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Federal Employees: You be the Judge

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#1 Posted : Monday, May 13, 2019 7:27:35 AM(UTC)

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United States

GS-13 step 7 overseas, put on priority placement. Sent to job in states and downgraded to 12 step 00 (Save Pay). I was three months away from WGI to step 8. Still under the Priority Placement Program in the states, after three years, they found another 13 job for me and moved me to that. I asked first and was told yes, I would come back in at the step as if I had never left a 13. So in May of 2018, moved to new position and SF-50 says 12 step 00 to 13 step 8. In remarks it says:
"Salary includes WGI for which employee became eligible on 14 Nov 2015. Repromotion to grade, level, or band not above that from which downgraded without personal cause and not at employee's request."
Pay records in MyBiz show next WGI as 15 Nov 2018. Several weeks after 15 Nov 2018, no step increase, no pay raise. Ask what's going on. Look in pay record, and there was an entry on 13 November that changed my WGI to May of 2021.
Many months later, after trying to get this fixed, I am told that it is correct. I am told that whoever told me I come back in under Priority Placement under the same timeline was wrong and my pay records were wrong and that they just "fixed" them.
I cannot find any detailed guidance under PPP that explains how they are supposed to treat us when we get re-instated. The Chief of Staffing says this was a "promotion" and therefore under 5CFR 531.405(b) WGI Commencement of a waiting period - "A waiting period begins;
(1) On the first appointment as an employee of the Federal Government, regardless of tenure;
(2) On receiving an equivalent increase;" (I assume "equivalent here means an amount equivalent to a pay raise from the next lower step, though of course it isn't clear, like most of our regulations)

They are using this narrow definition to justify this. I don't consider it a promotion - it was a reinstatement. It was an equivalent pay increase because I was being reinstated. It's like a Catch 22 - I am being reinstated to where I was supposed to be so there is a pay increase. But since there was a pay increase I'm not being reinstated where I'm supposed to be.
Mind boggling to me.
Does anyone know if I have a case to get this corrected in my favor?
Know it's probably a long shot since the government rarely does anything in our favor.
#2 Posted : Thursday, May 16, 2019 5:40:56 AM(UTC)

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Was this the wrong place in the forum to ask this?
HR Bubba  
#3 Posted : Monday, May 20, 2019 7:52:48 AM(UTC)

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I don't necessarily think you posted in the wrong forum, I think it's more that this may be a difficult questions to answer because it requires knowledge of PPP procedures & pay setting knowledge; also why I am hesitant to answer this query. With that said, I'll start with the easy part: This was not a reinstatement, it is a re-promotion and there is a difference. Simply put, to be reinstated means to be brought back into the federal service and since you did not leave federal service you can't be reinstated. To prove reinstatement eligibility a person would need to show a separation SF-50. The rest of my answer is a "best guess" since I do not have ALL of the information relating to your situation (please do not provide it to me); pay setting can get tricky and unless I am in possession of all of the pertinent information I cannot guarantee that I am providing the correct answer.

Based on the information you provided, I believe they set your pay correctly on the down-grade (GS-12 step 00); I also agree that your movement back to GS-13 was a (re)promotion, not a reinstatement. On the (re)promotion they could set your pay in 1 of 2 ways: 1) 2 step promotion rule which would have put you at GS-13 step 6 OR 2) Highest Previous Rate (HPR) which would put you at GS-13 step 7. It appears that they authorized HPR in your case. The only question seems to be the WIGI time.

Based on the assumptions that I am making, you should have been placed at GS-13 step 7 and you should be credited with 2 years & 9 months towards your next WIGI (step 8). Again, I do not know all of the specifics on how any of these actions were processed so my answer may not be correct, but it seems the most probable to me.

The rules for WIGIs can be found in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) chapter 531 Subpart D. Specifically, the section for creditable service is §531.406 Creditable service.

thanks 1 user thanked for this useful post.
SD Analyst on 5/30/2019(UTC)
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