5 CFR 534.404 - Setting and adjusting pay for senior executives.

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§ 534.404 Setting and adjusting pay for senior executives.
(a) Setting pay upon initial appointment to the SES. An authorized agency official may set the rate of basic pay of an individual at any rate within the SES rate range upon initial appointment to the SES, subject to the limitation on the maximum rate of basic pay in § 534.403(a). Rates of basic pay above the rate for level III of the Executive Schedule but less than or equal to the rate for level II of the Executive Schedule generally are reserved for those newly appointed senior executives who possess superior leadership or other competencies, as determined by the agency as part of its strategic human capital plan. In setting a new senior executive's rate of basic pay, an agency must consider the nature and quality of the individual's experience, qualifications, and accomplishments as they relate to the requirements of the SES position, as well as the individual's current responsibilities.
(b) Adjusting the pay of SES members.
(1) An authorized agency official may adjust (increase or reduce) the rate of basic pay of a senior executive consistent with the agency's plan for setting and adjusting SES rates of basic pay under paragraph (g) of this section.
(2) A senior executive who receives an annual summary rating of outstanding performance must be considered for an annual pay increase, subject to the limitation on the maximum rate of basic pay in § 534.403(a).
(3) An agency may provide a pay increase to allow a senior executive to advance his or her relative position within the SES rate range only upon a determination by the authorized agency official that the senior executive's individual performance and/or contributions to agency performance so warrant. In assessing a senior executive's performance and/or contribution to the agency's performance, the authorized agency official may consider such things as unique skills, qualifications, or competencies that the individual possesses, and their significance to the agency's performance, as well as the senior executive's current responsibilities. Senior executives who demonstrate the highest levels of individual performance and/or make the greatest contributions to the agency's performance, as determined by the agency through the administration of its performance appraisal system, or, in the case of newly-appointed senior executives, those who possess superior leadership or other competencies, as determined by the agency as part of its strategic human capital plan, must receive the highest rates of basic pay or pay adjustments.
(4)
(i) On the effective date of an increase in the minimum or maximum rate of basic pay of the SES rate range under § 534.403(a)(1) or (2), an authorized agency official may increase the rate of basic pay of a senior executive who meets or exceeds his or her performance expectations by an amount that does not exceed the amount necessary to maintain the senior executive's relative position in the SES rate range, except as provided in paragraph (b)(4)(ii) and (b)(4)(iii) of this section. A pay increase made under this paragraph is not considered a pay adjustment for the purpose of applying § 534.404(c).
(ii) A pay increase under paragraph (b)(4)(i) of this section may not be provided to a senior executive whose rate of basic pay is at or below the rate for level III of the Executive Schedule if such an increase would cause the senior executive's rate of basic pay to exceed the rate for level III of the Executive Schedule unless the senior executive has received an annual summary rating of outstanding for the most recently completed appraisal period and the agency head or designee who performs the functions described in 5 CFR 430.404(a)(5) or (6) (including the Inspector General, where applicable) has approved the increase in pay.
(iii) A pay increase under paragraph (b)(4)(i) of this section may not be provided to a senior executive whose rate of basic pay is above the rate for level III of the Executive Schedule unless the senior executive has received an annual summary rating of outstanding for the most recently completed appraisal period and the agency head or designee who performs the functions described in 5 CFR 430.404(a)(5) or (6) (including the Inspector General, where applicable) has approved the increase in pay. However, in the case of a senior executive whose rate of basic pay is above the rate for level III of the Executive Schedule and who has been rated below outstanding, but above fully successful, for the most recently completed appraisal period, the agency head or designee who performs the functions described in 5 CFR 430.404(a)(5) or (6) (including the Inspector General, where applicable) may approve such a pay increase in limited circumstances, such as for an exceptionally meritorious accomplishment.
(5) A senior executive who receives a summary rating of less than fully successful may not receive an increase in pay for the current appraisal period.
(6) An authorized agency official may reduce the rate of basic pay of a senior executive for performance and/or disciplinary reasons, consistent with the restrictions on reducing the rate of basic pay of a career senior executive in paragraph (j) of this section and in § 534.406(b).
(c) 12-month rule.
(1) An authorized agency official may adjust (i.e., increase or reduce) the rate of basic pay of a senior executive not more than once during any 12-month period. However, an agency may make a determination to provide an additional pay increase under certain conditions as prescribed in paragraph (c)(3) and (4) of this section without regard to whether the senior executive has received a pay adjustment during the previous 12-month period.
(2) The following pay actions are considered pay adjustments for the purpose of applying this paragraph:
(i) The setting of an individual's rate of basic pay upon initial appointment or reappointment to the SES under paragraphs (a) and (i)(1) of this section and upon reinstatement to the SES under paragraph (i)(2)(ii) of this section; and
