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.
During recent CBA negotiations and while negotiating the Promotions and Details Article, it was stated that there is no federal law that would prohibit Temporary Assignment pay by the hour. The union had proposed that all Bargaining Unit Employees receive pay to the higher position when assigned by management. This currently is a personnel action that requires an SF-50 to be issued, should the temporary promotion be for more than two pay periods. Currently, any assignment under 30 days is considered a “detail” which requires no additional pay. We have encountered a recent arbitration in which the employer has tried to state that an employee (who was acting in the higher grade for the day) is held to the standard of that position despite receiving no financial compensation. Having read several FLRA decisions, I was surprised to find that the FLRA believes in the theory of equal pay for equal work and that they also believe this is a negotiable item. Why hasn’t anyone challenged this? Can an employee be paid at the higher grade, for the day, if he/she performs the work?
It sounds like the issue is being arbitrated and he or she would answer your question. The answer depends on the wording of the contract as it relates to federal regulations.
Bill Bransford is managing partner of Shaw Bransford & Roth PC.
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