needed by the agency and for which it is hard to find high-quality applicants.

           (3)  Consideration should be given to the use of the Superior academic achievement (S.A.A.) appointment which provides for hiring candidates who have achieved superior academic standing into advanced trainee positions (i.e., GS-07) instead of using the SQA because the SQA would result in a higher rate of pay at each promotion whereas the SAA allows for initial appointment at a higher grade. (Refer to OPM’s Operating Manual: Qualifications Standards for General Schedule Positions.)
 

           (4)  When an entry-level candidate has relevant experience, that experience will be considered in accordance with the provisions of par. 6b. 

   d.     Superior qualifications appointments may not be made on the basis of the individual's race, color, sex, age, religion, national origin or handicapping condition.

5.    Responsibilities.

   a.    Approving Official.  The Chief People Officer or his/her designee, reviews and approves or denies all requests for superior qualifications appointments.  

   b.    Chief People Office.  The Chief People Officer establishes the policies for, and oversees the making of superior qualifications appointments, and reviews and approves or denies all requests for superior qualifications appointments that are offered to one individual in combination with other incentive payment requests, e.g., Student Loan Repayment or recruitment incentive.

   c.    Recommending official.  The recommending official is responsible for initiating a request for an appointment above the minimum rate, for determining the rate, and coordinates with the servicing HR office to ensure that the justification fully meets the established criteria for approval.  Generally recommending official is the selecting official.  The recommending official is responsible for obtaining the necessary coordination, reviews, and approvals.

   d.     Servicing Human Resources Director.  The servicing Human Resources Director is responsible for advising managers who wish to use this authority on all aspects of the authority, and reviewing all requests to ensure that the justification meets the established criteria for approval and all procedural aspects are followed.

   e.     Reviewing official.  The reviewing official is responsible for determining the availability of funds within the organization.

6.    Criteria for authorizing a superior qualifications appointment.

   a.      Difficulty in filling the position.  In determining whether a superior qualifications appointment should be authorized, the recommending, reviewing and approving officials should consider the difficulty that would be encountered in filling a position with a high quality applicant or in meeting a special agency need and include a description and results of recent recruitment efforts in the prepared justification (see par. 6c).
 

   b.    Demonstrably superior qualifications.  A superior qualifications determination should be based on the relevance of the candidate’s experience and education to the particular work he or she will perform, and on the quality of the candidate’s accomplishments compared to others in the occupational field.  In making the determination, the agency should consider the following: 

                (1)   the overall quality of the candidates available in terms of demonstrated competencies for the position being filled ;

              (2)   the particular requirements of the position being filled;
 

              (3)   any high level experience or education directly related to the position;

              (4)   the candidate’s reputation in the occupational field (e.g., through publications, lectures or leadership roles in professional organizations).

   c.      The following specific factors should be addressed in the justification and considered in making the determination whether to approve a SQA:

           (1)     The success of recent efforts to recruit high quality applicants for similar positions, including indicators such as offer acceptance rates, the proportion of positions filled, and the length of time required to fill similar positions;

           (2)      Recent turnover in similar positions;

           (3)      Labor-market factors that may affect the ability of GSA to recruit high quality applicants for similar positions now or in the future;
   
                         (a)  Labor market statistics are reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and can be found on the Department of Labor’s website at
http://www.bls.gov/.   

                         (b)  As an example, a discussion of labor market statistics may include the following analysis: based on Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projections for the workforce and labor market, we would expect to encounter difficulty filling the position, and would certainly not find another individual with comparable experience to be able to fulfill the requirements of the position within a reasonable period of time.  While the unemployment rate in the Washington, DC metro area remains over ___%, the BLS projects that employment opportunities for (occupation /  field ) will increase, especially in the private sector based on heightened emphasis on (goal/requirement), and that in this field “overall employment / employment opportunities is / are expected to grow by 17 percent between 2006 and 2016”

               (4)      Special qualifications needed for the position;

               (5)     The practicality of using a recruitment incentive as authorized by 5 U.S.C. 5753 instead of a SQA.  Unlike a SQA, a recruitment incentive is a one-time payment that has no effect on future pay entitlements or retirement, life insurance, and premium pay entitlements. Generally, therefore, a superior qualifications appointment will be significantly more costly than a recruitment incentive because it increases the employee's rate of basic pay indefinitely.  By increasing basic pay, the superior qualifications appointment has a lasting effect on the employee's retirement, life insurance, and premium pay entitlements.  A recruitment incentive is also appropriate when filling a hard-to-fill position, and may be used as an incentive to attract an applicant who is already earning a salary comparable to that which the Federal agency can offer.  A recruitment incentive may be preferable if pay equity within an organization is an issue.  If management does not wish to disturb basic pay alignments among current employees performing similar work, a recruitment incentive may be a more appropriate method to attract a superior applicant.  A recruitment incentive may also be more appropriate than the SQA for entry level positions where the applicant demonstrates only education or limited experience.

7.    Determining the rate of pay for a superior qualifications appointment.

  a.    Efforts should be made to maintain equity between the pay of the new appointee and that of current employees doing comparable work.  Decisions to pay above the first step should be based on a variety of factors that include, but are not limited to, post-graduate degrees related to the position being filled, professional licenses, exceptional or high–level work experience, all of which indicate the extent to which the selected candidate’s competencies clearly exceed those of the other candidates. When a decision is made to set pay higher than the first step, it should be based on the fact that the candidate’s credentials are not commonly found in the agency workforce or candidate pool.

  b.     The rate of pay should ensure that the initial compensation offer is sufficiently competitive to attract the applicant who offers the best available professional and technical talent and expertise.

  c.     In addition to the factors in par. 6, the following factors should be addressed and considered in the justification:

             (1)   The applicant's recent salary history (for purposes of the SQA, within the past year); current salary; salary increases already scheduled; bona fide competing job offers; and current fringe benefits that have no parallel in the Federal service;

                    (a)  Actual income/existing pay.  A candidate’s actual income is what he or she earns in his or her current position or would earn in a position for which the candidate has a current, firm offer.  A candidate who is leaving his or her current employment or who is unemployed would not be earning any income. The candidate’s income must be considered based on current employment, a bona fide offer of employment, or on a reasonable expectation of continued employment (see par (b).  Documentation of salary should be in the form of a W-2, tax return or pay statement.  A bona fide offer of employment must be documented in writing, clearly offer current employment and include job title, salary or salary range, location and reporting date.  
 

                    (b)  In addition to the above, a “reasonable expectation of employment” for the candidate should be assessed.  If a candidate has no current income or bona fide offer of employment, a determination should be made as to whether he or she has a realistic prospect of obtaining employment at the former salary level.  Factors to consider include unemployment rates for the occupation in the location, length of time the candidate has been unemployed, any trends, such as industry-wide reduction in jobs that would affect employment prospects, and average salaries for the occupation.

              (2)    The special skills or qualifications that uniquely equip the applicant to meet a specific agency need and a demonstrated exceptional level of professional and/or academic credentials;

              (3)     Budget considerations and policies;

              (4)     The rates of pay previously authorized in similar situations; and,

              (5)     Any other appropriate factor(s).

8.   Procedures for requesting approval for a superior qualifications appointment.

   a.    The recommending official will prepare the request for superior qualifications appointment.  The request must include the following:
 

              (1)     Name of the appointee;

              (2)     Applicant's resume or other form submitted as application for Federal employment;

              (3)     Title, series, and grade of the position to which the applicant will be appointed, to include a copy of the position description;

              (4)      List of recruiting sources used and a description and results of recent recruitment efforts (the Human Resources office can assist in this determination);

              (5)      Recommended rate above minimum rate;

              (6)      Written justification for the appointment and rate taking into consideration criteria in pars. 6 and 7;

              (7)      Reasons for authorizing a rate above minimum rate instead of, or in addition to, a recruitment incentive; and,

              (8)      If the approving official authority has not been delegated to the servicing Human Resources Director, the servicing Human Resources Director’s coordination, review of and comments on any additional factors that should be considered in determining whether to approve the request.

   b.    The reviewing official will review the request and ensure that funds are available.  If the reviewing official certifies that funds are available and concurs in the request, the request will be forwarded to the approving official for final review and approval or disapproval.

   c.    The approving official will review the request and will either approve or disapprove the superior qualifications appointment for the grade.  The request will be forwarded to the servicing Human Resources office representative for further processing.

   d.     If the request is approved, the servicing Human Resources office representative will:

             (1)      Prepare the official job offer letter stating the grade and step approved.

Note:  This presumes that proper authority to make the appointment exists; that in addition to meeting qualification requirements for the position, the candidate meets all eligibility requirements for employment in the position; and that all pre-employment requirements, including security clearances and background checks have been properly adjudicated.  

