By Reg Jones
Q. My position is relocating well out of the commuting area. I cannot relocate along with that position. If I were placed in a new position at my current location but at a lower grade level, would I be entitled to save pay per 5 CFR 536?
Q. I am a former federal employee who left government service after 23 years. I have held competitive and excepted service positions. I work as a federal contractor and have held this position for 15 months. I was recently offered a federal job, and the human resources department told me that they could only rehire me at the grade and step level I was at when I left (GS-13/Step 2). However, my current contracting job pays more than that, and I thought they could rehire me at a higher step rate to match what I am making, but the federal agency said they cannot offer any more money since I left at a GS-13/2. Is this accurate? I know other people who left government service and came back were hired at a much higher grade and rate than what they held previously.
Q. I am a GS-9 and filling a GS-7 position that has not been filled. I have been informed that due to the agency downsizing, my GS-9 position will be eliminated. What are my options? Am I entitled to a GS-9 save-pay if I am offered the GS-7 position?
Q. A good friend of mine was recently fired/released from duty because he did not meet the stringent medical standards of the Pentagon Police Department. We fall under the Pentagon Force Protection Agency. He has failed several hearing tests over the past two years. His conversational hearing is fine, but he fails the low- or high-frequency portion of the rigid test. His own doctor has tested him and says he is perfectly fine for duty. But the agency did not accept the second opinion.
And one of his main concerns is that he was hired three years ago with the same hearing loss that he currently has. He is going through a lot of financial difficulty and personal trouble because of this situation. The agency has offered him a new administrative position but at a substantial pay reduction. Is he entitled to any compensation? Would hiring a lawyer be wise (although he can’t afford one right now)?
Q. I am 38 years old and work as a probation officer for the state of Michigan. A federal probation officer job just opened. Would I be able to apply for the position since it is in the same field, or would my age restrict me from qualifying?
Q. I served 27 years federal service, then had a break in service of two years and one month and was reinstated to the status I had before (GS-7, Step 8. My personnel lady told me the time I served as a Step 8 before would count toward my next step increase. I was a Step 8 for one year, five months and two weeks, so do I only have to wait one year, six months and two weeks for my next step increase, or do I have to wait the full three years?
Q. 1. Can a person be noncompetitively temporarily promoted from a GS-14 to a GS-15 without having served 52 weeks as a GS-14?
2. Can a person act in a higher-graded position without competition beyond 120 days?
Q. My position is scheduled for desk audit. We have received a lot of misinformation or no information. If I’m downgraded, how does it affect pay?
Second, I was told by a supervisor that our pay would remain the same only for two years and if you have not found another position to match your pay, it will drop to the new GS position’s pay.
Q. If I am a GS-13, can a GS-7 be appointed as my supervisor in the Department of the Navy?
Q. Does a law enforcement officer or firefighter have to work 20 years consecutively to be eligible for special retirement coverage? Also, if an applicant is beyond his/her 37th birthday, could the agency hire them for the LEO or firefighter position?
Q. I have been performing the duties of a GS-0081-09 Supervisory Fire Fighter for eight months. I am a GS-0081-08 Lead Fire Fighter. My department just posted a GS-0081-09 Lead Fire Fighter position. How do I get upgraded to the position? I am also a 30 percent or more disabled vet.
Q. Is there a limitation on the number of years an individual can be out of law enforcement? I was occupational code 1801 covered under FERS “M” retirement code, worked five years, separated in 2002, and was no longer covered under FERS. I am now 37, want to return as a law enforcement officer 1811. How should the time be counted? Mandatory age-out for an 1811 is 37.
Q. I resigned from federal employment as a civilian in the Air Force after 18 months in March 2012. I have reapplied and been offered a position at same base. The position is a grade higher than the one I had when I left. I was a GS-11, Step 8. The new position is a GS-12. What should the salary offer be for that position? From what I have been told by several other sources, the offer being made is incorrect for my situation (offering a GS-12, Step 2). I have been told the salary should be calculated by moving two steps right and up from my previous GS-11, Step 8 — which would make the new salary a GS-12, Step 4. Which is the correct calculation?
