Personnel Actions - Authority to Set Retroactive Effective Dates for Payment of Back Pay - Comptroller Gen Decisions

Note: This article is to be used only in conjunction with the primary article entitled:

"Personnel Actions - Authority to Set Retroactive Effective Dates for Payment of Back Pay"

B-168683 (1970)

Digest: "An employee who, after being notified of selection for promotion and assuming new duties, did not have promotion personnel action processed until more than a month later may have promotion selection letter regarded as establishing intention to promote employee and failure of processing papers regarded as clerical error. Therefore, retroactive correction may be made." Note: The person "vested with the authority to approve" the employee's promotion signed the letter.

B-183960 (1976)

Digest: "Employee was advised prior to a detail action that, if she so elected, she could be promoted temporarily but would not receive per diem while at temporary duty station. She elected to receive per diem in lieu of temporary promotion. Although a temporary promotion was discretionary, the agency had no right to require employee to make such a choice. Since the agency states that the employee would have been promoted but for the improper action, an unjustified or unwarranted personnel action occurred and retroactive promotion with backpay for the period of detail may be made." Note: The "agency had decided to process a temporary promotion prior to the commencement of the detail contingent upon (the employee's) election to forego a per diem."

B-181223 (1974)

Digest: "Employees, placed in lower grade at time of appointment than they would have been placed in had there not been an administrative failure to carry out a nondiscretionary agency policy, may have their appointments retroactively changed to the higher grade and paid appropriate back pay. While general rule is that retroactive changes in salary may not be made in absence of a statute so providing, General Accounting Office has permitted retroactive adjustments in cases where errors occurred as the result of a failure to carry out a nondiscretionary administrative policy." Note: The employees "performed the duties and responsibilities of the (higher-graded) position from the date of their initial appointments."

B-183061 (1975)

Digest: "Collective-bargaining agreement provides that certain Internal Revenue Service career-ladder employees will be promoted effective the first pay period after 1 year in grade, but promotions of seven employees covered by agreement were erroneously delayed for periods up to several weeks. Since provision relating to effective dates of promotions becomes nondiscretionary agency requirement, if properly includable in bargaining agreement, General Accounting Office will not object to retroactive promotions based on administrative determination that employees would have been promoted as of revised effective dates but for failure to timely process promotions in accordance with the agreement."

B-214203 (1985)

Digest: "An employee was selected from a selection register for promotion and was orally so notified. She reported to her new position, but was not actually promoted until 1 month later due to administrative delays in processing the necessary paperwork. The claim for retroactive promotion and back pay is denied. In the absence of a nondiscretionary agency regulation or policy, the effective date of a promotion may not be earlier than the date action is taken by an official authorized to approve or disapprove the promotion. The delays here all occurred before the authorized official had the opportunity to act. Further, the failure to promote the employee at an earlier date did not violate a nondiscretionary agency policy."

B-190408 (1977)

Digest: "Where promotion of employee in career ladder position was delayed because original promotion request submitted by supervisor was lost in mails, agency may not comply with arbitration award of retroactive promotion and back pay. Original promotion request was lost prior to approval of promotion by authorized official and hence the delay in processing does not constitute such administrative error as will support retroactive promotion. Further, employee had no vested right to promotion effective the same date as other employees in same career ladder program." Note: This decision discusses many of the most important principles regarding back pay.

B-184817 (1975)

Digest: "Where promotion of eligible employee may have been delayed for short period of time because employee was voluntarily transferred to new permanent duty station necessitating reprocessing of promotion, promotion is not delayed due to administrative or clerical error, and is not exception to general rule forbidding retroactive promotions of Government employees."

B-192455 (1978)

Digest: "Provision of negotiated agreement calling for consistent and equitable application of merit promotion principles does not constitute a nondiscretionary agency policy requiring agency to make promotions at any specified time or under specified criteria. The inclusion of a provision in a negotiated agreement does not automatically make it nondiscretionary for purposes of the Back Pay Act. A nondiscretionary provision for such purposes is defined to mean one requiring an agency to take prescribed action under stated conditions or criteria."

B-216605 (1985)

Digest: "An employee was assigned the duties of a vacant and higher-graded position, but her temporary promotion to the position was delayed because of a clerical error. The employee's temporary promotion may be effected retroactively, because the agency failed to carry out a nondiscretionary (established) policy of temporarily promoting each employee who assumed the duties of the vacant position."

Content last reviewed: 4/11/2005-HLJ

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This page was last revised: 4/11/2005