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OPM Contact: Jo-Ann Chabot
An employee has requested back pay because her position was classified erroneously at the GS-5 grade level instead of the GS-6 level.
During July 1993, the agency reviewed the classification of the claimant's position in light of a new position classification standard. Her position was compared with, and given a numerical rating for, each of the nine elements or factors that the classification standard described. The nine individual ratings were added correctly to reach a final rating that should have resulted in the classification of her position at the GS-6 grade level. However, an error occurred in comparing the final rating with the ratings listed on the grade level conversion chart and the claimant's position was classified incorrectly at the GS-5 level. It appears from the record that the agency discovered this mistake in February 1997 and reclassified the claimant's position from GS-5 to GS-6 on March 3, 1997. The claimant believes that she should receive back pay for the time that her position was classified erroneously.
The Back Pay Act, at 5 U.S.C. 5596(b), provides for back pay when the appropriate authority finds that an employee was affected by an unjustified or unwarranted personnel action that resulted in the withdrawal or reduction of all or part of the employee's pay. However, in specifying that subsection (b) does not apply to "any" reclassification action, section 5596(b)(3) excludes reclassification actions from coverage under the Back Pay Act. In view of the exclusion, there is no statutory basis that authorizes payment of this claim. Accordingly, the claim is denied.