5 CFR § 532.249 - Minimum rates for hard-to-fill positions.
(a) The lead agency for a wage area may establish the rate of the second, third, fourth, or fifth step of one or more grades of an occupation as the mandatory minimum rate or rates payable by any agency for the occupation at one or more locations within a wage area based on findings that:
(1) The hiring rates prevailing for an occupation in private sector establishments in the wage area are higher than the rate of the first step of the grade or grades of the occupation; and
(2) Federal installations and activities in the wage area are unable to recruit qualified employees at the rate of the first step of the grade or grades of the occupation.
(b) Any authorizations made under paragraph (a) of this section shall be indicated on the regular wage schedule for the wage area.
(c) Any authorizations made under paragraph (a) of this section shall be terminated with the issuance of a new regular wage schedule unless the conditions that warrant the authorizations continue and the new regular wage schedule continues that authorization.
(d) The lead agency, prior to terminating any authorization made under paragraph (a) of this section, shall require the appropriate official or officials at all installations or activities to which the authorization applies to discuss the termination with the appropriate official or officials of exclusively recognized employee organizations representing employees in the affected occupation. The agency officials shall report the results of these discussions to the lead agency.
(e) No employee shall have his/her pay reduced because of cancellation of an authorization made under paragraph (a) of this section.