(ii) Any adjustment (increase or reduction) in an SES rate of basic pay granted to a senior executive, except as provided in paragraph (c)(3) of this section.
(3) The following pay actions are not considered pay adjustments for the purpose of applying this paragraph:
(i) The conversion of senior executives to the new SES pay system under § 534.406 and the conversion of other employees to equivalent senior executive positions;
(ii) A determination by an authorized agency official to make a zero adjustment in pay after reviewing a senior executive's annual summary rating;
(iii) A zero adjustment in pay made during the 12-month period preceding the first day of the first applicable pay period beginning on or after January 1, 2004, caused by the former limitation on basic pay plus locality-based comparability payments under 5 U.S.C. 5304(g)(2) for a senior executive who was granted an increase in his or her rate of basic pay that did not result in an actual increase in pay;
(iv) A determination to provide an additional pay increase under paragraph (f) of this section when there is an increase in Executive Schedule rates of pay;
(v) A determination to provide an additional pay increase under paragraph (e)(2) of this section when an agency's senior executive performance appraisal system is certified under 5 CFR part 430, subpart D, after the beginning of a calendar year;
(vi) A determination to provide a pay increase under paragraph (b)(4) of this section to allow a senior executive to maintain his or her relative position in the SES rate range; and
(vii) An increase in pay equivalent to the minimum amount necessary to ensure that a senior executive's rate of basic pay does not fall below the minimum rate of the SES rate range.
(4) An authorized agency official may approve increases in a senior executive's rate of basic pay more than once during a 12-month period if the agency head or designee who performs the functions described in 5 CFR 430.404(a)(5) or (6) (including the Inspector General, where applicable) determines that—
(i) The senior executive's exceptionally meritorious accomplishment significantly contributes to the agency's performance;
(ii) A pay increase is necessary to reassign a senior executive to a position with substantially greater scope and responsibility or to recruit a senior executive with superior leadership or other competencies from a position in another agency;
(iii) The retention of the senior executive is critical to the mission of the agency and the senior executive would be likely to leave the agency in the absence of a pay increase; or
(iv) Such action conforms to an otherwise applicable executive appraisal and pay adjustment cycle (e.g., in the case of a senior executive who was appointed to an SES position within the past 12 months or a senior executive who was transferred to an SES position from an agency with a different senior executive appraisal and pay adjustment cycle within the past 12 months).
(5) An authorized agency official must provide written documentation approving an exception under paragraph (c)(4) of this section. Any pay adjustment made as a result of a determination under paragraph (c)(4) of this section is considered a pay adjustment for the purpose of applying § 534.404(c) and begins a new 12-month period.
(d) Adjustments in pay prior to certification of applicable performance appraisal system. An authorized agency official may adjust a senior executive's rate of basic pay converted under § 534.406 on the first day of the first applicable pay period beginning on or after January 1, 2004, or on any date thereafter prior to obtaining certification under 5 CFR part 430, subpart D, but only up to the rate for level III of the Executive Schedule. The authorized agency official may provide an increase in pay if warranted under the conditions prescribed in paragraph (b) of this section and the senior executive is otherwise eligible for such an increase (i.e., he or she did not receive a pay adjustment under § 534.404(c) during the previous 12-month period). An adjustment in pay made under this paragraph is considered a pay adjustment for the purpose of applying § 534.404(c).
(e) Adjustments in pay after certification of applicable performance appraisal system.
(1) In the case of an agency that obtains certification of a performance appraisal system for senior executives under 5 CFR part 430, subpart D, an authorized agency official may increase a covered senior executive's rate of basic pay up to the rate for level II of the Executive Schedule, consistent with the limitations in § 534.403(a)(3). The authorized agency official may provide an increase in pay if warranted under the conditions prescribed in paragraph (b) of this section and if the senior executive is otherwise eligible for such an increase (i.e., he or she did not receive a pay adjustment under § 534.404(c) during the previous 12-month period). An adjustment in pay made under this paragraph is considered a pay adjustment for the purpose of applying § 534.404(c).
(2) In the case of an agency that was prevented from establishing or adjusting a rate of basic pay above the rate for level III of the Executive Schedule for an individual upon initial appointment to the SES under § 534.404(a) or for a current SES member using one of the exceptions to the 12-month rule in § 534.404(c)(4)(i), (ii), or (iii) because the agency had not yet obtained certification of its performance appraisal system for senior executives under 5 CFR part 430, subpart D, in the current calendar year, an authorized agency official may increase such a senior executive's rate of basic pay up to the rate for level II of the Executive Schedule upon certification of the agency's senior executive performance appraisal system, consistent with the limitations in § 534.403(a)(3). The authorized agency official may review the previous determination to set or adjust the pay of a senior executive to determine whether, and to what extent, an additional pay increase may be warranted based on the same criteria used for the previous determination. The determination to provide an additional pay increase may not be made effective before the date the agency's senior executive performance appraisal system is certified under 5 CFR part 430, subpart D, or after December 31st of the calendar year for which the agency's system is certified. An adjustment in pay made under this paragraph is not considered a pay adjustment for the purpose of applying § 534.404(c) and does not begin a new 12-month period for that purpose.
