[TEXT OMITTED FROM SOURCES] eral workers who are paid too much will probably he saved from salary and grade cuts while Congress and the White House work out a compromise no-fault demotion insurance plan.
Insiders expect that the House Post Office-Civil Service Committee will move quickly to clear a hybrid bill that would protect the pay and grades of workers facing demotions because of reorganization or misclassification of their jobs.
According to the House timetable, the bill, being pushed by committee chairman Robert N.C. Nix (D. Pa.) may be okayed soon under a suspension of the rules, then sent over to the Senate for action early next year. At any rate, congressional aides say that federal agencies will get the word from committees that control their budgets and from the President to go easy on downgrading employees.
There is no way of knowing how many federal employees are paid too much (or too little) because their jobs have been mislabled by agencies. The General Accounting Office has said that in some "problem areas" as many as 3 per cent of the jobs are suffering from inflation and ought to be cutback. More conservative estimates indicate that from 6 per cent to 8 per cent of the 2 million-plus white-collar and blue-collar federal jobs may be overgraded and a lesser number underpaid, for the work employees do.
In that last couple of years, agencies have embarked on a vigorous program of restudying jobs and grades, and many proposed downgrading have resulted from those desk audits. In addition, reorganizations ordered and proposed by Carter could cause and proposed by Carter could cause many demotions as jobs are abolished or combined. At the same time the President has promised nobody will be fired or demoted because of any reorganization he plans.
In most cases, the employee in the job is innocent of any self-inflation of his or her grade, and the bad news that he or she had been paid too much for years is a heart (and pocketbook) breaker.
(The potentional downgradings at two major federal departments. Housing and Urban Development and Health, Education and Welfare, was so bad that the government has given them permission to delay all downgrading resulting from reorganization and misclassification).
Congress-watchers expect the Nix committee to blend two bills before it into one no-fault demotion insurance law.
One part, backed by Nix, would give employees faced with demotion resulting from classification errors lifetime pay and grade protection as long as they remained in their job. Once they left it, the job would be reduced to its proper level.
The second part, which insiders say will make the bill veto-proof, will include the Carter proposal that deals only with demotions resulting from reorganization. The Carter plan would give employees temporary grade protection, and give them half-step annual pay raises until their salaries leveled out to their new, lowe grade scales. Congressional aides say the White House won't get its plan unless Nix gets his much broader grade-pay protection legislation, and that Carter won't get his reorganization through the career bureaucracy unless it gets solid job guarantees.