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LovesTheSoup  
#1 Posted : Friday, December 3, 2010 9:49:46 PM(UTC)

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If I'm a selected for a position that will be a promotion (in terms of
grade), can HR delay the effective date so that it occurs after my expected WGI?  Here's my situation: I've put in 21 months of service at Step 4, and a promotion now (applying the "two-step rule") would only put me at Step 1 of the next grade level.  If they can wait 3 months, then applying the 2-step rule after my WGI would bump me to Step 2 of the next grade level (and slightly more compensation of course, with accordingly accelerated step increase schedule for the future). 

Explained a different way:
  • Currently Grade X, Step 4
  • Promotion Now (at Grade X, Step 4) = Grade X+1, Step 1
  • Promotion Later (after WGI to Grade X, Step 5) = Grade X+1, Step 2
My questions are:
  1. Can the effective date of a promotion be delayed like this?
  2. If so, what is the maximum time they can delay it (30 days, 90 days, etc.)?
  3. Are there any risks with delaying the promotion (i.e. something falls through, selection certificate expires, a more serious pay-freeze)?
  4. Does HR have any discretion here (like can they just give me the step increase a couple months earlier because I was so close to reaching it anyway, or must they follow the strict schedule)? I imagine the only way around this would be a QSI, but that would be a waste on someone like me who would have been getting his next WGI in 3 months anyway.
  5. If delaying a promotion's effective date is not permitted, what other options are there?  Is my only option to have my selection for the promotion occur as late as possible (without the cert expiring) so that I'm already a Step 5 when it's effective?
Thanks in advance for any advice or tips here.  I'm not looking to game the system, but I'd like to optimize my promotion in light of the (almost) 2 years of Federal service that I've already put in as a Step 4.

kg78  
#2 Posted : Saturday, December 4, 2010 2:43:33 AM(UTC)

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someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought that getting a promotion effectively reset the time clock on step increases?
Christopher  
#3 Posted : Saturday, December 4, 2010 2:51:20 AM(UTC)
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There's a formula they ,the powers that be, use to work that out.

Example;

Had a buddy, was a WG12 step 2 got promoted to a WG13 and they gave him step 3.  

I have yet to figure out how that worked, 1 year later I got my WG13 and stayed the same step.   

Has something to do with how close you are to being through that step.
Ryos  
#4 Posted : Saturday, December 4, 2010 2:51:53 AM(UTC)

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LovesTheSoup: You should negotiate with HR to see if they'll give you a promotion that would pay you with respect to the step you would have gotten.  But a lot of it depends on how quickly the acquiring agency needs you to fill that position.
cyberdefender  
#5 Posted : Saturday, December 4, 2010 2:28:51 PM(UTC)

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LovesTheSoup wrote:
 I'm not looking to game the system, but I'd like to optimize my promotion in light of the (almost) 2 years of Federal service that I've already put in as a Step 4.


Actually, you are looking to "game the system".

I acknowledge that one has to look out for themselves, however, because in the end, most can't rely on having a supervisor who will look out for them. Best of luck.  Congrats on your promotion. 
Zephyrus  
#6 Posted : Saturday, December 4, 2010 9:48:52 PM(UTC)

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It seems as if some apples (WG) to oranges (GS) comparisons are being made here.  The promotion guidelines for the two systems are completely different.  Some of the rationalizations above appear to be GS-like.  The promotion guidelines for WG are as follows:

5 CFR 532.407

(a) An employee who is promoted is entitled to be paid at the lowest scheduled rate of the grade to which promoted which exceeds the employee's existing scheduled rate of pay by at least four percent of the representative rate of the grade from which promoted.

(b) If there is no rate in the grade to which an employee is promoted which meets the requirement of paragraph (a) of this section the employee shall be entitled to the higher of: (1) the existing scheduled rate of pay in accordance with part 536 of this chapter; or (2) the maximum scheduled rate of the grade to which promoted.

(c) If the promotion is to a position in a different wage area, the agency shall determine the employee's pay entitlement as if there were two pay actionsa promotion and a reassignmentand shall process them in the order which gives the employee the maximum benefit.

