Q & A Session – Voluntary Downgrade


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.


Currently, I am a GS-14, Step 5, with an agency in the D.C. area. I recently completed an interview for a competitive position within another federal agency in the same area. However, the position for which I interviewed is at the GS-13 level. I received initial indications from the hiring manager that I will be selected, but obviously I need to await official HR notification.

Considering GS-14, Step 5, pay is a little above GS-13, Step 10, pay, and this would be a voluntary downgrade, at what Step can I expect to be placed? GS-13, Step 10, but have “retained GS-14(5) pay,” meaning I lose no money? Or GS-13, Step 10, pay, meaning I lose a little money? Or GS-13, Step 1, pay, meaning I would lose a lot of money?


I do not believe you are authorized to have retained pay. Your step would be at management’s discretion, but most likely will be at the highest level. If you are not happy with the offer, you do not have to accept the job.

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

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About Author

Debra Roth

Debra L. Roth is a partner at the law firm Shaw Bransford & Roth, a federal employment law firm in Washington, D.C. She is general counsel to the Senior Executives Association and the Federal Managers Association, host of the “FEDtalk” program on Federal News Radio, and a regular contributor to Federal News Radio’s “Federal Drive” morning show. Email your legal questions to lawyer@federaltimes.com.

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