             (2)      Annotate and process the Request for Personnel Action (RPA/ SF52) for the appointment, and forward it to the Consolidated Processing Center with all supporting documents.   Include required remark P4 – Pay set using the superior qualifications and special needs pay-setting authority under 5 CFR 531.212, and enter Pay Rate Determinant (PRD) as “7” which indicates that the employee is hired at a pay rate above the minimum rate of the grade. Note: PRD Code 7 is used only on the action that appointed the employee at a superior qualifications rate; code 0 or another appropriate code is used on actions subsequent to the appointment action.    

   e.     If the request is not approved by the approving official, the request will be maintained in the requesting office for recordkeeping purposes. 

9.    Documentation and recordkeeping.  The Consolidated Processing Center will be responsible for maintaining the original requests and supporting documentation for superior qualifications appointments.  These records will be maintained for a minimum of 2 years.  These records must include the documentation listed in par. 6 and 7. This documentation will be made available for review upon request by OPM or authorized GSA agency officials (e.g., as part of Delegated Examining Unit audits and Human Resources Office and program reviews) or to be provided in response to special requests from OPM or other oversight agency.

CHAPTER 6.  REEMPLOYMENT OF FEDERAL RETIREES 

TO MEET EXCEPTIONAL EMPLOYMENT NEEDS


1.    Introduction.  This chapter provides policy and procedures for requesting and approving waivers of the dual compensation restrictions for Federal annuitants, who would otherwise be subject to reduction in retired or retainer pay or annuity.  

2.    Applicability.  
 

   a.  The provisions of this chapter apply to the employment of annuitants who would be subject 
to annuity offset.  “Annuitant" (or retiree) refers to a current or former civilian employee who is receiving an annuity under chapter 83 or chapter 84 of subpart G in Part III of Title 5, United States Code, based on his or her service, and to current employees who meet the legal requirements and are applying for, or have announced their intention to apply for, such annuity. 

   b.  Delegated authority may be used to waive offset or reduction of annuity benefits for retired annuitants hired to meet temporary workforce needs in acquisition-related positions.  For purposes of this policy, acquisition-related positions are defined by the GSA Acquisition Workforce Definition (see paragraph 11).   

Note:  Requests for waivers of dual compensation restrictions to reemploy retired annuitants into non acquisition-related positions are processed similarly to requests for acquisition-related positions, except that these requests must be forwarded to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) for approval after receiving the appropriate agency approvals as outlined in Paragraphs 6 and 7 of this Order. 

   c.     Among other functions, reemployed annuitants can:

         (1)  Act as mentors to entry and mid-level staff and provide on-the-job training and coaching;

         (2)  Serve as additional staff for short-term projects or surges;
 

         (3)  Provide staffing flexibility to support emergency acquisition needs (e.g., natural disasters or other emergencies);

         (4)  Provide a knowledge pool for best practices that could be leveraged across agenciesand provide support in the training and development of less experienced employees;

         (5)  Serve as a consulting resource to address specific agency acquisition issues; or
 

         (6)  Provide support to program managers as acquisition experts to more effectively link contracting and program functions and improve the acquisition process.

3.    Policy.

   a.     A request for waiver of dual compensation restrictions for retirees without an offset or reduction in retirement benefits is intended to be a rare exception and requires the approval of the Chief Human Capital Officer (CHCO).

   b.     Waivers to the reduction in pay or retirement benefits may be authorized:

       (1)    For temporary employment that is necessary due to an emergency involving a direct threat to life or property or other unusual circumstances;
 

       (2)     Based on exceptional difficulty in recruiting a qualified employee;

       (3)     Based on exceptional difficulty in retaining a qualified employee; or
 

       (4)     Based on the unique or unusually high qualifications of an individual.  In such cases, GSA may consider a waiver based on the need for the services of a retiree who is uniquely qualified for an ongoing project, initiative, or other mission-related work.            

   c.     The applicant must be off the agency's rolls before a formal request is submitted.
 

        d.      A written approval from the Chief Human Capital Officer (CHCO) must be obtained before the annuitant enters on duty in the position to which appointed.

   e.     The formal waiver approval will establish a time limit in each case to coincide with expected duration of the requestor’s exceptional need.  Continuation of the waiver beyond the limit set in an individual case must be requested on the same basis as initial authorization.

4.    Appointments.
 

   a.     May be made into full-time or part-time positions on a time-limited basis depending on the individual circumstances and needs of the organization; 

   b.     Will be processed in accordance with the provisions of the type of appointment action being taken as specified in the OPM Guide to Processing Personnel Actions, including proper notification of reemployment to OPM; 

   c.     Must follow merit promotion procedures or exceptions to merit promotion procedures, as applicable;

   d.     Must follow the provisions of Bargaining Agreements, as applicable;
 

   e.     Must follow the provisions of the HHS Career Transition Assistance Plan (CTAP), Interagency Career Transition Plan (ICTAP), and Reemployment Priority List (RPL); and 

   f.     Are subject to public notice requirements under 5 U.S.C. §§ 3327 and 3330, and 5 CFR Part 330.

5.   Responsibilities.

   a.     Recommending official.  The recommending official is responsible for preparing the initial request for waiver of dual compensation restrictions in coordination with the human resources office and for ensuring that the request fully meets the established criteria for approval.  The recommending official is responsible for obtaining the necessary coordination, review and approvals.  

   b.      Servicing human resources officer.  The servicing human resources officer or his/her designated representative is responsible for advising management on all aspects of the policy on reemployment of a federal retiree to meet an exceptional employment need.  This includes providing information on the advantages and disadvantages of requesting a waiver. Also, the human resources office will review proposed requests and provide any additional information that may affect the final approval/disapproval decision.  

   c.      Reviewing official.  The reviewing official is responsible for reviewing the initiated request and either concurs or does not concur with the request.  If the reviewing official concurs, the request will be forwarded to the Office of Human Capital Management (CH).  Reviewing officials may be Heads of Services and Staff Offices (HSSO), Regional Administrators (RA) or designated officials who are responsible for reviewing the request.  

   d.     Office of Human Capital Management.  The Office of Human Capital Management (CH) is responsible for reviewing the request to ensure that it meets the established requirements and criteria for the authority and for submitting it, when appropriate, to the Office of the Chief Human Capital Officer (OCHCO) for approval.    

   e.     Approving official.  The Chief Human Capital Officer (CHCO) or his/her designee serves as the "Approving official", responsible for final review and approval/disapproval of requests for waiver of dual compensation restrictions for retired annuitants.  The CHCO is responsible for establishing the policies and overseeing the administration of this authority.  
 

Note:  Requests for waivers of dual compensation restrictions to reemploy retired annuitants into non acquisition-related positions will be forwarded to OPM for final approval after concurrence of the GSA approving official.

6.   Basic information required for requesting a waiver of dual compensation restrictions.

   a.     The recommending official will prepare the request.  Each request must include the following basic information related to the annuitant:

           (1)      Full name;                

           (2)      A statement confirming that the person is not currently a Federal employee, i.e., is already a Federal annuitant;
 

           (3)     CSRS or FERS claim number, if any;

           (4)     The date of retirement;

           (5)     The type of retirement (voluntary, discontinued service, disability, etc.);

           (6)      The annual dollar amount of the current annuity, retired pay or retainer pay;

           (7)      An analysis of the individual's qualifications that meet the agency's emergency need or critical skills shortage, that includes a current copy of the applicant's resume or OF-612, Optional Application for Federal Employment;

           (8)     Certification by the individual that he or she will not accept the job if pay or retirement is reduced; and

           (9)   Documentation of bona fide offers of non-Federal employment, if any.

   b.     The following information about the position should be provided:

           (1)      The title, series, grade, salary, and duty location;

           (2)      The type of appointment; and

           (3)      The current, classified position description (classified at the full performance level and not developmental) and description of the qualifications required, including any selective factors or other relevant job requirements.          
 

7.   Justification and criteria requirements for requests of waivers of dual compensation restrictions.

   a.     In determining whether a waiver of the dual compensation restrictions for reemployment of a retiree should be authorized, the recommending and reviewing officials should first consider the difficulty that would be encountered in filling the position with a highly qualified applicant if the waiver was not authorized.  Additionally, management must consider factors such as the availability of funds and the criteria set forth in this policy.
 

   b.     Waivers will be considered on a case-by-case basis.  The decision to approve or deny a waiver for any individual under these provisions will be at the discretion of the General Services Administration (GSA).  A determination in connection with one position does not preclude, nor require, a like determination in connection with any other position.  

   c.     The following general factors, as well as any other specifically stated criteria, must be considered and illustrated in the request, if applicable:

          (1)    The success of recent efforts to recruit highly qualified candidates for similar positions, including indicators such as offer and acceptance rates, the proportion of positions filled, and the length of time required to fill similar positions;

          (2)     Recent turnover in similar positions;

          (3)     Labor-market factors that may affect the ability of GSA to recruit highly qualified applicants for similar positions now or in the future;

          (4)     Special qualifications needed for the position that are possessed by the annuitant; and

          (5)      The practicality of authorizing a retention allowance to retain an employee through completion of a critical project.

   d.     In addition, the following justification requirements must be met for each of the following specific provisions, as applicable.
 

