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Office of the General Counsel

Matter of:
File Number: S9601587

OPM Contact: Joann Charleston

An employee requests that we review her claim for backpay. We have completed our review of this claim and have determined that it may not be allowed.

The circumstances giving rise to this claim are as follows. On June 13, 1994, the Agency forwarded a SF-52 request to classify a Management Assistant (OA) GS-344-5 position. The request was determined to be a redescription of a Secretary (OA) GS-318-5. The Commanding Officer prepared a request to classify a Management Assistant (OA), GS-344-6 on March 29, 1995. The classification as requested would result in an accretion of duties and a promotion for the incumbent. A July 10, 1995, discussion with the incumbents supervisor indicated that the higher level duties were being performed but had not been assigned to the incumbent until April 1995. The position was classified as a Secretary (OA), GS-318-6, on July 21, 1995. The promotion was effected on July 23, 1995. The incumbent is now claiming backpay for the difference in wages for the time period before the position was reclassified in July 1995.

As a general rule, federal government employees are entitled only to the salaries of the positions to which they are appointed, regardless of the duties they actually perform. Thus, even if a position to which an employee is appointed is subsequently reclassified to a position of higher grade, entitlement to the pay of the higher grade does not commence until the employee is actually appointed to the higher grade. Delays in reclassifying a position to a higher grade do not provide a basis for backpay.

B-245737, November 25, 1991.

The Back Pay Act specifically provides that its provisions do not apply to any reclassification action. Also, the Supreme Court of the United States has held that neither the Classification Act, 5 U.S.C. 5101-5115 (1988), nor the Back Pay Act, 5 U.S.C. 5596 (1988), create a substantive right to backpay for periods of wrongful position classification actions.

The file indicates that the incumbent was promoted to the GS-6 level effective July 23, 1995. Not until that time would the incumbent be entitled to the salary commensurate with that position.

Accordingly, the claim is denied.

Control Panel