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vm524  
#1 Posted : Wednesday, April 7, 2021 6:37:16 AM(UTC)
vm524

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Location: Illinois

I'm hoping I can get some guidance on a pay issue. I previously worked as an air traffic controller for the FAA. I had to leave the job due to medical issues. My pay as a controller we'll say was $100,000. After the FAA, I got hired at SSA at a GS-5/10 due to no experience in that position. HR mentioned that I would receive the maximum pay possible which was GS-5 step 10. They mentioned I would continuously receive the highest step at each grade, when I received a promotion, up until I matched my salary at the FAA. After a year with SSA, I received a promotion to GS-7 step 10 so all was good. Then I got hired at DOL and they matched may pay at GS-7 step 10. I assumed when I reached my year with DOL, they would do the same that SSA HR stated they would do which was to give me the highest possible pay under that grade until I matched my previous federal salary. When I received my SF-50 at the year mark, I only got a pay raise to GS-9 step 5 so I reached out to DOL HR because I was sure they forgot about my unique situation. The HR person stated that since this was considered a Highest Previous Rate issue and it is considered an entitlement, they would have to consult with DOL policy team to see if I was eligible for the raise to GS-9 step 10. My question is, am I not entitled to receiving the maximum step in each grade until I match my previous federal salary? Wouldn't my situation be considered pay retention? FYI, I did not have a break in service and I remain in the same location for locality purposes.
TheRealOrange  
#2 Posted : Wednesday, April 7, 2021 7:01:57 AM(UTC)
TheRealOrange

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Originally Posted by: vm524 Go to Quoted Post
Wouldn't my situation be considered pay retention?

I'm not an HR expert, but I don't think the pay retention policy would apply. OPM specifically notes an exclusion from the pay retention rules for voluntary acceptance of a lower graded position:

An agency may not provide pay retention to an employee who-

•Is reduced in grade or pay for personal cause or at the employee's request;

You indicated that after the FAA, you applied for and were hired at SSA at a GS-5/10 due to no experience in that position. To me, that appears to be a voluntary reduction in grade for personal cause. But, again, I'm not an HR guru. You will also want to check out the OPM information on the Maximum Payable Rate Rule to see if you think it applies to your situation. Best of luck.

Pay Retention: https://www.opm.gov/poli...ct-sheets/pay-retention/
Maximum Payable Rate Rule: https://www.opm.gov/poli...ximum-payable-rate-rule/
vm524  
#3 Posted : Wednesday, April 7, 2021 7:11:42 AM(UTC)
vm524

Rank: Newbie

Groups: Registered
Joined: 4/6/2021(UTC)
Posts: 4
Location: Illinois

So there's another caveat to my situation. I did not voluntarily leave the FAA. I was placed on workers compensation due to losing my medical certificate to work as a controller. I basically had to look for another job while workers comp paid my salary. I'm not sure if that helps. Thank you for your response.
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