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