B-156550, MAR 21, 1973, 52 COMP GEN 597

B-156550: Mar 21, 1973

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IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT PRIOR TO THE 1972 ACT LONGEVITY RATES WERE SCHEDULED RATES OF PAY. ANY INTENT TO EXCLUDE LONGEVITY COMPENSATION FROM BASIC COMPENSATION FOR ALL PURPOSES SHOULD HAVE BEEN REFLECTED IN THE LEGISLATIVE HISTORY OF THE ACT. 1973: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 11. THE QUESTION YOU RAISE IS WHETHER THE LONGEVITY PAY INCREASES PROVIDED BY SECTION 4-832. UNDER SUCH A PROVISION YOU BELIEVE THAT LONGEVITY PAY WOULD HAVE BEEN PART OF BASE PAY FOR PURPOSES OF COMPUTING OVERTIME AND HOLIDAY PAY. ALTHOUGH THE SENATE AMENDED THE BILL TO INCORPORATE THE WORDING SIMILAR TO THAT SUGGESTED BY THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA THE HOUSE PROVISIONS WERE ADOPTED IN CONFERENCE AND BECAME PART OF THE ACT.

B-156550, MAR 21, 1973, 52 COMP GEN 597

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA - FIREMEN AND POLICEMEN - COMPENSATION - LONGEVITY INCREASES - BASIC COMPENSATION PURPOSES THE LONGEVITY STEP INCREASES PROVIDED BY SECTION 110 OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA POLICE AND FIREMEN'S SALARY ACT AMENDMENT OF 1972 MAY BE CONSIDERED AN ELEMENT OF BASIC COMPENSATION IN COMPUTING OVERTIME AND HOLIDAY PAY SINCE THE ACT PROVIDES LONGEVTIY PAY SHALL BE PAID IN THE SAME MANNER AS BASIC COMPENSATION EXCEPT THAT IT SHALL NOT BE SUBJECT TO DEDUCTION AND WITHHOLDING FOR RETIREMENT AND INSURANCE AND SHALL NOT BE CONSIDERED SALARY FOR THE PURPOSE OF COMPUTING ANNUITIES, AND ALTHOUGH THE LEGISLATIVE HISTORY OF THE ACT MAKES NO REFERENCE TO INCLUDING LONGEVITY COMPENSATION INCREASES AS PART OF BASIC COMPENSATION IN COMPUTING OVERTIME AND HOLIDAY PAYMENTS, IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT PRIOR TO THE 1972 ACT LONGEVITY RATES WERE SCHEDULED RATES OF PAY, ANY INTENT TO EXCLUDE LONGEVITY COMPENSATION FROM BASIC COMPENSATION FOR ALL PURPOSES SHOULD HAVE BEEN REFLECTED IN THE LEGISLATIVE HISTORY OF THE ACT.

TO THE COMMISSIONER OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, MARCH 21, 1973:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 11, 1973, REQUESTING AN EXPRESSION OF OUR VIEWS WITH REGARD TO THE CALCULATION OF OVERTIME AND HOLIDAY PAY FOR POLICEMEN AND FIREMEN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. SPECIFICALLY, THE QUESTION YOU RAISE IS WHETHER THE LONGEVITY PAY INCREASES PROVIDED BY SECTION 4-832, OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA CODE AS AMENDED BY SECTION 110 OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA POLICE AND FIREMEN'S SALARY ACT AMENDMENT OF 1972, PUBLIC LAW 92-410, 86 STAT. 638, APPROVED AUGUST 29, 1972, SHOULD BE APPLIED IN THE COMPUTATION OF THE RATE OF OVERTIME AND HOLIDAY PAY AUTHORIZED IN D.C. CODE SECTIONS 4 904 AND 4-807, RESPECTIVELY.

YOU INDICATE THAT THE BILL ORIGINALLY PROPOSED BY THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA PROVIDED THAT LONGEVITY PAY WOULD BE BASE PAY FOR PURPOSES OF COMPUTING RETIREMENT AND LIFE INSURANCE WITHHOLDINGS. UNDER SUCH A PROVISION YOU BELIEVE THAT LONGEVITY PAY WOULD HAVE BEEN PART OF BASE PAY FOR PURPOSES OF COMPUTING OVERTIME AND HOLIDAY PAY. THE BILL PASSED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, HOWEVER, EXCLUDED LONGEVITY PAY FROM WITHHOLDINGS FOR RETIREMENT AND LIFE INSURANCE. ALTHOUGH THE SENATE AMENDED THE BILL TO INCORPORATE THE WORDING SIMILAR TO THAT SUGGESTED BY THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA THE HOUSE PROVISIONS WERE ADOPTED IN CONFERENCE AND BECAME PART OF THE ACT.

