serotonin

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Hi there,
So VA training years tend to start on September 2. We have some interns who continued on as post-docs, and their first paychecks reflected their old salary for the first week of work rather than their new salary. This is a difference of several hundred dollars. HR has said that they can't change a payrate in the middle of a paycheck, thus the lower rate. But all the new post-docs coming from non-VA institutions received their first paycheck reflecting the actual post-doc salary. Apparently this has happened at at least one other VA that we spoke with. It was also the same problem with 2nd year post docs who were here their 1st year as well, but the pay difference is far less than for the interns who became post docs.

SOOOO has anyone successfully dealt with this?

Thank you!
 

erg923

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HR has said that they can't change a payrate in the middle of a paycheck, thus the lower rate.
Baloney. I went from 12(4) to 13 in the middle of pay period and I got 13 pay grade on that next pay check.
 

AcronymAllergy

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As far as I know/have ever heard, HR is correct--you can't change a pay rate half-way through a pay period. Also, remember that the VA is essentially always one week "behind" when it comes to pay. That is, each pay period ends one week before you're actually paid. This is why HR tries their best to have folks start or change at the beginning of a pay period (which technically occurs on a Sunday). So for example, if you started on Sept. 7th (the day after the previous pay period ends), I don't think you'd actually get paid until Sept. 26th, three weeks later. If you'd previously been an intern and swapped to postdoc, then the paycheck sent out on Sept. 14th would be two weeks at your old rate. This wouldn't reflect pay from the week of the 7th, mind you; rather, it would be pay from the weeks of Aug. 24th and 31st. The week of the 7th wouldn't show up until that paycheck on the 26th.

Edit: Actually, they may be able to change it, and I'm fairly certain the system auto-corrects and sends you your backpay on the next check. However, I'm thinking what's happening with the interns you've mentioned is the point above re: HR and payroll always being one week behind.

My guess with the postdocs started at the postdoc rate, hence no change was needed (rather, they were simply hired). I'm also going to guess that the postdocs started at the beginning of a pay period.
 
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serotonin

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interesting, Erg. And good to know that it is possible.

Acronym, the paycheck received 9/12/2014 stated it covered the last week in August and the first week in September. The pay rate was the same for both weeks (the intern rather than post doc rate). If they auto-correct and send backpay, that would be wonderful! I guess we will have to see what happens with the next paycheck.
 

AcronymAllergy

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Yep, that sounds right re: the weeks covered by the 9/12 check.

As you've probably heard numerous times by now, if you know one VA, you know one VA. So erg's HR folks might've been fine with changing him over mid-cycle, while yours may be...less-inclined to do so. Still certainly worth trying to follow-up on, though. I've always just come in/switched over at the start of a new pay cycle, so unfortunately I don't have any personal insights to offer.
 

WisNeuro

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Well, technically, they shouldn't have been allowed to start that early really. The internship is supposed to be a full calender year, 52 weeks, not 51. Am I reading that right?
 

DynamicDidactic

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what is that saying about VAs?
 

WisNeuro

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Not much. Even though they are a federal system, they all operate differently in terms of policies. In terms of measured outcomes, they outstrip the private sector in most areas. And, in terms of didactic experiences and pay, they are far above anything I saw in terms of internships and postdocs. They may have their problems, but imo the positives far outweigh the negatives.
 
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I have transitioned two times now to different pay rates. Both times my paycheck reflected one week at my old salary and one week at my new salary. The following check then reflected just my new salary. It will all work out, but the VA will not jip you money in the long run, with the exception of the 2087 hr calculation, should you only work at the VA for one year. For example, we all make less than we should each paycheck, because our hourly pay is calculated by dividing out annual pay by 2087 hrs, rather than 2080 hrs. This is so that in the rare years when there are 27 paychecks, the government does not lose money. That has been my only beef so far, though I think I will still be with the VA when the next 27 pay check year happens (2016).
 
Jun 20, 2012
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For those that were able to receive a raise midperiod (e.g. transition from intern to postdoc), do you know how they were able to do that? Because my HR is also telling me that they can't change my pay grade midgrade because if they try to put in two different rates the system kicks them out and will not be giving me backpay.
 

erg923

Regional Clinical Officer, Centene Corporation
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Well, I think I was mistaken actually. My first pay check at GS13 was really one week of pay at 13 and one week at 12(4).
 
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