U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
202-366-4000


Skip to content U.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway AdministrationU.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway Administration

Home / Resources / Legislation, Regulations and Guidance / Directives and Memorandum / Orders

Order
Subject
FHWA Personnel Management Manual; Part 1: Personnel Systems & Procedures, Chapter 5 Performance Evaluation Subject, Section 1 Within-Grade Salary Increases (General Schedule and Federal Wage System)
Classification Code Date
M3000.1C April 13, 2005  

  1. What is the purpose of this section?
  2. Does this directive cancel an existing FHWA directive?
  3. What references were used when writing this section?
  4. What general procedures are used in administering WIG increases?
  5. What procedures are used in making acceptable level of competence determinations?
  6. What are the procedures for making negative WIG determinations?
  7. How is a reconsideration of a negative determination obtained?
  8. What is the relationship between a WIG increase and a quality step increase (QSI)?
  1. What is the purpose of this section? This section revises Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) guidance for the administration of within-grade (WIG) salary increases for General Schedule (GS) and Federal Wage System (FWS) employees.

  2. Does this directive cancel an existing FHWA directive? Yes. This directive cancels FHWA Personnel Management Manual (PMM), Part 1, Chapter 5, Section 1, Within-Grade Salary Increases (General Schedule and Wage-System), dated June 28, 1996.

  3. What references were used when writing this section?

    1. Title 5, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Part 531, Subpart D, Within-Grade Increases, and Part 532, Subpart D, Pay Administration.

    2. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Federal Wage System Operating Manual, 1996 Update.

    3. Department of Transportation (DOT) Departmental Personnel Manual (DPM), Chapter 430, Performance Management.

    4. FHWA PMM, Part 1, Chapter 5, Section 2 (Performance Management System), dated September 30, 1996.

  4. What general procedures are used in administering WIG increases? The general procedures for administering WIG increases for GS employees are outlined in 5 CFR 531, Subpart D. Procedures for administering WIG increases for FWS employees are described in 5 CFR 532.417, and in the OPM Federal Wage System Operating Manual. The guidance on eligibility for WIG increases, waiting periods, equivalent increase determinations, acceptable level of competence determinations, reconsideration of negative determinations, and effective dates of WIG increases are included in those sections. The clarifying details that are specific to the FHWA are explained in paragraphs 5 through 8 of this chapter, and they should be used in conjunction with the guidance referenced above. Unless otherwise stated, the specific guidance in this directive applies to GS and FWS employees.

  5. What procedures are used in making acceptable level of competence determinations? A supervisor must certify that an employee is performing at an acceptable level of competence in order to grant a WIG increase.

    1. Known specific performance requirements. Employees shall be informed of the specific performance requirements (performance objectives and standards) that constitute an acceptable level of competence at the beginning of the rating period, within a reasonable time (30 days) after initial appointment to a position, or when there has been a permanent change in the position. (Performance rated at or above the summary level of "Meets or Exceeds Requirements" is considered to be performance at an acceptable level of competence.)

    2. Minimum period for demonstrating acceptable performance. The minimum period to demonstrate acceptable performance in the FHWA is 90 calendar days.

    3. Current performance rating of record. The acceptable level of competence determination is based upon the current performance rating of record. If the current performance rating of record does not accurately reflect whether or not the employee is performing at least at the "Meets or Exceeds Requirements" level at the time the WIG increase is due, a new rating of record must be prepared. To ensure that this determination is made in a timely manner, a computerized reminder system is used to send decision notices to the supervisor at regular intervals. This begins 120 days prior to the completion of the employee's waiting period for the WIG increase. If the supervisor determines that the employee is not performing at an acceptable level of competence, the procedures described in paragraphs 6 and 7 of this chapter shall be followed.

  6. What are the procedures for making negative WIG determinations?

    1. Notification and performance. If at any time during the performance appraisal period the employee's performance falls below the "Meets or Exceeds Requirements " level, the employee must be notified that his or her WIG increase may be denied. The employee is placed on a written Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) and is provided a reasonable opportunity period (a minimum of 90 days) to demonstrate acceptable performance. (See PMM Part 1, Chapter 5, Section 2, paragraph 9 for additional information.) If the employee's performance does not improve to at least the "Meets or Exceeds Requirements" level after this period and the employee receives a final performance rating of record of "Fails to Meet Requirements," the employee is not eligible for a WIG increase. If the PIP is initiated within 90 days of the end of the waiting period for the WIG increase, the WIG increase will be delayed until a rating of record is issued at the conclusion of the PIP.

    2. Denial of a WIG increase. Denial of a WIG increase is based upon the current rating of record. The concurrence of the second level supervisor must be obtained for a rating under these circumstances. (See PMM Part 1, Chapter 5, Section 2, paragraphs 5 and 9.) Prior to notification of the employee that his or her WIG increase is being denied, the supervisor will obtain advice from the servicing human resources office with respect to procedural and regulatory requirements. Except as described in paragraph 6c below, Associate Administrators, the Chief Counsel, Directors of Field Services, Resource Center Managers, Division Administrators, and Federal Lands Highway Division Engineers normally will not take part, formally or informally, in performance appraisal decisions leading to the denial of a WIG increase in order to allow their appropriate involvement as reconsideration officials for denial cases under their jurisdiction.

    3. Higher level concurrences. In the event the employee whose WIG increase has been proposed for denial is at a level where the first or second level supervisor is an Associate Administrator or the Chief Counsel within Washington Headquarters, or a Director of Field Services, Resource Center Manager, Division Administrator, or Federal Lands Highway Division Engineer within the field, concurrence may need to be obtained from the Office of the Federal Highway Administrator (HOA). The servicing human resources office should be consulted prior to taking any formal action. In cases where the HOA will be involved, the Director, Office of Human Resources, will transmit the proposal to the HOA with his or her recommendation.

  7. How is a reconsideration of a negative determination obtained? An official at a higher level shall render a prompt decision on an employee's request for reconsideration of a negative determination. This official is one who took no part, either formally or informally, in the original negative determination decision. The official designated to reconsider the decision to deny the WIG increase may use his or her discretion in the methods that will be used to arrive at a decision. However, the official must ensure that the employee's rights under law and regulations are not violated. These include the right to representation, the right to present his or her case both in person and in writing, the right to a reasonable amount of official time to prepare and present the request for reconsideration, and the freedom from coercion or reprisal in presenting the request.

  8. What is the relationship between a WIG increase and a quality step increase (QSI)? An employee who receives a QSI does not start a new waiting period to meet the time requirements for a regular WIG increase. However, when the QSI results in a new rate of pay that equals or exceeds steps 4 or 7 of a grade, the waiting period for the next WIG increase will be extended 52 calendar weeks.

Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000