(f) Effect of increase in Executive Schedule rates of pay.
(1) If there is an additional increase in the rates for the Executive Schedule in a calendar year, and if that increase becomes effective on the first day of the first pay period beginning on or after January 1 (i.e., the date prescribed in 5 U.S.C. 5318), an agency may review any previous determination to adjust the pay of a senior executive that was made effective on or after the effective date of the first increase in the rates for the Executive Schedule to determine whether, and to what extent, an additional pay increase may be warranted for senior executives based on the same criteria used for the previous determination. If the agency determines that an additional pay increase is warranted, that increase must be made effective as of the effective date of the previous pay increase and is not considered a pay adjustment for the purpose of applying § 534.404(c).
(2) If there is an increase in the rates of pay for the Executive Schedule under 5 U.S.C. 5318 after an agency has already granted pay increases to its senior executives following the applicable performance appraisal period, an agency may review any previous determination to increase the pay of a senior executive whose rate of basic pay is equivalent to the rate for level II (if covered under a performance appraisal system that is certified) or level III (if covered under a performance appraisal system that is not certified) when the applicable maximum rate is increased to determine whether, and to what extent, an additional pay increase may be warranted for the senior executive based on the same criteria used for the previous determination. The determination to provide an additional pay increase must be approved and made effective as of the effective date of increases in the Executive Schedule under 5 U.S.C. 5318 (i.e., the first day of the first pay period beginning on or after January 1). An additional pay increase under this paragraph is not considered a pay adjustment for the purpose of applying § 534.404(c).
(g) Agency plan for setting and adjusting SES rate of basic pay. Each agency must establish a plan for setting and adjusting the rates of basic pay for SES members. Agencies must provide for transparency in the processes for making pay decisions, while assuring confidentiality. In developing its plan for setting and adjusting SES rates, an agency may consider the senior executive's broad scope of authority and level of responsibility and his or her personal accountability for the success (or failure) of an agency's programs. The agency's plan must require that any decisions to adjust pay must reflect meaningful distinctions among senior executives based on individual performance and/or contribution to agency performance and must include—
(1) The criteria that will be used to set and adjust a senior executive's rate of basic pay to ensure that individual pay rates or pay adjustments, as well as their overall distribution within the SES rate range, reflect meaningful distinctions within a single performance rating level (e.g., the higher the employee's relative performance within a rating level, the higher the pay adjustment) and/or between performance rating levels (e.g., the higher the rating level, the higher the pay adjustment);
(2) The criteria that will be used to set and adjust a senior executive's rate of basic pay at a rate that exceeds the rate for level III of the Executive Schedule if the applicable agency performance appraisal system has been certified under 5 CFR part 430, subpart D;
(3) The designation of the authorized agency official who has authority to set and adjust SES rates of pay for individual senior executives, subject to the requirement that the agency head or designee who performs the functions described in 5 CFR 430.404(a)(5) and (6) (including the Inspector General, where applicable) must approve any determination to set a senior executive's rate of basic pay higher than the rate for level III of the Executive Schedule and must approve any determination to increase a senior executive's rate of basic pay more than once in any 12-month period; and
(4) The administrative and management controls that will be applied to ensure compliance with applicable statutes, OPM's regulations, the agency's plan, and, where applicable, the certification requirements set forth in 5 CFR 430, subpart D, and the limitation on the maximum rate of basic pay in § 534.403(a).
(h) Setting pay upon transfer.
(1) An authorized agency official may set the pay of a senior executive transferring from another agency at any rate within the SES rate range, subject to the limitation on the maximum rate of basic pay in § 534.403(a) and the restrictions on reducing the pay of career senior executives in paragraph (h)(2) of this section (upon transfer to an agency whose applicable performance appraisal system is not certified) and in § 534.406(b) (for 12 months following the effective date of the new SES pay system). If pay is set at the same SES rate the senior executive received in his or her former agency, the action is not considered a pay adjustment for the purpose of applying § 534.404(c).
