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Office of the General Counsel

Date: May 18, 1998
Matter of: [xxx]
File Number: s9700339

Dear [xxx]:

This replies to your September 12, 1997 claim, in which you assert that your employing agency, the [agency], incorrectly calculated your anniversary date for purposes of approving within-grade increases (WGIs) in pay. For the reasons stated below, we are not issuing a final settlement on your claim. The following information, however, should assist you in resolving this matter with your agency.

As a result of Public Law 100-135, which became effective October 12, 1987, the [agency] (agency) was required to bring the rank structure and pay of [agency] police into conformity with the Capitol Police. Your claim concerns the implementation of this statute. Specifically, you question whether pay increases incident to this law should start a new waiting period for WGIs. Although not subject to the Title V, United States Code, statutes for setting pay, the [agency] announced in a September 18, 1990 memorandum that, for this purpose, the [agency] would "use the statute governing pay administration that is uses for all other employees covered by Title V."

Under these rules, which are implemented by the Office of Personnel Management through regulations found at 5 C.F.R. Part 531, subpart D, qualified employees are entitled to be advanced in pay to the next step of their grade after completing the necessary waiting period. 5 C.F.R.  531.404. Not all adjustments in pay, however, result in having to start a new waiting period. 5 C.F.R.  531.407(c). A new waiting period begins when an employee receives an "equivalent increase" in pay, which means "in increase or increases in an employee's rate of basic pay equal to or greater than the difference between the employee's rate of basic pay and the rate of pay for the next higher step of that grade . . . ." 5 C.F.R. 531.403.

Thus, whether the implementation of Pub. Law 100-135 resulted in an "equivalent increase" in your pay depends on whether the amount of the increase you received incident to the implementation of that statute was equal to or greater than the amount of the increase you would have received after the appropriate time-in-step under the old system. The record does not include sufficient information for OPM to determine whether, in your particular case, the [agency] correctly computed your WGI anniversary date.

If you believe that the [agency] incorrectly calculated your WGI anniversary dates, you should first show this letter to the agency with the relevant pay records and seek a reconsideration of their decision. If that decision is not satisfactory to you, you then may resubmit your appeal.

Very truly yours,

Paul Britner
Senior Attorney

Control Panel