          (1)    For waivers based on the unique or unusually high qualifications of an individual (41 U.S.C. 433(i)(3)(A)):

                  (a)   A description of the knowledge, skills, and abilities possessed by the candidate
that are essential for the work to be performed; and 

                  (b)   Justification that these knowledge, skills, and abilities could not be acquired by another appointee within a reasonable amount of time.

    (2)  For waivers based on exceptional difficulty in recruiting a qualified employee (41
U.S.C. 433(i)(3)(B))
.  Provide a description of the length, breadth, and results of the agency’s recruiting efforts, including the following information where applicable:
 

                            (a)   The number of vacancies in the series, grade, and location;

                     (b)   The length of time the particular position has been vacant, and the average
length of time vacancies in other such positions have been vacant;

                     (c)   The average annual turnover in the series, grade, and location;
 

                     (d)   A description of the recruiting efforts (type of publicity, sources contacted,
geographic scope, etc.);

                    (e)  The number and quality of applicants responding to those efforts;

                     (f)    The number of applicant declinations based on pay/retirement issues (indicate
 
How many specifically cited pay/retirement offset concern, how many cited non-Federal job offers that would not require any reduction, and how many cited dissatisfaction with the combined compensation they would receive); and

                     (g)   Consideration of other staffing alternatives, including but not limited to reengineering or redistribution of work, contracting, use of a recruitment bonus, and training (including formal education and cooperative education), used to increase the supply of qualified candidates.  
 

         (3)   For waivers based on exceptional difficulty in retaining a qualified employee (41 U.S.C. 433(i)(3)(B)):

                (a)  A statement from the requestor stating that the individual is still on the agency’s
rolls, and documentation that shows the individual will retire or resign from the position if the exception is not granted.  Such documentation may include a bona fide offer of non-Federal employment or information about changes in or expiration of benefits (such as retirement, health
benefits, or life insurance) or other circumstances that support the claim that the employee cannot, or will not, delay retirement;

                (b)   A statement from the requestor that the individual will be working on a specificproject, rather than continuing to perform the broader duties of the position the individual occupied prior to retirement;

                (c)   A description of the critical nature and length of the project, including the importance of the project to the agency’s mission; the potential costs of project failure or delay; any legislative or Presidential deadlines, or any other factors demonstrating that the project is unusually critical;

                (
d)  A description of the knowledge, skills, and abilities possessed by the individual that are essential for successful completion of the project and that could not be acquired by another appointee within a reasonable time; and 

                (e)  A description of other staffing options that were considered in completing the project, including why the work could not be assigned to other employees involved with the same project. 

                 (f)   A template request form, GSA 3693 – Request for Waiver of dual Compensation (Salary Offset) – Need to Retain is available on the GSA forms website.

   (4)    For waivers based on temporary emergency hiring needs (41 U.S.C. 433(i)(3)(C):
 

            (a)  A description of the emergency.  The emergency must pose an immediate and direct threat to life or property (e.g., response to damage to federal buildings and facilities caused by a natural or man-made disaster, such as a hurricane or flood);

            (b)   The date it occurred;  
 

            (c)   The specific tasks or duties to be accomplished by the annuitant (if not evident from the position description);

            (d)   The expected duration of the emergency hiring need;

            (e)   A description of how the individual is uniquely qualified to meet the emergency hiring need; and

            (f)   The number of applicants in relation to the number of temporary workers needed, that support the need to fill the particular position without further delay.

 (5)    For waivers based on other unusual circumstances (5 CFR 553.201(f):
 

           (a)   A description of the unusual circumstance.  Unusual circumstances may include, but are not limited to, the need to conform to a congressional or other mandate to meet new or expanded mission requirements by a particular date, as well as other unforeseen developments that will adversely impact an agency's ability to carry out its mission.  Describe the unusual circumstances (e.g., response to Congressional or Presidential mandates), how the waiver request directly supports the agency mission, and why the unusual circumstances could not be avoided or anticipated:

           (b)   The date it first occurred;
 

           (c)  The specific tasks or duties to be accomplished by the annuitant (if not evident from the position description; 

           (d)   The expected duration of the unusual circumstances; and 

           (e)   A description of how the individual is uniquely qualified to meet the hiring need.

           (f)   A template request form, GSA 3694 – Request for Waiver of Dual Compensation (Salary Offset) – Other Unusual Circumstances is available on the GSA forms website.

8.    Review and disposition of request.

   a.   The reviewing official reviews the request and concurs or does not concur.  If the reviewing official concurs, the request will be forwarded through the servicing human resources office and the Office of Human Capital Management (CH) to the Office of the Chief Human Capital Officer (OCHCO).

   b.   The Office of Human Capital Management (CH) will review the request and, if it is properly documented, forward it to the Office of the Chief Human Capital Officer for final approval.

   c.   If the Chief Human Capital Officer (CHCO) approves the request, the approval is forwarded to the servicing personnel office for further processing.  If the request requires OPM approval, the CHCO will forward it to OPM and transmit the OPM approval to the servicing human resources office.  The servicing human resources office:

          (1)     Prepares a letter to the retiree informing him/her of the effect the waiver will have on his/her existing pay;

         (2)     Processes an SF 50, Notification of Personnel Action, and forwards the SF 50 to Payroll; and            

         (3)     Maintains the original request and documentation of required internal/external reviews for recordkeeping and reporting purposes.

9.   Documentation and recordkeeping.  The Office of Human Capital Management (CH) will maintain information on requests for waiver of dual compensation restrictions for retired annuitants, as required by OPM and OFPP.  These records will be maintained for a minimum of 2 years.  All case files must include the following information:

   a.    The name of the individual for whom the waiver is being requested;

   b.     A statement confirming that the person cited in the waiver request is not currently a Federal employee, i.e., is already a Federal annuitant;
 

   c.     A statement that the annuitant cited in the waiver request would not accept the offer without a waiver;

   d.     The appointing authority used to reemploy the annuitant;
 

   e.     The position (including title, series and grade) to which the reemployed annuitant is to fill; and

   f.     The criteria used to reemploy the individual.

10.  Annual reporting requirements.  The Office of Human Capital Management (CH) is responsible for assembling annual reports on the use of this provision, which must be provided to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) by November 1 of the each fiscal year beginning November 2008.  The report must include the following information.  
 

    a.    The number of individuals employed under the provision;

    b.    The name, grade level, and geographic location of each employee;
 

    c.    The part-time or full-time status of each employee; and

    d.    The length and terms of employment and options to renew for each employee.

11.  GSA Acquisition Workforce Definition.

    a.   In April 2005, OFPP issued the policy letter (05-01) Developing and Managing the Acquisition Workforce.  The purpose of the policy letter is to establish the government-wide framework for creating a federal acquisition workforce with the skills necessary to deliver best value supplies and service.
 

    b.   The OMB Policy Letter 05-01 states that the acquisition workforce includes individuals who perform various acquisition related functions to support the accomplishment of an agency’s mission.  Acquisition related functions include:  defining, determining and managing requirements; acquisition planning and strategy; solicitation, evaluation and award of acquisitions; contract administration; property management/disposal; managing the process after business arrangements have been made to ensure Government’s needs are met; and management of those individuals involved in the activities listed above. The Services Reform Act of 2003 defines acquisition to include, among traditional contracting functions, requirements definition, measurement of contract performance, and technical and management direction.

    c.  One of the principal purposes of the policy letter is to include, formally, these individuals in the GSA definition of the acquisition workforce so they can be trained and developed using common standards outlined in OMB Policy Letters and other directives/policies/regulations.  
 

    d.  GSAs definition of the acquisition workforce includes the following individuals: 

        (1)     All GS-1102s

        (2)     All Contracting Officers (COs) regardless of series
 

        (3)     All GS-1105s and GS-1106s

        (4)      All GS-1170s performing acquisition related work
 

        (5)      All Contracting Officers’ Representatives (CORs) 

        (6)     All Contracting Officers’ Technical Representatives (COTRs) 

        (7)     Individuals, who directly supervise, manage or lead the combined efforts of personnel and organizations for the management and/or execution of a specific acquisition program or programs. (Ex: Non 1102 supervisors of 1102 Divisions, Branches, Sections, Teams, etc.) 

           (8)     Program or Project Managers or other individuals with regular/recurring involvement in pre-award (acquisition planning, statement of work development, source selection board member) or post award (contract administration acquisition activities). 