LovesTheSoup  
#7 Posted : Saturday, December 4, 2010 10:00:23 PM(UTC)

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Thanks everyone for the replies so far.

kg78 wrote:
someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought that getting a promotion effectively reset the time clock on step increases?





That is correct, but has nothing to do with my question.  I'm talking
more about the WGI timing in relation to the "rule of two" for calculating salary after promotion.



In terms of step increase time clock, think of my question as this instead:



  • Do I have to be promoted now, effectively resetting my WGI time
    clock 3 months before I would have received a step increase at my previous grade?
  • Or can I postpone my promotion 3 months, so that my WGI time clock remains the same (and I get the WGI I would have otherwise missed).


Ryos wrote:
LovesTheSoup: You
should negotiate with HR to see if they'll give you a promotion that
would pay you with respect to the step you would have gotten.  But a lot
of it depends on how quickly the acquiring agency needs you to fill
that position.


Hmmm, I'm not changing agencies (and I should have clarified that we are on GS pay scale in case that makes a difference), so I don't know how
willing they would be to negotiate on that.  It's not like I'm going to leave.  :)


cyberdefender wrote:
LovesTheSoup wrote:
 I'm not looking to game the system, but I'd like to optimize my promotion in light of the (almost) 2 years of Federal service that I've already put in as a Step 4.


Actually, you are looking to "game the system".

I acknowledge that one has to look out for themselves, however, because in the end, most can't rely on having a supervisor who will look out for them. Best of luck.  Congrats on your promotion. 


I haven't been selected for any promotion yet (the position hasn't even been announced and there's no guarantee I'll get it), so this is all hypothetical right now.  There's a chance the whole announcement and selection process could eat up another month toward my WGI anniversary date.

You're right though, I'm just trying to look out for my best interests and address a "deficiency" in the system.  It's also to avoid feeling like 2 years of my Federal service were for naught (in terms of factoring into my compensation).  I do recognize that the "rule of two" is a 2-edge sword and many people benefit by skipping several intermediate steps when advancing grades.  I'm just caught in a less common scenario where I could either "lose" my 21 months as a Step 4, or stand to benefit from serving a full 2 years as a Step 4.
LovesTheSoup2010-12-05 06:15:47
LovesTheSoup  
#8 Posted : Saturday, December 4, 2010 10:04:39 PM(UTC)

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Zephyrus wrote:
It seems as if some apples (WG) to oranges (GS) comparisons are being made here.  The promotion guidelines for the two systems are completely different.  Some of the rationalizations above appear to be GS-like.


I apologize, my original post failed to make clear that the context for this question is a GS pay scale system.
Kathi52  
#9 Posted : Saturday, December 4, 2010 10:17:03 PM(UTC)

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LovesTheSoup, I think I may know what you are asking.  And, no, it isn't gaming the system at all.  Many people have had their promotions delayed until they received the next step increase (which normally was within a month or two) in order to "bump" them up when their promotion became effective.  You can always ask.  If they refuse, then yes, the clock would be reset so to say.  Suffice to say this happened to my husband one time that I can remember.  So, yes, his boss just delayed the effective date for a couple of weeks or so.    
Scott Dickinson  
#10 Posted : Sunday, December 5, 2010 8:53:18 PM(UTC)
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WG rules are different than GS rules. So don't compare the 2. WG only has 5 steps. GS has 10, and the time intervals are different.
There is a dividing line where it makes sense to wait (as long as it is not a ridiculous amount of wait.)
The only time it pays to wait are the following grades and steps:
If you are a GS 1-10 the dividing line is steps 2 and 3. If you are close to getting step 3 it pays to wait because instead of being grade+1 step1 you will be at the grade+1 step 2.
For grades 11-14 the dividing line shifts up to step 4 and 5. If you are close to step 5 then wait.
Now what you also need to consider is this; Is waiting 3 months (6 paychecks) at your current salary worth the offset in pay you will recieve? So to figure this out do this: I will use GS 9 step2  DC local  going to a GS 11 as an example)
How much per hour you are currently making $$53350/2087=$25.56*80=2044.80
How much would you be making at step 3: $55070/2087=$26.39*80=2111.20
Leaving you an increase of $.83/hour
Figure out how much your pay will go up for the promotion
11 Step 1=$62467/2087=$29.93*80=$2394.40
11 Step 2=$64548/2087=$30.93*80=$2474.40
GS 11 Step 1 to 2 is a difference of $1 per hour. Now figure up how much you will lose in delaying your promotion for 3 months or 6 paychecks. Difference between 9st2 and 11st1 = $349.60*6=2097.60. How many pay periods at $80 more a pay period would it take to offset the 3 month wait? $2097.60/$80=26.22. So it would take just over a full year to recoupe the difference (and after a year you would be a step 2 anyways, well actually you would have been a step 2 at 9 months because you delayed getting your raise for 3 months (9+3=12 months)).
 
