Q. I am a GS-9 and filling a GS-7 position that has not been filled. I have been informed that due to the agency downsizing, my GS-9 position will be eliminated. What are my options? Am I entitled to a GS-9 save-pay if I am offered the GS-7 position?

A. According to the Office of Personnel Management, “An agency must provide grade retention to an employee who moves from a position under a covered pay system to a lower-graded position under a covered pay system as a result of:

* Reduction in force procedures (as described in 5 CFR 536.201(c)); or

* A reclassification process (as described in 5 CFR 536.201(d)).

“An employee is eligible for grade retention as a result of a reduction in force only if the employee has served for at least 52 consecutive weeks in one or more positions under a covered pay system at one or more grades higher than the grade of the position in which the employee is placed. An employee is eligible for grade retention based on a reclassification of his or her position only if, immediately before the reduction in grade, that position was classified at the existing grade or a higher grade for a continuous period of at least 1 year. (See 5 CFR 536.203.)”


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Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to

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