        (9)     Acquisition Points of Contacts/Regional Acquisition Executives 

12.  References.

       a.   General Services Administration Modernization Act, Public Law 109-313 

       b.   Office of Management and Budget Memorandum, Subject: Plans for Hiring ReemployedAnnuitants to Fill Acquisition-Related Positions, dated September 4, 2007 

       c.   Office of Management and Budget Policy Letter, 05-01, Subject: Developing andManaging the Acquisition Workforce, dated April 15, 2005 

       d.        Title 41, U.S. Code § 433 (Section 37 of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy Act) 

       e.   5 U.S.C. §§ 3327 and 3330   

       f.    5 CFR Part 330 





 CHAPTER 7.  TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES

                   PART 1.  PREEMPLOYMENT INTERVIEW 

Paragraph                                                                                                           Paragraph 
Titles                                                                                                                  Numbers

Introduction...................................................................................................                1
Definition.......................................................................................................                2
Applicability.................................................................................................                3
Policy.............................................................................................................                4
Responsibilities.........................................................................................                5
Criteria for authorizing payment of travel expenses for
preemployment interviews.....................................................................                6
Documentation and recordkeeping....................................................                7
Reporting requirements..........................................................................                8

PART 2.  TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION OF NEW APPOINTEES
       TO THEIR FIRST DUTY STATIONS 

Introduction..................................................................................................                9
Applicability................................................................................................              10
Policy............................................................................................................              11
Responsibilities........................................................................................              12
Criteria and procedures.........................................................................              13
Documentation and recordkeeping...................................................              14
Reporting requirements.........................................................................               15 


CHAPTER 7.  TRAVEL  AND  TRANSPORTATION  EXPENSES

PART 1.  PREEMPLOYMENT INTERVIEW

1.     Introduction.  This part provides policy and procedures for requesting and authorizing preemployment interviews for applicants for employment.  The Office of Personnel, Employment Policy Division (CPP), is responsible for this chapter. 

2.     Definition.  "Applicant" means a new appointee or current employee who is being considered for a position with GSA. 

3.     Applicability.  The authority for payment of travel expenses for preemployment interviews pertains to new appointees and presently employed Federal employees who are applying for appointments not limited to 1 year or less. 

4.     Policy. 

   a.     Authorized officials identified in the GSA HB, Internal Travel Regulations and Control of Official Travel (PFM P 4290.1), may authorize payment of preemployment interview travel expenses for both Government and non-Government applicants related to an appointment not limited to 1 year or less. 

   b.     Payment of preemployment interview travel is discretionary and is not an entitlement of prospective applicants for employment.  A decision made in connection with one specific vacancy does not require the same decision in connection with future vacancies.

   c.      Interviewees are entitled to travel expenses authorized under Federal Travel Regulation (FTR) and PFM P 4290.1.

   d.     Authorizations shall not be made for the purpose of helping defray relocation expenses that are not otherwise allowable for a new appointee in accordance with travel regulations; e.g., preemployment interview travel may not be authorized so that an applicant may look for a house at his/her prospective first duty station.

5.     Responsibilities.
 

   a.      Associate Administrator for Administration.  The Associate Administrator for Administration or his/her designee is responsible for establishing policies and overseeing the operation of employment-related aspects of the preemployment interview travel authority.

   b.      Selecting official.  The selecting official is responsible for initiation of the travel order request and for obtaining the necessary coordination and approval.

   c.      Approving official.  The approving official is the authorized official identified in PFM P 4290.1, ch. 2, who is responsible for final review and approval/disapproval of TDY travel orders.
 

6.    Criteria for authorizing payment of travel expenses for preemployment interviews. 

   a.     The selecting and approving officials should ensure that the authorization is cost effective and is needed to:

            (1)     Assess an applicant's subject matter knowledge or communication skills, enable applicants to expand on their written applications, or otherwise enable selecting officials to better distinguish among applicants; or

           (2)      Interest qualified applicants when a labor shortage exists for the position; e.g., when a special salary rate or direct hire authority has been authorized for the position or when a shortage of highly qualified applicants occurs for a specific vacancy.
 

   b.     In addition, the following factors should be considered: 

           (1)     Actual costs involved; 

           (2)     The occupation and level of the position (no minimum grade levels have been set);

           (3)     Whether the payment of interview expenses will have an impact on the subsequent selection and job offer; and
 

           (4)     Any other pertinent factor(s). 

   c.     Authorizations for payment of preemployment interview travel expenses should be limited to a reasonable number of the best qualified applicants. 

7.     Documentation and recordkeeping.

   a.     Selecting officials are required to provide the following information to the servicing personnel office with the returned referral list, OPM certificate, or other notification of selection for each position for which preemployment interview travel has been authorized:

           (1)    Title, series and grade of the position;
 

           (2)     Number of applicants interviewed; 

            (3)     Results of each interview; e.g., selection, nonselection, declination;

           (4)     Type of travel authorized and total spent for each applicant;
 

           (5)      Location of interview; 

           (6)      Location from which the applicant traveled; 

           (7)      A brief statement setting forth the rationale for the decision; and

           (8)      A copy of the travel order(s).
 

   b.     The servicing personnel office will be responsible for maintaining documentation on use of the preemployment interview travel authority.  These records will be maintained for a minimum of 2 years.  These records must include the documentation listed above.  The documentation required for a request must be made available for review upon request by OPM or authorized agency officials.

8.     Reporting requirements.
 

   a.     Regional Personnel Offices will submit annual reports to the Office of Personnel (CP) on use of this authority.  Reports are due no later than October 15 of each year.  In accordance with GSA Reports Management Program (OAD 1872.9) these reports are exempt from reports control. 

   b.     The following information will be provided in the report: 

           (1)     Number of applicants to whom preemployment interview travel expenses were paid during the reporting period; 

           (2)    Title, series and grade of the position(s); 

           (3)     Results of each interview; e.g., selection, nonselection, declination;

           (4)     Type of travel authorized and total spent for each applicant;
 

           (5)     Location of interview; 

           (6)     Location from which the applicant traveled; 

           (7)     A brief statement setting forth the rationale for decision; and 

           (8)     An evaluation of the overall effect of the pre-employment interview travel expense authority on the ability of the agency to fill key positions with highly qualified applicants. 


PART 2.  TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION OF NEW APPOINTEES
TO THEIR FIRST DUTY STATIONS

9.      Introduction. This part provides policies and procedures for the employment-related aspects of first duty station travel. 

10.     Applicability.  The authority in this part pertains to first duty station travel and transportation of new appointees to the Federal service. 

11.     Policy. 

    a.     Payment of travel and transportation expenses for new appointees will be in accordance with PFM P 4290.1.

    b.     When management wishes to limit relocation expenses to employees only, this information will be included on the SF 52, Request for Personnel Action, and the limitation reflected on the vacancy announcement.
 

    c.      An individual authorized payment of first duty station travel and transportation will be required to sign a written service agreement in accordance with PFM P 4290.1.

12.     Responsibilities.
 

     a.      Selecting official.  The selecting official is responsible for initiating the request and obtaining the necessary coordination, review, and approvals.

     b.      Approving official.  The approving official, designated in PFM P 4290.1, ch. 2, is responsible for the review and approval/disapproval of the request.

13.     Criteria and procedures.
 

    a.     Factors to consider in authorizing first duty station travel include, but are not limited to, grade level of the position, applicant availability, and cost. 

    b.      The procedures for requesting and approving relocation are identified in PFM P 4290.1.

14.     Documentation and recordkeeping.  The servicing personnel office will be responsible for maintaining documentation related to the GSA vacancy announcement.  These records will be maintained for a minimum of 2 years.  The Director of Finance will maintain records of payments made under this authority.
 

15.     Reporting requirements.  The Director of Finance will be responsible for providing information on payment of travel and transportation of new appointees to their first duty stations to the Office of Personnel or OPM upon request. 

 

  Chapter 8 (Cancelled by HRM 9575.1 Recruitment, Relocation and Retention Incentives on March 28, 2016)   

     CHAPTER 8.  RECRUITMENT, RELOCATION AND RETENTION INCENTIVES

Paragraph                                                                                                                                                  Paragraph
Titles                                                                                                                                                        Numbers
 

Introduction........................................................................................................................................                 1
Definitions………………………………………………………..................................................................................................               2
Responsibilities………………………………………………………............................................................................……………                3
Categories of eligible employees………………………………………….........................................................…….                4
Categories of ineligible employees……………………………….......................................................……………..                5
Use of recruitment and relocation incentives…………………………………................................................                6
Determining the payment method…………………..........................................................…………………………….                

Determining the percentage amount of the incentive………………………….......................................                
Procedures for requesting recruitment, relocation and retention incentives…...............                
The service agreement…………………………………………...................................................................………………….               10
Termination of a service agreement………………………………………......................................................……..               1

Reports and record-keeping………………………………………….............................................................…………….               12

   Appendix 8-A.  Service Agreement – Recruitment Incentive

   Appendix 8-B.  Service Agreement – Relocation Incentive

   Appendix 8-C.  Service Agreement – Retention Incentive

          Appendix 8-D. GSA 3 Rs Policy at-a-glance

CHAPTER 8.  RECRUITMENT, RELOCATION AND RETENTION INCENTIVES

1. Introduction. GSA adopts in its entirety the policy requirements set forth in the Code of Federal Regulations, 5 CFR 575, Subpart A, - Recruitment Incentives, Subpart B – Relocation Incentives and Subpart C – Retention Incentives, within the parameters and with the definitions and procedures established herein (i.e.,
where issues/topics are not specifically addressed in this document, the guidance set forth in 5 CFR 575 applies to GSA policy and practice).