Q. I served in the military from June 1974 to April 1981. I was then hired by civil service in April 1983 as a temporary employee. I was picked up as permanent in July 1984, and my service computation date is June 1976.
For whatever reason, when FERS was implemented, I was left in the original CSRS retirement plan and have been paying into CSRS for 29 years and 11 months. I applied for retirement computation last month and was notified by the human resource office that I will have to switch to FERS or CSRS offset to retire. Since I have invested into CRSR my whole career, can I remain in CSRS?
December 21st, 2011 | Hiring and placement
Q: I was employed by the Postal Service from 1956 to 1968. In 1986, I was re-employed by the postal service. Am I included in the CSRS Offset? I wonder because I was re-employed after 1983, when anyone hired then went into FERS.
A: Because you had at least five years of CSRS service when you were re-employed by the federal government, you were automatically placed in CSRS Offset.
December 7th, 2011 | Hiring and placement
Q: If a person on CSRS disability retirement is under age 60 and his doctor believes he can return to work, can he return to the governement and maintain the same status as he was before he retired? Or will he have to start at the bottom like a new empoyee and start over just as if he had never worked?
A: While you may be re-employed in any position for which you are qualified, the law doesn’t require that your former agency or any other agency offer you a position. If you are rehired, your prior service – but not the time you were on disability retirement – will be credited to you in determining your total years of service. Your high-3 for retirement purposes would be your highest three consecutive years of average salary, no matter when they occured in your career.
July 21st, 2011 | Hiring and placement
Q: I am about to retire from the NAtional Labor Relations Board. My Agency has asked if I would perform hearings and other tasks that could not be accomplished by any local person due to specialized qualifications and experience. Is there a procedure for me to collect my full annuity and get paid by an hourly rate with no offsets or reductions?
A: Your agency would have one of two avenues to pursue if it wants to bring you back onboard and waive the normal offset to your annuity. They could ask OPM to approve your appointment based on an exceptional recruiting or retention need or, on their own, use a limited time appointment under Section 112 of Public Law 111-84, because they have a need to fulfill a function critical to the mission of the agency. Such an appointment would be for one year or less. In either case, none of the time you spent would be creditable for any retirement purpose. When you separated, your annuity would simply continue.
June 28th, 2011 | Hiring and placement
Q: Can management temporarily promote (non-competitively) an employee to the lower grade of a six/seven-graded position for 120 days? Are temporary promotions limited to the full-performance level only of a given position? What specific rules support or prevent such actions?
A: Temporary promotions are intended to meet the temporary needs of the agency’s work program when those services can’t be provided by other means.To be temporarily promoted, an employee has to meet the same qualification requirements that are needed for the permanent promotion. He or she receives the higher-graded salary for the period assigned and gains quality experience and time-in-grade at the higher grade level. The first 120 days can be made noncompetitively. In other words, the employee doesn’t have to compete with other employees for the temporary assignment. If the temporary promotion is extended beyond 120 days, competition is required. The maximum time period for a temporary promotion is five years, unless OPM authorizes the agency to make and/or extend it for a longer period. If the temporary promotion that was originally made under competitive procedures, it can be extended up to five years without further competition.
June 14th, 2011 | Hiring and placement
Q: How does one go about searching and applying for “rehired annuitants” jobs?
A: There isn’t any site dedicated to employment opportunities for annuitants. The best place to start looking for any federal job is http://usajobs.gov.
June 13th, 2011 | Hiring and placement
Q: I have 18 years of service under FERS. I may be offered a job with the Federal Reserve Board. Would this be considered a federal position as far as pension/benefits go? I have no interest in the job if the answer is no.
A: It all depends on the position to which you are appointed. You’ll have to check with the FRB personnel office.