Q & A Session – Temporary Assignment as Supervisor


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 am a GS-13 and my GS-14 supervisor is leaving to take a new position. His supervisor, a GS-15, is going to advertise and keep this position as a GS-14 supervisor. In the interim, he plans on doing 30-day increments of assignments with no pay increase. Most of the staff are GS-12s or below.

Are there limits to how long a person can fill a higher grade without that person being eligible to receive any compensating income for performing at this level? Can a GS-12 be assigned or detailed to a GS-14 position? Is there a difference between “assignment” and “detail?” Are there any federal union issues that this might violate?


Agencies have the discretion to temporarily promote employees, but most advertise if the promotion is to last for more than 120 days. For temporary assignments, designed to fill a gap, there is no requirement to promote or advertise. A GS-12 can be assigned to acting duties, but such a practice could be criticized by higher level management.

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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