2.  Definitions. 

   Agency:  U. S. General Services Administration

   Approving Official:  For purposes of this directive, Approving Official refers to the Regional Administrator (in a Region), Head of Service or Staff Office (in Central Office), the Inspector General, or their designees.  In the Regions, the authority to approve a recruitment, relocation or retention incentive service agreement may be delegated no lower than the operating Human Resources Office Director.  

        Aggregate limit on pay.  A limit under Title 5 of the United States Code, on the total amount of allowances, differentials, bonuses, awards, or other similar payments an employee may receive in a calendar year, when combined with the employee's basic pay. 

        Recommending Official:  is the selecting official or supervisor who is responsible for initiating a request to approve payment of a recruitment, relocation or retention incentive. 

   Reviewing Official:  is the official responsible for funds control within an organizational entity.  
This is usually an official having authority for committing funds for the Recommending Official’s organization. The Reviewing Official is, or is designated by, the highest level service, staff office or regional official having overall funds approval for the Requesting Official’s organization.  

3.   Responsibilities.
 

   a.  Recommending Official.  The recommending official initiates the request for payment of a recruitment, relocation or retention incentive, including preparation of the written justification, in coordination with the servicing HR Office, determining the amount of the incentive and ensuring that the justification meets the criteria for approval.  The recommending official also ensures all required coordination is accomplished and obtains the necessary reviews and approvals.

   b.  Reviewing Official.  The reviewing official determines the availability of funds.  
 

   c.  Approving Official.  The approving official performs the final review and approves or disapproves the use of a recruitment, relocation or retention incentive.

   d.  Chief Human Capital Officer.  

           (1) Is responsible for requesting the waiver of the payment limitation from OPM when the request exceeds 25% of an individual’s rate of basic pay or 10% when authorized for a group or category of employees; and  
 

           (2) Reviews and approves/disapproves all incentive requests in the amount of $10,000.00 or more in aggregate and all incentives when more than one incentive is to be given to a single employee, regardless of the dollar amount, including incentives that are offered in conjunction with a Superior Qualifications Appointment (SQA) or the Student Loan Repayment Program. 

   e.  Servicing HR Officer.  

           (1) Advises management on all aspects of the policy pertaining to the payment of recruitment, relocation and retention incentives, ensures all regulatory and procedural requirements are complied with and coordinates and approves incentive requests as applicable; and  
 

           (2) In regions where approval authority has been delegated, approves payment of incentives.

   f.  Office of Human Capital Management (CH).

           
(1) Prepares and submits annual reports to OPM; and

           (2) Updates policy as necessary

4.   Categories of eligible employees.

   a.  Employees, as defined in
5 CFR 575.103 are eligible to receive a recruitment incentive. 

   b.  Employees, as defined in 5 CFR 575.203 are eligible to receive a relocation incentive. 

   c. Employees, as defined in 5 CFR 575.303 are eligible to receive a retention incentive. 

5.   Categories of Ineligible Employees:

   a.  Employees, as defined in
5 CFR 575.104 are ineligible to receive a recruitment incentive; 

   b.  Employees, as defined in 5 CFR 575.204are ineligible to receive a relocation incentive;  

   c.  Employees, as defined in
5 CFR 575.304 are ineligible to receive a retention incentive. 

6.   Use of recruitment and relocation incentives.

   a. Vacancy announcements must indicate whether or not a recruitment or relocation incentive may be authorized.  A written determination to pay the incentive must be made before the candidate enters on duty in the position to which appointed or assigned.  

   b.  Simultaneous payment of multiple incentives and concurrent recruitment, relocation and retention service agreements are prohibited except as permitted in 5 CFR 575.205(e).

7.   Determining the payment method.  

   a.    When determining the method of payment, the recommending official will take into account fiscal year budgetary considerations, whether the employee’s total pay has reached the aggregate limit on pay in the calendar year, and that payment of the incentive is in accordance with the limitations defined in 5 CFR 575.109 for recruitment incentives, 5 CFR 575.209 for relocation incentives and 5 CFR 575.309 for retention incentives.  

   b.    Payment methods for recruitment and relocation incentives include:
 

           (1) an initial lump-sum payment at the beginning of the service period required by the service agreement; or 

           (2) installments throughout the service period required by the service agreement.  (If this option is selected, the timing of the installment payments must be specified); or 

           (3) a final lump-sum payment upon completion of the full service period required by the service agreement; or 

           (4) a combination of these payment methods. 

   c.    Payment methods for retention incentives include: 

           (1)  installments after the completion of specified periods of service; or

           (2)  a final lump-sum payment upon completion of the full service period required by the service agreement

8.   Determining the Percentage Amount of the Incentive.

   a.  In identifying the appropriate percentage / amount of the incentive, the intent is to create an offer of compensation sufficiently competitive to attract or retain an employee.  The following factors should be considered and addressed when determining the percentage amount for the incentive:
 

     (1)  the applicant’s / employee’s job, salary history and current salary (as documented by a wage and earnings statement) and total compensation earned, including benefits;

     (2)  the unique or high level of competencies of the employee or applicant;

     (3)  budget constraints and limitations;

     (4)  the amount of incentive paid in similar cases (while each decision to pay an incentive must be made on a case-by-case basis, once the decision is made, the percentage amount of the incentive should be consistent with similar situations); and

     (5)  any other pertinent factors influencing the determination.
 

   b.  The total amount of a recruitment or relocation incentive may not exceed 25% of the annual rate of basic pay of the employee at the beginning of the service period multiplied by the number of years in the service period not to exceed 4 years. 

   c.  A retention incentive rate may not exceed:  

     (1)  25% of the annual rate of basic pay when authorized for an individual, or
 

     (2)  10% when authorized for a group or category of employees. 

   d.  All recruitment, relocation and retention incentives of $10,000 or more in aggregate must be reviewed and approved by the Chief Human Capital Officer (CHCO) before being formally offered to an applicant or employee.  The CHCO must also review and approve all proposed incentives when more than one incentive is proposed for a single employee regardless of the dollar amount, including incentives that are offered in conjunction with the Superior Qualifications Appointment (SQA) authority or the Student Loan Repayment program.  The Inspector General, HSSOs, and Regional Administrators may approve recruitment, relocation and retention incentives of less than $10,000.  Approval/disapproval of incentive requests must be provided within 10 workdays of receipt of the request due to the time-sensitive nature of employment offers and the risk of losing highly qualified candidates

   e.  The CHCO may request that OPM waive the limitation that the total amount of an incentive paid to an employee in a service may not exceed 25% of the annual rate of basic pay of the employee at the beginning of the service period based on a critical agency need.

9.   Procedures for requesting recruitment, relocation and retention incentives.
 

   a.  The recommending official initiates the request for the recruitment, relocation or retention incentive with the information, documentation and/or justification identified in 5 CFR 575.108,
5 CFR 575.208 and 5 CFR. 575.308. Each request will include or address the following:

     (1)  Position description;

     (2)  Employee's resume (in the case of a current employee, statement from requesting official describing the employee’s unique qualifications that make it critical to retain the employee);

     (3)  Recommended amount and percentage for the incentive (see Section 7 above);  
 

     (4)  Salaries typically paid outside the Federal Government for comparable work; 

     (5)  Recent turnover in this and similar positions;

     (6)  Employment trends and labor market factors that may affect the agency’s ability to recruit for this and similar positions;

     (7)  Description of recent efforts to fill the position, including recruitment sources used, acceptance rate of recent efforts to fill the position;
 

     (8)  The desirability of the duties, work and organizational environment and geographic location of the position or assignment;

     (9) The urgency of filling the position; and

     (10)   In the case of retention incentives, employment contract or letter of offer from prospective employer outside the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the Federal Government or a written statement by a higher-level official that the employee is likely to leave based on such evidence as personal knowledge that the employee is actively seeking outside employment, that competitive labor market conditions make it likely that efforts will yield positive results for the employee, or employee statement of intent to leave the agency for employment outside the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the Federal Government, including name of employer, estimated resignation date, and employee signature and date.  Additionally, a retention incentive can be paid to an employee who would be likely to leave for a different position in the Federal service before the closure or relocation of the employee’s office, facility, activity or organization to retain an employee critical to important agency mission and better meet strategic human capital needs.  

   b.  The reviewing official reviews the request to ensure that funds are available for payment of the incentive.  If the reviewing official recommends approval of the allowance request, the request will be forwarded to the approving official for final review and approval/disapproval.

   c.  If the approving authority has not been delegated to the servicing HR officer, the servicing HR officer’s coordination and optional comments on any additional factors that should be considered in determining whether to approve the request may be included.

   d.  The approving official reviews the request and either approves or disapproves payment of the incentive.  The request will be forwarded to the servicing HR Office for further processing, i.e.,  submit a Request for Personnel Action (RPA), including the name of the employee and the title, series, and grade of the position to which assigned.

   e.  If the request is approved, the servicing HR Office will:

      (1)  Notify the applicant/employee and ensure the applicant/employee signs a service agreement (appendix A, B, or C as applicable) before entry on duty, assignment to or retention in the position.

