Pay Setting, Federal Style

Remember Love, American Style? Well, welcome to Pay Setting, Federal Style.

Here is the scenario. We have an employee who was recently promoted from a GS-7 to a GS-9, who had prior experience in the same field as a GS-11. Federal HR practitioners are all jumping in now with, yes, highest previous rates. There is a flexibility available to provide advancement beyond the standard two step promotion rule for these situations. Because there is often a minimum and a maximum rate of pay to consider, the offer can be set within that range based on each individual case. Because these can be very subjective and fraught with emotion and are not very common, we meet within HR to discuss these pay setting situations. 

I need data, I need words, I need paper I can put my hands on. So after my staff left my office, that was exactly what I had. I want to get my head around this to not only set pay for for this one individual but to document a thought process we would use consistently for subsequent situations.  I needed more information. I went looking and lo and behold, not only did I find the information I needed, I found perspective.

Pay setting is complex, I know that, but seeing it on paper, really brings it home. Other than the typical promotions with the same pay system, there are guidelines and rules for things such as:

Movements between pay systems, assignment of special rates, termination of special rates, reassignment to a new official workstation, voluntary transfer from a special rate to a locality rate, voluntary demotion from a special rate to a salary rate, voluntary demotion from a lower locality rate to a higher locality rate, reappointment using GS rate as highest previous rate, reassignment using special rates as highest previous rate, reappointment using non-GS rate as highest previous rate, grade retention, pay retention and much much more!

Where is the perspective? It is in the numbers. My staff processed 1,553 pay actions in FY 05, 1656 in FY 06. In 2007 they already processed over 1,650. I can count the pay errors on my fingers without coming close to the need to move to my toes. Awesome!

Now, back to setting pay for this one, very important employee!