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By Debra Roth

Q & A Session: Working Below Pay Grade

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Q:

Can I be assigned to report to an employee of the same grade as me? Can my supervisor assign me to work below my pay grade?

A:

To the first question, yes, your supervisor can instruct you to report to another employee of your same grade. There is nothing in OPM regulations prohibiting an agency from requiring an employee to report to another employee of the same grade. There are even rare situations where a lower graded employee is designated as the supervisor of higher graded employees. While not preferred or ordinary, what matters most is the designation of supervisory authority by higher up.

And to the second question, yes, a supervisor can assign an employee to do work typically assigned to employees in lower pay grades when it furthers the government’s needs to do so, but the supervisory cannot lower that employee’s grade or pay without following the procedures set forth in Title 5 of the U.S. Code.

This response is written by James P. Garay Heelan, associate attorney of Shaw Bransford & Roth P.C., a federal employment law firm.

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