      (2)  Coordinate with the Consolidated Processing Center (CPC) to process the SF 50, Notification of Personnel Action after the service agreement is signed.
 

             (a)  A personnel action is processed in the Comprehensive Human Resources Integrated System (CHRIS) to initiate the incentive payment(s).

             (b)  The action flows to GSA’s Payroll, Accounting and Reporting (PAR) System with the payment amounts for relocation and recruitment incentives and the percentage rate for retention incentives.  
 

             (c)  The specific payment dates also flow to PAR on the personnel action in order to establish the incentive payments.

             (d)  The employee is notified via email when a personnel action has been processed on that employee.  

      (3)  Maintain the original request and documentation of required reviews for recordkeeping and reporting purposes.

   f.  If the request is disapproved, the servicing HR Office will maintain a copy of the request for recordkeeping and reporting purposes.

10.   The Service Agreement. (See appendices 8-A, 8-B, and 8-C for sample service agreements.)  
 

   a.   The period of employment established under any service agreement will be 12 months regardless of the bonus percentage.

   b.  A longer service period (i.e., in excess of 12 months) may be authorized by the approving official when a determination is made that a longer period of service would benefit the agency (e.g., substantial cost of the bonus based on the grade of the position).  Any exceptions made must be applied consistently to all similar situations.  Exceptions will be documented in writing and include the reason(s) for the determination.

   c.    A written service agreement is not required if the agency:  
 

           (1) Pays the retention incentive in biweekly installments; and 

           (2) Sets each biweekly installment payment at the full retention incentive percentage rate established for the employee under Sec. 575.309(a). 

   d.   Annually, each HR office will provide a list of employees receiving retention incentive payments to the recommending official.  Each case in which an employee is receiving a retention incentive payment will be reviewed by the recommending official to determine whether the payment is still warranted, and if it is still warranted, in the amount originally approved.  If the incentive payment is still warranted, the recommending official will forward a memorandum to the designated approving official recommending that the incentive payments continue.  If the recommending official determines the retention incentive is no longer warranted, he/she will forward a memorandum to the designated approving official recommending that the incentive payment be discontinued. The approving official will provide either a concurrence or non-concurrence for each case and forward to the servicing HR Office for appropriate action.   All determinations must be made and notifications issued by December 31 of each year.

11.  Termination of a service agreement.

          a. The agency may unilaterally terminate a recruitment, relocation or retention service agreement based solely on management needs, e.g., when the employee's position is affected by a reduction in force, when there are insufficient funds to continue the planned incentive payments, when conditions no longer warrant payment at the level originally approved or at all, or when the employee is assigned to a different position (if the different position is not within the terms of the service agreement).

          b. The agency must terminate a recruitment or relocation service agreement or terminate retention incentive payments if an employee is demoted or separated for cause ( i.e. , for unacceptable performance or conduct), if the employee receives a rating of record of less than “Meets Performance Expectations” or equivalent, or if the employee otherwise fails to fulfill the terms of the service agreement.   

          c. The termination of a recruitment or relocation service agreement or of retention incentive payments is not grievable and cannot be appealed.

          d. The approving official who makes the determination to terminate the service agreement or incentive payments will notify the employee in writing when the incentive service agreement or incentive payments are terminated by the Agency.   

          e. If the agency terminates a service agreement under subpar. a. the employee is entitled to all recruitment incentive payments that are attributable to completed service and to retain any portion of a recruitment incentive payment he or she received that is attributable to uncompleted service.

        f.  If the agency terminates a service agreement under subpar b. of this section, the employee is entitled to retain recruitment incentive payments previously paid by the agency that are attributable to the completed portion of the service period. If the employee received recruitment incentive payments that are less than the amount that would be attributable to the completed portion of the service period, the agency is not obligated to pay the employee the amount attributable to completed service, unless the agency agreed to such payment under the terms of the recruitment incentive service agreement.  If the employee received recruitment incentive payments in excess of the amount that would be attributable to the completed portion of the service period, he or she must repay the excess amount.

          g.  If an employee fails to reimburse the agency for the full amount owed under subpar f. of this section, the amount outstanding must be recovered from the employee under the agency's regulations for collection by offset from an indebted Government employee under 5 U.S.C. section 5514 and 5 CFR part 550, subpart K, or through the appropriate provisions governing Federal debt collection if the individual is no longer a Federal employee.  However, the head of the agency may waive the debt under 5 U.S.C. section 5584.

12.  Reports and record-keeping.  Records will be maintained and reports prepared and submitted to OPM in accordance with requirements outlined in 5 CFR 575.113 for recruitment incentives, 5 CFR 575.213 for relocation incentives and 5 CFR 575.313 for retention incentives. 

Appendix 8-A.  Service Agreement - Recruitment Incentive

(After you click on the links below, you will see a black screen.  You have to scroll down roughly 20% of the page and then you will come across the document.)

Link to Agreement:
 

Employees Service Agreement for Receipt of a Recruitment Incentive (GSA Form 3688)









Appendix 8-B.  Service Agreement - Relocation Incentive

Link to Agreement: 


Employee's Service Agreement for Receipt of a Relocation Incentive (GSA Form 3689)












Appendix 8-C.  Service Agreement - Retention Incentive


Link to Agreement: 


Employee's Service Agreement for Receipt of a Retention Incentive (GSA Form 3690)














Appendix 8-D. GSA 3 Rs Policy at-a-glance

 

CONDITION/CRITERIA RECRUITMENT RELOCTION RETENTION
       

Given to “newly appointed” employees

x
   
Initial incentive may not exceed 25% of rate of basic pay multiplied by the length of the service agreement

x

x

x
Under OPM-approved waiver, initial incentive may not exceed 50% of rate of basic pay

x

x

x
May not exceed 10% if for a group  or category of employees    
x
Under OPM-approved waiver may not exceed 100% of rate of basic pay in a single year

x

x
 
Incentives under $10,000 may be approved by HSSOs, RAs and IG

x

x

x
Incentives $10,000 and over must be approved by CHCO
x
x
x
Offers in combination with other initiatives require CHCO approval

x

x

x
May delay service agreement start date for required initial training

x
   
Service agreement must be one year minimum
x
   
When assignment is less than one year, service agreement may be less than one year.  

x

x
May be paid in a lump sum
x
x
x*
Service agreement must begin the first day of the first pay period in the new position with GSA and end on the last day of a pay period    

x
May be given to any employee who must relocate
x
x
x
May be given for a temporary or permanent assignment  
x
x
Rating of record must be full satisfactory
x
x
x
Generally paid only after the employee reports to the new position  

x

x
Incentive may be granted only to GSA employees after completion of 1 year of continuous service immediately before payment starts    

x
May not commence a service agreement or payment during a period of employment established simultaneously for a recruitment or relocation incentive    

x
May not pay as an initial lump sum payment or in advance of fulfilling a service agreement    

x
Payments made as a percentage of basic pay, not to exceed 25% of basic pay    

x












*For retention incentives, a lump sum payment can be made only upon completion of the full service period required by the service agreement. 

                   

                                                                                                             

                                                                                                CHAPTERS 19 -- 24.  R
ESERVED 



                                                                                                     CHAPTER 25.  RESERVED







                     TABLE OF CONTENTS 

 

                                                    CHAPTER 26.  CLASSIFYING POSITIONS (This Chapter is cancelled by GSA Order, HRM 9510.1, dated October 24, 2018)

Paragraph                                                                                                                                              Paragraph 
Titles                                                                                                                                                    Numbers 

General..................................................................................................................................................           1
Job evaluation principles................................................................................................................           2 


CHAPTER 26.  CLASSIFYING POSITIONS

1.   General.  The purpose of the GSA job evaluation program is to ensure that all positions are classified in a fair and equitable manner in accordance with Office of Personnel Management (OPM) position classification standards.  Every effort will be made to achieve equal pay for equal work.  Job evaluation functions should be conducted in a manner that will provide maximum assistance to operating programs.

2.   Job evaluation principles.

 a.  Positions are evaluated based on the difficulty of the duties and responsibilities of the assigned work.  Achieving the goal of equal pay for equal work requires that position classification standards be applied consistently.

 b.  Position descriptions must be kept current to ensure accuracy and proper classification.

 c.  The use of standard position descriptions is encouraged, where appropriate, to promote efficiency and economy.

 d.  The Human Resources Office is available to advise operating officials and employees on the proper classification of specific positions, the application of standards and other evaluation criteria, and the effect of changes in duties, functions, and organizations on the classification of specific positions.

 e.  Any planned classification actions that could change the grade of journey level positions or change the grades or series of positions in more than one region should be coordinated with the Human Capital Policy Division (National Classification Program Officer). 





