Focused On Employment, Whistleblower And Business Law

The VA Correct Compensation Act of 2023

by Jessica Hoyer Estes | Jan 4, 2024 | Employment Law, Legal News

Ranking Member Takano, Chairman Bost Introduce the Va Correct Compensation Act

On December 6, 2023, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Ranking Member Mark Takano (D-CA) and Chairman Mike Bost (R-IL) introduced the VA Correct Compensation Act. The Act will amend existing law to allow for certain healthcare providers at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to grieve errors in their compensation.

Under current law (38 U.S.C. 7422), the VA has the authority to deny collective bargaining and grievance rights to certain Title 38 employees that are otherwise available to VA employees. This includes physicians, dentists, podiatrists, chiropractors, optometrists, registered nurses, and physician assistants. Specifically, current law prevents these medical professionals from collectively bargaining or grieving issues related to direct patient care, clinical competence, peer review, and notably the “establishment, determination, or adjustment of employee compensation under this title.”

The VA has interpreted the “establishment, determination, or adjustment of employee compensation under this title” language broadly, denying employees the right to grieve situations where VA has consistently failed to pay salaries and overtime required by law. The VA Correct Compensation Act will not allow VA medical professionals to collectively bargain over patient care or clinical competency. Instead, it takes a more balanced approach by defining exactly what components of compensation can be negotiated. While collective bargaining should never jeopardize patient care, there are clearly instances where VA is prohibiting certain Title 38 employees from grieving compensation issues that have nothing to do with negotiating salary. The Committee identified numerous instances where VA fails to pay the correct salary to employees. These issues often put VA employees in financial distress and have led to very unfair situations which lower morale and harm VA’s employee retention efforts.

NFFE Praises Introduction of the VA Correct Compensation Act 

“Every dedicated VA employee deserves to be fairly compensated for the incredible work they do in caring for America’s Veterans,” said National Federation of Federal Employees President Randy Erwin. “For over three decades, VA registered nurses, physicians, physician assistants, dentists, and others have been barred from having their union file grievances about payroll errors, leading to unjust wage losses. The VA Correct Compensation Act is a simple, but necessary fix to this problem. NFFE applauds Ranking Member [Mark] Takano and Chairman [Mike] Bost for their leadership on this issue, and we urge Congress to pass this bipartisan legislation as soon as possible.”

Legislation Overview:

  • VA repeatedly fails to pay legally required overtime or pay rates and refuses to allow medical professionals to grieve these failures.
  • The VA Correct Compensation Act will define what “establishment, determination, or adjustment of employee compensation,” means, The VA has interpreted it to prevent medical professionals from grieving instances where the VA fails to follow the law.
  • The VA Correct Compensation Act will make it clear that rates of pay cannot be collectively bargained or grieved. It will allow certain VA medical professionals to collectively bargain and grieve compensation issues where the VA doesn’t follow the “law, rule, regulation, or binding agreement.” This clarification is needed to hold the VA accountable.


Featured On