(2) A senior executive whose rate of basic pay is higher than the rate for level III of the Executive Schedule may not suffer a reduction in pay as a result of transferring to an agency where the maximum rate of basic pay for the applicable SES rate range is equal to the rate for level III of the Executive Schedule. The senior executive will continue to receive his or her current SES rate and is not eligible for a pay adjustment until the senior executive is assigned to a position that would allow the employee to receive a pay adjustment or the employing agency's applicable performance appraisal system is certified under 5 CFR part 430, subpart D. The SES rate of pay is not considered a retained rate of pay for the purpose of applying 5 U.S.C. 3594 and 5 CFR part 359, subpart G, or 5 U.S.C. 5363 and 5 CFR part 536, subpart C.
(i) Setting pay following a break in SES service—
(1) General. Upon reappointment to the SES, an authorized agency official may set the rate of basic pay of a former senior executive at any rate within the SES rate range, subject to the limitations in § 534.403(a), if there has been a break in SES service of more than 30 days. If there has been a break in SES service of 30 days or less, the senior executive's rate of basic pay may be set at any rate within the SES rate range (without regard to whether the employee received a pay adjustment during the previous 12-month period), but not higher than the senior executive's former SES rate of basic pay. Where there has been a break in service of 30 days or less, the agency head or designee who performs the functions described in 5 CFR 430.404(a)(5) and (6) (including the Inspector General, where applicable) may approve a higher rate than the senior executive's former rate of basic pay, if warranted. Setting a rate of basic pay upon reappointment to the SES is considered a pay adjustment under § 534.404(c).
(2) Reinstatement from a Presidential appointment requiring Senate confirmation. The following provisions apply to a former career senior executive who is reinstated under 5 CFR 317.703:
(i) If the individual elected to remain subject to the SES pay provisions while serving under a Presidential appointment, his or her SES rate may be adjusted upon reinstatement to the SES, whether in the agency where the individual held the Presidential appointment or in another agency, if at least 12 months have elapsed since the employee's last SES pay adjustment. If fewer than 12 months have elapsed since the employee's last SES pay adjustment, an authorized agency official may approve an additional pay increase under § 534.404(c)(4) if the additional pay increase is warranted. Any pay adjustment must be made in accordance with paragraphs (b), (d), and (e) of this section and the agency's plan for adjusting SES rates of pay in paragraph (g) of this section.
(ii) If the individual did not elect to remain subject to the SES pay provisions while serving under a Presidential appointment, his or her SES rate may be set upon reinstatement to the SES at any rate within the SES rate range, subject to the limitations in § 534.403(a).
(iii) Setting a rate of basic pay upon reinstatement to the SES under paragraphs (i)(2)(i) and (ii) of this section is considered a pay adjustment for the purpose of applying § 534.404(c).
(j) Restrictions on reducing the pay of career senior executives.
(1) An authorized agency official may reduce a career senior executive's SES rate of basic pay by not more than 10 percent for performance or disciplinary reasons, subject to the restriction on reducing the pay of career senior executives in § 534.406(b) or setting pay below the minimum rate of the SES rate range in § 534.403(a).
(2) The SES rate of basic pay of a career senior executive may be reduced without the employee's consent by the senior executive's agency or upon transfer of function to another agency only—
(i) If the senior executive has received a less than fully successful annual summary rating under 5 CFR part 430, subpart C, or has otherwise failed to meet the performance requirements for a critical element as defined in 5 CFR 430.303; or
(ii) As a disciplinary or adverse action resulting from conduct-related activity, including, but not limited to, misconduct, neglect of duty, or malfeasance.
(3) Prior to reducing a career senior executive's rate of basic pay, the agency must provide the senior executive with the following:
(i) Written notice of such reduction at least 15 days in advance of its effective date;
(ii) A reasonable period of time, but not less than 7 days, for the senior executive to respond to such notice orally and/or in writing and to furnish affidavits and other documentary evidence in support of that response;
(iii) An opportunity to be represented in the matter by an attorney or other representative;
(iv) A written decision and specific reasons for the pay reduction at the earliest practicable date after the senior executive's response, if any; and
(v) An opportunity to request, within 7 days after the date of that decision, reconsideration by the head of the agency, whose determination with respect to that request will be final and not subject to further review.
(4) Reductions in pay under paragraph (j) of this section are not appealable under 5 U.S.C. 7543.
[69 FR 70363, Dec. 6, 2004, as amended at 70 FR 31305, May 31, 2005; 71 FR 38754, July 10, 2006]

Title 5 published on 2014-01-01

The following are only the Rules published in the Federal Register after the published date of Title 5.

For a complete list of all Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices view the Rulemaking tab.

  • 2014-03-05; vol. 79 # 43 - Wednesday, March 5, 2014
    1. 79 FR 12353 - Pay for Senior-Level and Scientific or Professional Positions
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      OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT
      Final rule.
      Effective April 4, 2014.
      5 CFR Part 534

Title 5 published on 2014-01-01

The following are ALL rules, proposed rules, and notices (chronologically) published in the Federal Register relating to 5 CFR 534 after this date.

  • 2014-12-10; vol. 79 # 237 - Wednesday, December 10, 2014
    1. 79 FR 73239 - Managing Senior Executive Performance
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      OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT
      Proposed rule with request for comments.
      Comments must be received on or before February 9, 2015.
      5 CFR Parts 430 and 534