                 TABLE OF CONTENTS

                                     CHAPTER 27.  POSITION MANAGEMENT 
(This Chapter is cancelled by GSA Order, HRM 9510.1, dated October 24, 2018)

Paragraph                                                                                                                                                Paragraph 
Titles                                                                                                                                                      Numbers 

General...........................................................................................................................................                    1
Authorities......................................................................................................................................                    2
GSA policy on position management..................................................................................                    3
The President’s Management Agenda..............................................................................                    4
Responsibility for position management...........................................................................                     5
Conducting an effective position management program.............................................                     6 


CHAPTER 27.  POSITION MANAGEMENT

1.    General.  Position management is the ongoing process of determining the number of positions needed, the skills and knowledge required of those positions and the assignment of duties and responsibilities among positions.  Good position management allows organizations to carry out their missions and objectives economically and effectively.

2.    Authorities.  This chapter is published in accordance with:

  a.  Title 5, United States Code, Chapter 51, Classification.

  b.  Title 5, United States Code, Chapter 53, Pay Rates and Systems, Subchapter IV, Prevailing Rate Systems.

  c.  Office of Management and Budget Circular No. A-64, Position Management Systems and Employment Ceilings.

  d.  The President’s Management Agenda.

  e.  The GSA Strategic Plan.

3.    GSA policy on position management.  It is GSA’s policy to conduct position management activities in a manner that allows organizations to:

  a.  Provide best value for customer agencies and taxpayers.

  b.  Operate efficiently and effectively.

  c.  Maintain a world-class workforce and workplace.

4.  The President’s Management Agenda.  The President’s management reform agenda required agencies to evaluate how well their organizations are meeting standards of excellence in attaining the outcomes important to the nation.  Each agency was asked to identify how it will reduce the number of managers, reduce the number of organizational layers, reduce the time it takes to make decisions, increase the span of control, and increase the number of employees who provide services to citizens.  Accomplishing the goals of this management agenda will require a continued emphasis on sound position management practices.

5.  Responsibility for position management.  Each supervisor and manager in GSA shares responsibility for position management.  Good position management requires consideration of cost efficiency, grade levels and numbers of positions, along with current and proposed organizational structure, staffing and career development issues.  Each servicing HR office in GSA is available to assist managers in carrying out their position management responsibilities.

6.  Conducting an effective position management program.  By taking the following steps managers can help GSA remain an effective and efficient organization providing best value for customer agencies and taxpayers: 

      a.   Maintain the fewest number of positions necessary to accomplish the organization’s functions, and fully utilize all staff resources. 

      b.   Review position descriptions to ensure that the duties and responsibilities of each position do not conflict with or duplicate the duties of any other position. 

      c.   As employees leave the organization review vacant positions, abolishing them if the duties can be reassigned or eliminated without seriously affecting essential functions. 

      d.   Eliminate unnecessary layers of supervision.  Review deputy positions and eliminate them when appropriate. 

      e.   Review organizational structure to ensure that organizational levels are minimized, with emphasis on delegation and decentralization to the lowest possible working level. Eliminate or rewrite positions that overlap or conflict with the duties and responsibilities of other positions. 

      f.   Hire at different grade levels to ensure a balance between senior, journey level, and lower level positions.  This practice will help ensure a constant supply of experienced employees who can fill future vacancies through promotion as retirements and other separations occur. 

      g.   Assign duties and responsibilities to positions in a way that balances the degree of challenge, variety, and responsibility with the level of skills and abilities the position requires.  Do not combine qualifications that require a high degree of technical, professional, or administrative skill with duties that are limited in scope, too closely supervised, or too diluted with routine tasks. 




                              TABLE OF CONTENTS

                       CHAPTER 28 POSITION DESCRIPTIONS 
(This Chapter is cancelled by GSA Order, HRM 9510.1, dated October 24, 2018)

Paragraph                                                                           Paragraph
Titles                                                                             Numbers 

General.............................................................                    1
Types of descriptions...............................................                    2
Use of position descriptions........................................                    3
Preparing position descriptions.....................................                    4
Adequacy for classification purporses...............................                    5
Adequacy of position descriptions for management purposes...........                    6


CHAPTER 28.  POSITION DESCRIPTIONS

1.  General.  A position description documents the major duties, responsibilities, and organizational relationships of a job.  Supervisors are responsible for ensuring that position descriptions of their subordinate staff accurately describe the duties being performed.   Supervisors must consult with their HR specialist when making revisions or updates to position descriptions.

2.  Types of descriptions.

 a.    Individual description.  A one-of-a-kind position prepared in accordance with governing classification criteria and specific organizational needs.

 b.    Agency standard "M" description.  Certain classes of wage system and General Schedule positions in GSA are sufficiently alike in their major duties, supervisory controls, and in the case of wage system positions, working conditions and physical effort, to warrant treatment as standard positions throughout the agency.  When such positions are found to exist in large numbers, the Human Capital Policy Division (National Classification Program Officer) will develop, publish and maintain agency standard "M" descriptions.  A listing by position number and series of the current GSA standard position descriptions can be found in the agency Position Description (PD) Library.  Each standard position description is identified with an "M" at the beginning of its position classification number.  

   (1)  If an agency standard "M" description exists that accurately describes the major duties and responsibilities of a position it should be used.

   (2)  Only the Human Capital Policy Division (National Classification Program Officer) can modify an agency standard "M" description.
 

   (3)  Even when using an agency standard "M" position description the immediate supervisor is still responsible for ensuring that the description accurately describes the duties being performed. Standard position descriptions should reflect, but are not to dictate, work assignments.  Minor differences between positions do not necessitate the establishment of separate position descriptions in lieu of an "M" job. 

  c.    Regional standard position description.  A regional standard position description describes a group of like duties performed in a number of different organizational units within a single region.  Regional standard position descriptions should be used when an agency standard "M" position description is not appropriate.        

  d.    Multiple-level description.  A multiple-level position description covers two or more grade levels.  This type of description is used in place of separate descriptions at each grade level for positions established under a training agreement.

  e.    Checklist or fill-in description.  This type of position description is used for a group of positions (i.e., building managers), which differ from each other in one or more duties.  In these instances, checklist items or fill-in spaces are provided to specify the variables that are characteristic of the position being described.

3.  Use of position descriptions.

 a.  It is GSA’s policy to achieve classification consistency through maximizing the use of agency standard position descriptions.

 b.  If an agency standard "M" description is not appropriate, consider the use of another existing position description.

 c.  Only as a last resort should a new individual position description be prepared, and only for positions that do not lend themselves to reasonably accurate description by any other approved means.
d.  Management is responsible for assigning duties, responsibilities, and supervisory controls to positions in their organizations.  Supervisors are responsible for keeping position descriptions current, accurate, and adequate for classification purposes.

4.    Preparing position descriptions.

  a.  The best person to write a position description is the individual with the most knowledge of the actual duties, responsibilities, and supervisory relationships of the position.  This individual may be in the GSA HR Office, the incumbent of the position, the immediate supervisor, or another responsible official.

  b.  The immediate supervisor is responsible for seeing that an accurate and adequate description exists for each of their subordinate employees.  In most cases, the supervisor works with an HR specialist to prepare the position description.  

  c.  Normally management requests that employees participate in the process of preparing a unique position description.  The degree the employee participates in the process is left up to their supervisor.  
 

  d.  The supervisor must review a new position description for currency, adequacy, clarity, and accuracy.

  e.  The HR specialist is responsible for instructing supervisors and employees on how to write position descriptions.  This may be done on an individual basis as the need arises.  The HR specialist is also responsible for reviewing descriptions for clarity and format and to ensure there is adequate information to establish the series, title, and grade of the position.  If the description does not contain the necessary information, it is the responsibility of the HR specialist to obtain and incorporate the required information.

  f.  When the HR Office finds that a position is not adequately described, the responsible HR specialist should assist management in the review and update of the description.  

 g.  The HR Office is responsible for the proper classification of all position descriptions it develops.  As the certifying official the HR specialist is certifying that the title, series and grade of the position are correct and classified in accordance with governing OPM standards and/or supplemental agency guidance.  

5.    Adequacy for classification purposes.

  a. The Introduction to the Position Classification Standards states "a position description (pd) is a statement of the major duties, responsibilities and supervisory relationships of a given position.  The pd should clearly define the major duties assigned and the nature and extent of responsibility for carrying these out.  Qualification requirements should be evident from the position description and specialized requirements not readily apparent from the description should be specifically mentioned and supported by the duties."  All position descriptions must include a statement signed by the immediate supervisor certifying to the accuracy of the position description.
 

  b. OPM considers a position description to be adequate for classification purposes when it is considered so by one knowledgeable of the occupational field involved and supplemented by otherwise accurate, available and current information on the organization, functions, programs and procedures concerned.

