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Pay & Leave Pay Administration

Fact Sheet: Administrative Appeals Judge Pay System

Description

Administrative appeal judges (AAJs) are individuals in positions the duties of which are not classifiable above GS-15 under 5 U.S.C. 5108 and which involve reviewing decisions of administrative law judges appointed under 5 U.S.C. 3105 and rendering final administrative decisions. AAJs are paid under 5 U.S.C. 5372b.

Rates of Basic Pay

The AAJ pay system has six rates of basic pay - AA-1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6. These rates correspond to the rates of basic pay for AL-3/A, B, C, D, E, and F of the administrative law judge pay system established under 5 U.S.C. 5372 and 5 CFR part 930, subpart B.

AAJ RateCorresponding ALJ Rate
AA-1 AL-3/A
AA-2 AL-3/B
AA-3 AL-3/C
AA-4 AL-3/D
AA-5 AL-3/E
AA-6 AL-3/F

Pay System Adjustments and Locality Pay

The rates of basic pay of the AAJ pay system will be adjusted at the same time and in the same manner as adjustments are made in the corresponding rates of basic pay for the administrative law judge pay system under 5 U.S.C. 5372.

AAJs also receive locality payments under 5 U.S.C. 5304. Locality rates for AAJs may not exceed the rate for level III of the Executive Schedule.

Setting Pay for Newly-Appointed AAJ

The head of each agency must fix the rate of basic pay for each AAJ position within the agency.

Upon initial appointment, an agency must set the rate of basic pay of an AAJ at the minimum rate AA-1 of the AAJ pay system, unless the AAJ is appointed without a break in service from a General Schedule (GS) position, or the employee is eligible for a higher rate because of prior service or superior qualifications.

  • An agency must set the pay of an employee under a General Schedule pay system who is appointed to an AAJ position without a break in service at the lowest rate of basic pay of the AAJ pay system that equals or exceeds the rate of basic pay the employee received immediately prior to such appointment, not to exceed the rate of basic pay for AA-6. If the resulting basic pay increase is less than one-half of the dollar value of the employee's next within-grade increase, the agency must set the employee's rate of basic pay at the next higher rate of basic pay in the basic rate range of the AAJ judge pay system.
  • An agency may offer an AAJ applicant with prior Federal service a rate up to the lowest rate of basic pay of the AAJ pay system that equals or exceeds the employee's highest previous rate of basic pay in a Federal civil service position, not to exceed the rate of basic pay for AA-6.
  • An agency may offer an AAJ applicant with superior qualifications who is not a current Federal employee a rate higher than the minimum rate when such a rate is clearly necessary to meet the needs of the Government. An agency may pay a rate higher than the minimum rate that is next above the applicant's existing pay or earnings, up to the maximum rate AA-6. Superior qualifications include having legal practice before the hiring agency, having practice in another forum with legal issues of concern to the hiring agency, or having an outstanding reputation among others in the field.

Advancement to the Next Higher Rate of Basic Pay

An AAJ is automatically advanced to the next higher rate upon completion of the required waiting periods.

Required Waiting Periods
Advancement from . . .Requires . . .
rate 1 to rate 2 52 weeks of creditable service at rate 1
rate 2 to rate 3 52 weeks of creditable service at rate 2
rate 3 to rate 4 52 weeks of creditable service at rate 3
rate 4 to rate 5 104 weeks of creditable service at rate 4
rate 5 to rate 6 104 weeks of creditable service at rate 5

Creditable Service

All service as an AAJ in the next lower rate is creditable towards completing the waiting period, whether consecutive or discontinuous. In other words, time previously served in the next lower rate will be creditable service towards completing the waiting period when an AAJ returns after a break in service to the same rate.

Time in a non-pay status is generally creditable service in computation of a waiting period as long as it does not exceed, in the aggregate, two weeks per year for each 52 weeks of service. However, absence due to military service, as defined in 5 U.S.C. 8331(13), or compensable injury under 5 U.S.C. chapter 81 is fully creditable.

Time under the administrative law judge pay system is creditable service in computing the required waiting period when an individual moves from that system to the AAJ pay system without a break in service.

Premium Pay

AAJs are covered by the definition of "employee" in 5 U.S.C. 5541(2) and, therefore, are covered by the premium pay provisions under 5 U.S.C. chapter 55, subchapter V. AAJs may earn premium pay under title 5, subject to the applicable premium pay cap under 5 U.S.C. 5547.

How to Compute AAJ Rates of Pay

An agency must use the following procedures to convert an AAJ's annual rate of basic pay to an hourly, daily, weekly, or biweekly rate:

  • To derive an hourly rate, divide the annual rate of pay by 2,087 and round to the nearest cent, counting one-half cent and over as the next higher cent
  • To derive a daily rate, multiply the hourly rate by the number of daily hours of service required by the AAJ's basic daily tour of duty
  • To derive a weekly or bi-weekly rate, multiply the hourly rate by 40 or 80, as the case may be

Key Terms

Administrative appeals judge position means a position not classified above GS-15 under 5 U.S.C. 5108 and for which duties primarily involve reviewing decisions of administrative law judges appointed under 5 U.S.C. 3105 and rendering final administrative decisions.

Administrative law judge position means a position in which any portion of the duties requires the appointment of an administrative law judge under 5 U.S.C. 3105.

Head of agency means the head of an Executive agency or an official who has been delegated the authority to act for the head of the agency in the matter concerned.

References

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