THE AMENDMENT ADOPTED CONCERNING LONGEVITY STEP INCREASES IS IN PERTINENT PART:

(A)(1) IN RECOGNITION OF LONG AND FAITHFUL SERVICE, EACH OFFICER AND MEMBER IN THE ACTIVE SERVICE ON OR AFTER THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA POLICE AND FIREMEN'S SALARY ACT AMENDMENTS OF 1972 SHALL RECEIVE PER ANNUM, IN ADDITION TO THE RATE OF BASIC COMPENSATION PRESCRIBED IN THE SALARY SCHEDULE CONTAINED IN (D.C. CODE, SECTION 4 823 AS AMENDED) AN AMOUNT COMPUTED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE FOLLOWING TABLE:

(3) *** SUCH COMPENSATION SHALL BE PAID IN THE SAME MANNER AS THE BASIC COMPENSATION TO WHICH SUCH OFFICER OR MEMBER IS ENTITLED, EXCEPT THAT IT SHALL NOT BE SUBJECT TO DEDUCTION AND WITHHOLDING FOR RETIREMENT AND INSURANCE, AND SHALL NOT BE CONSIDERED AS SALARY FOR THE PURPOSE OF COMPUTING ANNUITIES ***.

ALTHOUGH THAT PROVISION INDICATES THAT LONGEVITY PAY WILL BE IN ADDITION TO THE BASIC RATE OF COMPENSATION PRESCRIBED, IT ALSO PROVIDES THAT LONGEVITY PAY WILL BE PAID IN THE SAME MANNER AS BASIC COMPENSATION EXCEPT THAT IT WILL NOT BE SUBJECT TO DEDUCTION AND WITHHOLDING FOR RETIREMENT AND INSURANCE AND WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED SALARY FOR THE PURPOSE OF COMPUTING ANNUITIES. THE LEGISLATIVE HISTORY OF PUBLIC LAW 92-410 INDICATES THAT THE PURPOSE OF EXCLUDING LONGEVITY PAY FROM RETIREMENT WAS TO DISCOURAGE A POLICE OFFICER FROM RETIRING IMMEDIATELY AND RECEIVING THE BENEFIT OF A LONGEVITY INCREASE IN THE COMPUTATION OF HIS ANNUITY. APPARENTLY, IT WAS FELT THAT AN INCREASE IN LIFE INSURANCE WHICH CONTINUES AFTER RETIREMENT SHOULD BE TREATED IN THE SAME MANNER. WE COULD FIND NO MENTION IN SUCH HISTORY AS TO THE INCLUSION OF THE LONGEVITY INCREASES AS A PART OF BASIC COMPENSATION IN COMPUTING OVERTIME AND HOLIDAY PAYMENTS.

THE AUTHORIZATION OF LONGEVITY PAY IS SIMILAR TO THE AUTHORIZATIONS FOR PAY IN EXCESS OF THE SCHEDULED SALARY RATES FOR MEMBERS PERFORMING DUTIES AS HELICOPTER PILOTS, THOSE ASSIGNED TO RENDER EXPLOSIVE DEVICES INEFFECTIVE AND TO TECHNICIANS, DOG HANDLERS AND DETECTIVE SERGEANTS. WERE INFORMALLY ADVISED THAT ALL OF THOSE ADDITIONAL AMOUNTS ARE CONSIDERED PART OF THE BASIC COMPENSATION OF THOSE MEMBERS WHO ARE ENTITLED TO RECEIVE THEM ALTHOUGH THEY ARE ALSO PAID "IN ADDITION TO" THE SCHEDULED RATE APPLICABLE. SEE PAGE 8 OF SENATE REPORT NO. 92 994. NOTE FURTHER THAT LONGEVITY RATES AUTHORIZED PRIOR TO THE ENACTMENT OF PUBLIC LAW 92-410 WERE SCHEDULED RATES OF PAY AND AS SUCH WERE PART OF THE MEMBERS' BASIC COMPENSATION FOR ALL PURPOSES. IF IN CHANGING THE METHOD OF PAYING MEMBERS FOR LONG SERVICE IT WAS INTENDED TO EXCLUDE SUCH PAY FROM BASIC COMPENSATION FOR ALL PURPOSES, WE WOULD EXPECT TO SEE AN EXPRESSION OF SUCH INTENT IN THE LEGISLATIVE HISTORY.

IN VIEW OF THE ABOVE WE BELIEVE IT REASONABLE TO VIEW LONGEVITY PAY AS ONE OF THE ELEMENTS OF BASIC COMPENSATION EXCEPT FOR THOSE PURPOSES FOR WHICH THE ACT PROVIDES THAT IT WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED BASIC COMPENSATION.

THE QUESTION PRESENTED IS ANSWERED ACCORDINGLY.

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