So the answer to your question is NO. It does not make sense for you to delay your promotion for 3 months. Plug in your actual figures for mine above and see if the math makes sense for your situation.  For higher GS levels it makes even less sense since the $ jump between levels is greater.
 
LovesTheSoup  
#11 Posted : Sunday, December 12, 2010 5:26:48 AM(UTC)

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Kathi52 wrote:
LovesTheSoup, I think I may know what you are asking.
 And, no, it isn't gaming the system at all.  Many people have had their
promotions delayed until they received the next step increase (which
normally was within a month or two) in order to "bump" them up when
their promotion became effective.  You can always ask.  If they refuse,
then yes, the clock would be reset so to say.  Suffice to say this
happened to my husband one time that I can remember.  So, yes, his boss just delayed the effective date for a couple of weeks or so.    


Thanks, that's exactly what I'm trying to do.

computerscott2 wrote:
WG rules are different than GS rules. So don't compare the 2. WG only has 5 steps. GS has 10, and the time intervals are different.
There is a dividing line where it makes sense to wait (as long as it is not a ridiculous amount of wait.)
The only time it pays to wait are the following grades and steps:
If you are a GS 1-10 the dividing line is steps 2 and 3. If you are close to getting step 3 it pays to wait because instead of being grade+1 step1 you will be at the grade+1 step 2.
For grades 11-14 the dividing line shifts up to step 4 and 5. If you are close to step 5 then wait.
Now what you also need to consider is this; Is waiting 3 months (6 paychecks) at your current salary worth the offset in pay you will recieve? So to figure this out do this: I will use GS 9 step2  DC local  going to a GS 11 as an example)
How much per hour you are currently making $$53350/2087=$25.56*80=2044.80
How much would you be making at step 3: $55070/2087=$26.39*80=2111.20
Leaving you an increase of $.83/hour
Figure out how much your pay will go up for the promotion
11 Step 1=$62467/2087=$29.93*80=$2394.40
11 Step 2=$64548/2087=$30.93*80=$2474.40
GS 11 Step 1 to 2 is a difference of $1 per hour. Now figure up how much you will lose in delaying your promotion for 3 months or 6 paychecks. Difference between 9st2 and 11st1 = $349.60*6=2097.60. How many pay periods at $80 more a pay period would it take to offset the 3 month wait? $2097.60/$80=26.22. So it would take just over a full year to recoupe the difference (and after a year you would be a step 2 anyways, well actually you would have been a step 2 at 9 months because you delayed getting your raise for 3 months (9+3=12 months)).
 
So the answer to your question is NO. It does not make sense for you to delay your promotion for 3 months. Plug in your actual figures for mine above and see if the math makes sense for your situation.  For higher GS levels it makes even less sense since the $ jump between levels is greater.


According to your formula, my break even point will be 6 months following my delayed promotion.  Seems a small price to pay (now) for significant gains in the future (because I'll basically be advancing Steps 9 months sooner than I would by being promoted to the Next Grade now).  Here are how the numbers play out when I extrapolate my pay over time:

  • 3 months from now, I'll be short $1,776 for waiting for my WGI to occur before my promotion to Next Grade Step 2.
  • 9 months from now (or 6 months after waiting for my WGI to Current Grade Step 5), I'll break even.
  • 12 months from now (when I would be eligible for a WGI to Next Grade Step 2 had I not waited), I would be ahead by $945 for having waited.
  • After 24 months, I'm ahead $3,681, having already reached Next Grade Step 3 9 months sooner.
So according to my math, it makes a lot of sense to wait (if they'll let me).  $3,700 is a lot of coin to leave on the table after 2 years.