6.    Adequacy of position descriptions for management purposes.  
 

  a.  Each supervisor establishing a new position must certify the accuracy of the position.  The certification must state: "I certify that this is an accurate statement of the major duties and responsibilities of this position and its organizational relationships and that the position is necessary to carry out Government functions for which I am responsible.  This certification is made with the knowledge that this information is to be used for statutory purposes relating to appointment and payment of public funds and that false or misleading statements may constitute violations of such statutes or their implementing regulations."

  b. When a position description is found only in one organization it should be signed by the supervisor of that organization.  The supervisory certification on a description that covers positions under more than one organization should be signed by an official who has management responsibility over all the organizations where the position description will be used.




           TABLE OF CONTENTS 

             CHAPTER 29.  CLASSIFICATION APPEALS (This Chapter is cancelled by GSA Order, HRM 9510.1, dated October 24, 2018)


Paragraph                                                                                                 Paragraph
Titles                                                                                                       Numbers 

General...............................................................................................                 1
General Schedule position classification appeals..............                 2
Federal Wage System classification appeals.....................                 3


CHAPTER 29.  CLASSIFICATION APPEALS

1.    General.  General Schedule and Federal Wage System positions in GSA are evaluated in accordance with Office of Personnel Management Position Classification Standards, policies and guidance.  Any General Schedule or Federal Wage System employee who believes their position is improperly classified has the right to appeal.  Upon request, the servicing HR Office will explain to employees how to file a classification appeal under the procedures outlined in this chapter.  In addition the HR Office will provide the employee with pertinent Position Classification and Job Grading Standards.  

2.    General Schedule position classification appeals.

  a.    An employee may initially appeal the classification of their General Schedule position within GSA (as described in 2. c. below) to the GSA HR Office, or to the US Office of Personnel Management (OPM).  Before filing a classification appeal, the employee is encouraged discuss the matter with their supervisor.  The supervisor should make every effort to resolve the matter through discussions with the HR Office and the employee.  If, after such discussions, the employee still believes their position is not classified properly they may file a formal appeal.   Employee appeals to either GSA or to OPM must be in writing and must include:
 

   (1)  The employee’s name, mailing address and office telephone number. 

   (2)  The employing department or agency and the location within the agency (installation name, mailing address).

   (3)  The exact location of the employee’s position within the agency (e.g., service, division, branch, section, unit).

   (4)  The employee’s current position title, pay plan, occupational series and grade.
 

   (5)  The requested pay plan, position title, occupational series and grade. 

   (6)  A copy of the official position description, if available.  If the employee believes the position description is not accurate, the employee must provide his or her own description of the work he or she currently performs and show what steps have been taken to have the official description changed.

   (7)  The reason that the employee believes the position is erroneously classified.  The employee must refer to position classification standards, which support the appeal.  If appealing to OPM, the employee must also state specific points of disagreement with the agency’s evaluation statement.  The employee may also include a statement of facts that he or she thinks may affect the final classification decision.

   (8)  The name, address, and business telephone number of the employee’s representative, if any.

  b.    OPM prefers that an employee appealing the classification of their position first take advantage of the appeals procedures within GSA.  In this way, it may be possible to resolve the matter within GSA.  However, the employee has the right to appeal directly to OPM.  OPM instructions pertaining to appeals are set forth in the Introduction to the Position Classification Standards, Appendix 4, Position Classification Appeals.

  c.    An employee may appeal the classification of their position first to their servicing HR Office, directly to the Human Capital Policy Division (National Classification Program Officer), or to OPM.  Appeals filed within GSA will be processed and decided promptly by the reviewing office, and the decisions will be based on the written record consisting of the information described in paragraph 2 a. (4)-(7) above.

  d.    When filing a classification appeal employees should contact either their servicing HR Office or the Human Capital Policy Division (National Classification Program Officer) for guidance on procedures and timeframes to be followed.
 

  e.    The employee will be informed in writing of the decision on their appeal.  The decision letter will explain the reasons for the decision, include a comparison of the position with the standards appropriate to the position, and will inform the employee of their right to appeal the decision.  The letter will state how much time the employee has to appeal the decision and where the employee may review the written record used as the basis for the decision.

  f.    A classification appeal within GSA must be made in writing to the appropriate servicing HR Office.  The agency has 60 days from the date of filing a classification appeal to issue a decision on a classification appeal.  A classification appeal may be filed at any time however, the retroactive provisions (restoration of grade, salary or both) do not apply unless the employee appeals within 15 calendar days after receipt of a written notice of downgrading or loss of compensation.  The 15-day limitation is applicable only when the employee is wrongfully demoted whether the employee appeals initially within GSA or directly to the Office of Personnel Management.

 g.    An employee may request that the Human Capital Policy Division (National Classification Program Officer) adjudicate their appeal if the appropriate servicing GSA HR Office has not issued a decision within 60 calendar days of the date the appeal was filed.

  h.    If an employee elects not to appeal to the Human Capital Policy Division, or if they do not agree with the decision of the Human Capital Policy Division, they have the right to appeal in writing to the appropriate jurisdictional office of OPM.  The letter transmitting the GSA decision will inform the employee of the requirements for an appeal to OPM.  The employee must forward their appeal to OPM through the appropriate servicing HR Office so that any additional information required by OPM may be submitted along with the employee's appeal.

   i.    The decision of OPM is final.  Additional information on appeals procedures may be obtained from the servicing GSA HR Office.
 

   j.    An employee may select a representative of their own choosing to assist in the preparation and presentation of a position classification appeal.  The employee and their representative (if the representative is a GSA employee) will be granted a reasonable amount of official time for preparation of the appeal.  Representative rights will be consistent with negotiated agreements and governing Office of Personnel Management policy. 

3.  Federal Wage System classification appeals. Federal Wage System (FWS) classification appeals must be made first to the agency, either to the servicing GSA HR Office or to the Human Capital Policy Division (National Classification Program Officer).  All information requirements and timeframes as described in paragraph 2 for General Schedule position classification appeals are also valid for FWS appeals.  For those appeals to the Human Capital Policy Division (National Classification Program Officer), a decision will be rendered within 60 calendar days after the date the appeal was filed.  


Appendix A.  Service Agreement - Recruitment Bonus



GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION 
EMPLOYEE'S SERVICE AGREEMENT FOR RECEIPT OF A RECRUITMENT BONUS


1.          I,                     (Name of Employee), understand that in order for me to be paid a Recruitment Bonus under 5 U.S.C. 575.105 I agree to complete a minimum period of months of service with the General Services Administration beginning                         (effective date of appointment/assignment).  The bonus will be paid to me in a single lump sum payment. 

2.         If I fail to complete the period of employment stated above in this agreement, for reasons unacceptable to the agency, I shall be indebted to the Federal Government and shall repay the bonus on a pro rata basis.  The amount to be repaid shall be determined by providing credit for each full month of employment completed by me.

3.        I understand that any amounts which may be due the agency as a result of any failure on my part to meet the terms of this agreement may be withheld from any monies owed me by the Government, or may be recovered by such other methods as are approved by law.

4.         I FURTHER UNDERSTAND that if I am involuntarily separated from the Federal Government, for reasons other than misconduct or delinquency, I will not be required to repay monies for any unfulfilled period of time identified in item 1 above.
 


______________________________                   __________________ 
(EMPLOYEE'S SIGNATURE)                             (DATE)


Appendix B.  Service Agreement - Relocation Bonus

GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION
 
EMPLOYEE'S SERVICE AGREEMENT FOR RECEIPT OF A RELOCATION BONUS


1.        I,                       (Name of Employee), understand that in order for me to be paid a Relocation Bonus under 5 U.S.C. 575.205 I agree to complete a minimum period of months of service with the General Services Administration beginning                       (effective date of appointment/assignment) at                         (insert duty station).  The bonus will be paid to me in a single lump sum payment. 

2.        If I fail to complete the period of employment stated above in this agreement, for reasons unacceptable to the agency, I shall be indebted to the Federal Government and shall repay the bonus on a pro rata basis.  The amount to be repaid shall be determined by providing credit for each full month of employment completed by me.

3.        I understand that any amounts which may be due the agency as a result of any failure on my part to meet the terms of this agreement may be withheld from any monies owed me by the Government, or may be recovered by such other methods as are approved by law.

4.         I FURTHER UNDERSTAND that if I am involuntarily separated from the Federal Government, for reasons other than misconduct or delinquency, I will not be required to repay monies for any unfulfilled period of time identified in item 1 above.  In addition, I understand that this also applies to a relocation bonus when the Administrator determines in writing that it is necessary to relocate me again to a position in a different commuting area.
 

___________________________                   ___________________ 
(EMPLOYEE'S SIGNATURE)                       (DATE) 


Appendix 8-A.  Service Agreement - Recruitment Incentive

Link to Agreement: 


Employees Service Agreement for Receipt of a Recruitment Incentive (GSA Form 3688)




Appendix 8-B.  Service Agreement - Relocation Incentive 


Link to Agreement: 


Employee's Service Agreement for Receipt of a Relocation Incentive (GSA Form 3689)






Appendix 8-C.  Service Agreement - Retention Incentive


Link to Agreement: 


Employee's Service Agreement for Receipt of a Retention Incentive (GSA Form 3690)

Last Reviewed: 2020-12-08