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#1 Posted : Tuesday, November 16, 2010 10:09:55 AM(UTC)

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Hello all -

I'm new to this forum and would appreciate any help or insight. This is my situation:

I am a DAC, recently returned from overseas due to my spouse's active duty orders. Where we are stationed, I was able to apply for PPP, although that didn't seem to be much help. After numerous self-applications, I was finally able to get referred, interviewed, and selected for a position that is 2 grades lower. When I was called and offered the position, I was informed and emailed that my salary would start at the step 10 for the lower grade.

A week later, I was emailed that, due to the local pay policy of this military installation, my salary would now be at the step 7 for the lower grade. This is the local "Pay Setting Policy:"

"When an employee voluntarily accepts a change to lower grade
and is eligible for immediate re-promotion to the former grade, the employee’s
pay should be set at a rate that will provide the employee no greater benefit
upon immediate re-promotion than he/she would have received but for the change to lower grade."

It appears that they looked at my last grade/step's basic pay then matched it with the lower grade's basic pay + locality for this area, and that's how they came to step 7. If they matched my last grade/step's basic pay to the lower grade's basic pay, then it would come out to step 10, as they originally told me. When I spoke to the CPAC rep on the phone, I was told that because I was overseas, they will only look at my basic salary. This sounds like a faulty argument to me, and I plan on going in to talk with someone in person.

I was wondering if anyone had any experience or advice on a situation like this?

#2 Posted : Tuesday, November 16, 2010 2:08:25 PM(UTC)

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With your location showing as Ft Campbell, I take that you are already in place at your new duty location, and that you accepted the job. You will probably not be able to negotiate any further. 

You might have a strong argument if you had offered and accepted the Step 10, but was then surprised once starting work that the Step was lower than accepted.  If you accepted the lower Step, you are pretty much locked in, from what I've seen. 
#3 Posted : Tuesday, November 16, 2010 7:26:12 PM(UTC)

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I accepted the job last week with the initial information that my salary would be at the step 10. I am supposed to start work next week, and was notified by email about the local policy and salary change yesterday. Every example I could find on OPM shows the matching of pay being reverted to basic pay first, then adding locality pay after (this is from the OPM site): 

"Voluntary Demotion from Lower Locality Rate to Higher Locality Rate

In 2005, a GS-0201-11, step 5, human resources specialist in the Washington,
DC, locality pay area ($59,464) voluntarily accepts a demotion
to a GS-0201-9 position in the San Francisco locality pay area. Since this
is a voluntarily demotion, grade and pay retention do not
apply. As provided by 5 CFR 531.215(b), if an employee's official worksite
after demotion is in a different geographic location where different pay
schedules apply, the agency must first convert the employee to the applicable
pay schedule(s) and rate(s) of basic pay in the new geographic area (San
Francisco locality pay area) based on the employee's position of record
before processing the demotion. The pay schedules applicable to the employee
in San Francisco are the General Schedule and the San Francisco locality
rate schedule. The GS-11, step 5, General Schedule rate is $51,271, and the
GS-11, step 5, San Francisco locality rate is $64,801. The agency decides
to use the maximum payable rate rule in 5 CFR 531.221. The employee's highest
previous rate (HPR) is the GS-11, step 5, rate on the General Schedule.
(As provided by 5 CFR 531.222(b), use the employee's underlying GS rate
as the HPR in applying the maximum payable rate rule in 5 CFR 531.221(b),
which is designed to use underlying GS rates to avoid the need for geographic
conversion.) Compare the HPR ($51,271) to the GS-9 rate range on the 2005
General Schedule. There is no step rate that equals or exceeds the HPR;
therefore, the maximum payable rate is the GS-9, step 10, rate ($48,604). The agency may set the employee's GS rate at any rate in the GS-9 rate range."

Of course, the caveat is the very last statement. Does this mean I'm pretty much out of luck? Is this something I should mention to the hiring official? I could decline the job, but that would be like cutting my nose off to spite my face. I'm just worried that if, by some miracle, that I get selected for a position that was at my previous higher grade here, I would start back at step 1 instead of my previous step. Unhappy

Scott Dickinson  
#4 Posted : Tuesday, November 23, 2010 8:31:34 PM(UTC)

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Pay setting is always done off of the base scale, then locality is added back in.  Without knowing the specifics of your grades it is hard to provide a clearer answer.
Were you offered "save-pay" or "save-grade" when you were placed on the PPP?
Are you losing pay? If so, is it because of the overseas differential? They are changing the way they apply the overseas differential and you may be getting hurt because of it. Overseas locales used to have their own scale, not GS base+locality. OPM began transitioning the overseas to a GS base +locality so that these pay setting formulas would become easier.
About the going back to step 1 of your former grade if selected; that can only happen if you are making less than the step 1 of that grade.
Also a voluntary demotion is different than losing a job due to husband's orders.
Rachel Y  
#5 Posted : Sunday, December 12, 2010 10:00:21 AM(UTC)

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Joined: 12/12/2010(UTC)
Posts: 1

Hi! I’ve just visited this forum. Happy to get acquainted with you. Thanks.
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