I hope I calculated everything correctly, but thanks for suggesting the mathematical approach.  It compelled me to make a table of the pay rates for each pay period and add it up for 24 months out.

Now that I have confirmed that this is a scenario worth pursuing, does anyone have any tips or suggestions on how to go about requesting this kind of accommodation?  Do I just ask nicely?  :)  Is 3 months within the "acceptable range" that HR may allow or is that outside the norm for waiting for one's next WGI?  (Seems like anecdotal evidence shows this is possible within 1-2 months for sure.)
LovesTheSoup2010-12-12 13:35:34
Bill78  
#12 Posted : Friday, February 4, 2011 9:31:19 AM(UTC)

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NO Negotiating steps after hired in Federal Wage System.  I accepted a promotion from a WG-08 Step 05 $22.09 per hr. to a WG-10 Step 03 $22.98 per hr. in March 2009.  I could not retain my step 05 or even Step 04 due to the Federal Wage System Rules (FWS).  You are only required to make a minimum of $0.60 an hr. pay raise.  No Negotiating.......Rules.......I do not make the rules.....nor do I like them........STUCK!  You can ONLY NEGOTIATE one time in Civil Service (Federal System).....your ORIGINAL HIRE only........Cry  
"May GOD continue to BLESS the United States of America. Thank a VETERAN today"!
Nerdles  
#13 Posted : Sunday, August 13, 2017 3:06:28 AM(UTC)

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LoveTheSoup, I know this thread is super old, but how did it work out?

I may soon be in a similar situation. I'm a General Schedule (GS) employee. After 3 years of waiting, I'll get my step increase in my current GS grade in late December.

Meanwhile, I've been referred for a promotion at another agency. I'd obviously prefer for the new position's step (using the rule of two) to be based on my post-December higher step (8 vs 7) in my current grade. Otherwise it's like I'm throwing money away.

Suppose I'm offered the job in November or early December and accept, to start in January. Once I get that step increase in the interim in my current position, would the gaining agency have to amend the salary offer so it's based on my just-attained step increase?

Or do I have to reject the pre-WGI promotion offer and get the hiring HR to issue a new one after I get my step increase?

Or maybe a savvy and sympathetic HR person would agree not to issue a final offer letter with salary till after I get my step. Does that ever happen?

Thanks to anyone with certain knowledge on this.

Edited by user Sunday, August 13, 2017 3:13:08 AM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

TheFrederalGovt  
#14 Posted : Sunday, August 13, 2017 7:31:40 AM(UTC)

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Why not just be grateful for the promotion in a difficult hirinf environment and try not to come across as greedy?
LovesTheSoup  
#15 Posted : Sunday, August 13, 2017 7:31:45 AM(UTC)

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Originally Posted by: Nerdles Go to Quoted Post
LoveTheSoup, I know this thread is super old, but how did it work out?

I may soon be in a similar situation. I'm a General Schedule (GS) employee. After 3 years of waiting, I'll get my step increase in my current GS grade in late December.

Meanwhile, I've been referred for a promotion at another agency. I'd obviously prefer for the new position's step (using the rule of two) to be based on my post-December higher step (8 vs 7) in my current grade. Otherwise it's like I'm throwing money away.

Suppose I'm offered the job in November or early December and accept, to start in January. Once I get that step increase in the interim in my current position, would the gaining agency have to amend the salary offer so it's based on my just-attained step increase?

Or do I have to reject the pre-WGI promotion offer and get the hiring HR to issue a new one after I get my step increase?

Or maybe a savvy and sympathetic HR person would agree not to issue a final offer letter with salary till after I get my step. Does that ever happen?

Thanks to anyone with certain knowledge on this.


