Ask The Lawyer

By Debra Roth

Q & A Session – Temporary Assignment as Supervisor

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Ask the Lawyer received the following question (paraphrased for easier reading and clarity) from a reader on a legal matter that might be of interest to the entire audience.

Q:

I am a GS-13 and my GS-14 supervisor is leaving to take a new position. His supervisor, a GS-15, is going to advertise and keep this position as a GS-14 supervisor. In the interim, he plans on doing 30-day increments of assignments with no pay increase. Most of the staff are GS-12s or below.

Are there limits to how long a person can fill a higher grade without that person being eligible to receive any compensating income for performing at this level? Can a GS-12 be assigned or detailed to a GS-14 position? Is there a difference between “assignment” and “detail?” Are there any federal union issues that this might violate?

A:

Agencies have the discretion to temporarily promote employees, but most advertise if the promotion is to last for more than 120 days. For temporary assignments, designed to fill a gap, there is no requirement to promote or advertise. A GS-12 can be assigned to acting duties, but such a practice could be criticized by higher level management.

Bill Bransford is managing partner of Shaw Bransford & Roth PC.

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