415 Rate Retention and Change to Lower Nonbargaining Unit Grade

415.1 Rate Retention Types

415.11 Saved Grade

Under saved grade, an employee assigned to a lower grade is treated as being in the higher grade for pay increases and benefit purposes during the saved grade period. During this period of saved grade, employees should apply for positions at their respective saved-grade levels to allow them to return to their previous grade and level of responsibility. Nonbargaining unit employees, except for those assigned to lower grades during RIF-related periods (see 415.21), may be granted saved grade only in accordance with the terms and conditions issued for special situations by the vice president, Employee Resource Management (ERM).

415.12 Saved Salary

Saved salary provides that an employee assigned to a lower grade position whose higher grade salary does not fall within the salary range of the lower grade has this higher grade salary continued (saved). For as long as the saved salary is higher than the maximum salary of the lower grade position, the employee may receive pay–for–performance lump sums based on the policies applicable to employees at or above their salary range maximum. The saved salary is continued in accordance with postal policy or until it is terminated as specified in 415.4.

415.2 Changes to Lower Grade

415.21 Change to Lower Grade During a RIF Avoidance Period, Specific RIF Notice Period, RIF-Related 30-Day Nonduty, Nonpay Status Period, or a RIF

Nonbargaining employees who are changed to a lower grade career nonbargaining position during RIF-related periods — RIF avoidance; specific RIF notice; 30-day nonduty, nonpay status; and RIF — retain their current grade and pay for a period not to exceed 2 years from the effective date of the change to the lower grade position. On expiration of the saved grade period, they are automatically reduced to the grade of their current position. If upon expiration of the saved grade period the employee’s salary is within the salary range for the lower grade, the salary is continued. However, if the salary exceeds the maximum of the new grade, the salary is immediately reduced to the grade maximum. This applies to the following:

  1. Changes to lower grade positions within the EAS pay schedule.
  2. When changes occur within or between other nonbargaining pay schedules. (For more information, see 354.2.)
415.22 Voluntary Change to Lower Grade

An employee who voluntarily changes to a lower grade position is reduced to the lower grade immediately. But the salary remains the same as that in the higher grade position, provided it is not above the maximum in the lower position’s salary range. The salary cannot be set above the maximum for the new grade or above the employee’s salary immediately before the change. If the employee has a form of rate retention, it is terminated (see 415.4). However, if an employee was promoted to his or her current position less than one (1) year before the request for voluntary change to lower grade, the employee’s salary will be reduced by the dollar amount of the promotion.

415.23 Position Reclassified to a Lower Grade

When a position is reclassified to a lower grade, the employee is reduced to this grade immediately. The employee’s salary is handled in one of two ways:

  1. If the employee’s salary is within the salary range for the lower grade, the salary is continued and there is no saved salary.
  2. If the employee’s salary exceeds the maximum salary of the lower grade, saved salary is granted for a period not to exceed 2 years. At the end of the 2-year period, if the salary exceeds the maximum of the new grade, the salary is reduced immediately to the grade maximum.

Any management-initiated involuntary change to a lower grade must be effected according to the grievance and appeals procedures in 650.

In cases where full-time Postmaster positions are reclassified to part-time positions for 104 weeks, the Postmaster receives an hourly rate that produces the annual salary in effect before the change (full-time annual salary divided by the annual service hours for the part-time position). At the end of 104 weeks, the affected Postmaster’s hourly rate is reduced to the maximum hourly rate for the RMPO or PTPO (RSC F) salary schedule.

415.24 Management–Initiated Action Where Employee Voluntarily Accepts a Lower Grade Nonbargaining Unit Position

In cases of management-initiated action or in cases in which management determines that it is in the mutual interest of both the employee and the Postal Service and an employee voluntarily accepts a lower grade nonbargaining unit position, the employee must be placed in a position that he or she is qualified to perform, and as near to the grade of his or her original position as possible. Saved salary (see 415.12) is applicable in such actions for a period not to exceed 2 years. At the end of the 2-year period, the employee’s salary is reduced immediately to the maximum of the lower grade position.

415.25 Refusal of a Reasonable Assignment to a Higher Grade Position During a Rate Retention Period

An employee in a lower grade position with rate retention who refuses a reasonable assignment to a higher grade position is reduced immediately to the lower grade, and the salary is reduced by the dollar amount of the most recent promotion or upgrade received.

415.26 Change to Lower Level Due to Demotion for Cause

An employee who is changed to a lower grade position because of a demotion for cause is reduced immediately to the lower grade, and the salary is reduced by 10 percent or placed at the maximum of the lower grade, whichever is lower.

415.3 Rate Retention Effect on Promotion

If an employee with rate retention is assigned to a different position, there is no promotional pay raise unless the assignment is to a position with a grade that is higher than the grade on which the retained rate was established. Pay adjustments are made as follows:

  1. If the employee is assigned to a position with a grade equal to or lower than the grade on which the retained rate was established, the employee is placed at a salary in the new grade equal to the existing salary, and the retained rate continues until terminated in accordance with 415.4.
  2. If the employee is assigned to a position with a grade higher than the grade on which the retained rate was established, the retained rate is terminated, and the employee is eligible for a promotional increase to base pay.

415.4 Termination of Salary Retention

415.41 Reason for Terminating

A saved grade, retained rate, or both, ceases at the beginning of the pay period following a determination that the employee is no longer entitled to saved grade, rate retention, or both, for any one of the following reasons:

  1. A break in service of one workday or more.
  2. A demotion or employee-initiated change to a lower grade position.
  3. A promotion or assignment change to a rate in a grade or range equal to or above the saved grade, retained rate, or both.
  4. A change in compensation of the employee, for any reason, to a rate equal to or higher than the retained rate.
  5. The employee refuses a reasonable assignment to a higher grade position.
  6. A change from nonbargaining unit to a bargaining unit schedule. Note: Item 415.41f terminates nonbargaining unit saved grade, saved salary, or both; however, an eligible employee may continue to receive rate retention subject to bargaining unit rules.