Unfortunately I wasn't able to test or verify my theory that there is some latitude built into the system (because the scheduled step increase came and went), but when I posed my hypothetical question to HR professionals beforehand, they unofficially indicated that there was a little bit of wiggle room on the effective date for a promotion, but within a reasonable amount of time (like a few pay periods?). I think the discretion built into the system is intended to accommodate folks moving from one agency to another or coming from the private sector who wish to wrap up their current projects before abandoning their former employer. So I honestly don't know if there is any official leeway or guidance on delays to take advantage of an imminent step increase. I know this probably doesn't help, but good luck!

Edited by user Sunday, August 13, 2017 7:32:28 AM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

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Nerdles on 8/21/2017(UTC)
LovesTheSoup  
#16 Posted : Sunday, August 13, 2017 7:40:24 AM(UTC)

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Originally Posted by: TheFrederalGovt Go to Quoted Post
Why not just be grateful for the promotion in a difficult hirinf environment and try not to come across as greedy?


I guess I simply have a different view of the situation (as a GS employee in an admittedly imperfect system). Not only is it a difficult hiring environment, but with Federal salaries (arguably) not keeping pace with the private sector and cost of living increases (again, much of this is dependent on one's job series, locality, etc.), meaningful raises have become increasingly scarce, making step increases more important. So working nearly 2 years toward one's next step increase and accepting a promotion just a few weeks shy of the step increase just seems somewhat wasteful. Of course not everything is about money, but in my personal situation I'd prefer not to squander funds if I can avoid it. Obviously you and everyone else are free to view that as being greedy and you're entitled to that opinion. Thank you for your input though, as it does advance the discussion in terms of what may be more important in the "big picture."
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TheFrederalGovt  
#17 Posted : Sunday, August 13, 2017 7:59:07 AM(UTC)

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Originally Posted by: LovesTheSoup Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: TheFrederalGovt Go to Quoted Post
Why not just be grateful for the promotion in a difficult hirinf environment and try not to come across as greedy?


I guess I simply have a different view of the situation (as a GS employee in an admittedly imperfect system). Not only is it a difficult hiring environment, but with Federal salaries (arguably) not keeping pace with the private sector and cost of living increases (again, much of this is dependent on one's job series, locality, etc.), meaningful raises have become increasingly scarce, making step increases more important. So working nearly 2 years toward one's next step increase and accepting a promotion just a few weeks shy of the step increase just seems somewhat wasteful. Of course not everything is about money, but in my personal situation I'd prefer not to squander funds if I can avoid it. Obviously you and everyone else are free to view that as being greedy and you're entitled to that opinion. Thank you for your input though, as it does advance the discussion in terms of what may be more important in the "big picture."


I appreciate your thoughtful response as reading over my comment again, what i wrote might have come across as snarky. As a hiring manager maybe I am trying to avoid any issues that complicate things, delay getting someone onboard before another freeze and delay the work getting done. Want you to avoid that perception for maybe $50 extra bucks a paycheck
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LovesTheSoup on 9/14/2017(UTC)
Nerdles  
#18 Posted : Sunday, August 13, 2017 1:41:57 PM(UTC)

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LoveTheSoup,thanks a lot for the update!

Good to know it may be possible. Indeed, wrapping up ongoing projects is another good reason to delay it and would definitely apply to my situation.

I agree; it's not greedy to avoid throwing money away. If trying to maximize your income in complete compliance with the rules is "greedy," then anyone who applies for a promotion is greedy. Ridiculous.

Thanks again.

Edited by user Sunday, August 13, 2017 1:47:05 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

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LovesTheSoup on 8/15/2017(UTC)
birdonamission  
#19 Posted : Monday, August 14, 2017 8:12:04 AM(UTC)
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I can understand where all this is coming from because it can mean a big difference in pay.

For me, i fortunately did not have the issue described because I got my GS-11 Step 10 WGI in February as scheduled, and then when I was promoted to GS-12 in March, I ended up at GS-12 Step 6 because of the two-step rule.
frankgonzalez  
#20 Posted : Monday, August 21, 2017 5:32:41 AM(UTC)
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I did exactly as the example in the OP was asking when I went from the USAF to USCG. I was coming up on my WIGI to step 5, so negotiated my start date to the pay period after the WIGI. Meant I started as a GS-13 step 2 vs step 1. Now I also had to move across country (CA to DC) so had some wiggle room already built in there.
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