Q & A Session – Qualified for GS-14 Position?


Ask the Lawyer received the following question (paraphrased for easier reading and clarity) from a reader on a legal matter that might be of interest to the entire audience.


I was under NSPS and have been converted back to the General Schedule as a GS-12. I am receiving retained pay because under NSPS I was the equivalent of a GS-13. I would like to apply for a newly created GS-14 position. I have been certified as fully qualified, but want to know if there is a basis to appeal the decision?


Your question is unclear.

Were you denied the position because you were found unqualified for the GS-14 because you lacked 52 weeks as the GS-13? If so, you have to convince the hiring authority that you did have the GS-13 experience under NSPS. That might be difficult to do, and your remedies are limited. You can file a grievance. If you can prove illegal discrimination EEO might work. If you can show a violation of the merit promotion plan, you might seek help from the U.S. Office of Special Counsel.

Bill Bransford is managing partner of Shaw, Bransford & Roth, PC.

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  1. As a DON HR specialist, I don’t think you would qualify. If you were the equivalent of a GS-13 under NSPS, then you would have converted out as a GS-13. You converted out as a GS-12 because that’s the PD/duties you are performing. If you believe you are performing GS-13 duties then ask for a desk audit. Your salary alone does not constitute your GS equivalency – one of the major flaws of NSPS.

    Your salary can help determine TIG, but you are going to be hard pressed to find an HR specialist to think your duties were GS-13 equivalent if you converted out at the GS-12, retained pay or not.

  2. I am currently a GS-13 and I supervise four GS-13s which is indicated on the agency organization chart. I talked to our HR and they indicated that I should be a GS-14 as it would be automatic since I supervise GS-13s but my manager has made many statements that he can not get the GS-14 through HR. Am I being lied to? Should I be a GS-14?

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