A-16626, DECEMBER 28, 1926, 6 COMP. GEN. 417

A-16626: Dec 28, 1926

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WHO IS ENTITLED UNDER HIS CONTRACT OF EMPLOYMENT TO SUBSISTENCE AS A PART OF HIS COMPENSATION. IS ORDERED FROM HIS REGULAR POST OF DUTY TO PROCEED TO ANOTHER CITY ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS. REIMBURSEMENT OF SUCH EXPENSE IS AUTHORIZED. NOTWITHSTANDING SUCH ABSENCE IS WHOLLY CONFINED BETWEEN THE HOURS OF 8 A.M. 1926: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 8. AN EMPLOYEE WHEN ABSENT FROM PERMANENT STATION OR DESIGNATED POST OF DUTY FOR LESS THAN ONE DAY WILL BE ALLOWED ONLY NECESSARY ACTUAL SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES AND THEN ONLY IF THE ABSENCE IS OF SUCH DURATION AS CONSTITUTES A TRAVEL STATUS WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE LAW AUTHORIZING PAYMENT OF SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES. IT IS PROVIDED THAT. THE LIMITS OF AN OFFICIAL STATION IN A CITY OR TOWN ARE THE CORPORATE LIMITS OF THE CITY OR TOWN WHERE THE OFFICIAL STATION OF THE EMPLOYEE IS LOCATED.'.

A-16626, DECEMBER 28, 1926, 6 COMP. GEN. 417

SUBSISTENCE, ACTUAL EXPENSES - FRACTIONAL DAYS WHERE AN EMPLOYEE OF THE GOVERNMENT, WHO IS ENTITLED UNDER HIS CONTRACT OF EMPLOYMENT TO SUBSISTENCE AS A PART OF HIS COMPENSATION, IS ORDERED FROM HIS REGULAR POST OF DUTY TO PROCEED TO ANOTHER CITY ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS, THE PERIOD OF TRAVEL BEING OF A SUFFICIENT DURATION AS TO REQUIRE THE INCURRENCE OF ADDITIONAL EXPENSE ON ACCOUNT OF SUBSISTENCE, REIMBURSEMENT OF SUCH EXPENSE IS AUTHORIZED, NOTWITHSTANDING SUCH ABSENCE IS WHOLLY CONFINED BETWEEN THE HOURS OF 8 A.M. AND 6 P.M. DISTINGUISHED FROM DECISIONS IN 3 COMP. GEN. 598, 739, 966; 4 ID. 274, 331, 467, 745; 5 ID. 100, 702, AND 720.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE DIRECTOR, UNITED STATES VETERANS' BUREAU, DECEMBER 28, 1926:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 8, 1926, REQUESTING DECISION OF A QUESTION PRESENTED AS FOLLOWS:

UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 4493 ISSUED AUGUST 11, 1926, INCORPORATED AS PARAGRAPHS 44 TO 66 OF THE GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, EFFECTIVE OCTOBER 1, 1926, AN EMPLOYEE WHEN ABSENT FROM PERMANENT STATION OR DESIGNATED POST OF DUTY FOR LESS THAN ONE DAY WILL BE ALLOWED ONLY NECESSARY ACTUAL SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES AND THEN ONLY IF THE ABSENCE IS OF SUCH DURATION AS CONSTITUTES A TRAVEL STATUS WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE LAW AUTHORIZING PAYMENT OF SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES.

BY PARAGRAPH 3 OF THESE REGULATIONS, IT IS PROVIDED THAT---

"UNLESS OTHERWISE SPECIFIED, THE LIMITS OF AN OFFICIAL STATION IN A CITY OR TOWN ARE THE CORPORATE LIMITS OF THE CITY OR TOWN WHERE THE OFFICIAL STATION OF THE EMPLOYEE IS LOCATED.'

HAVING IN MIND THE PRECEDENTS ESTABLISHED BY DECISIONS OF YOUR OFFICE RENDERED PRIOR TO THE ADOPTION OF THE STANDARDIZED TRAVEL REGULATIONS, TO THE EFFECT THAT WHILE THE PURPOSE OF TRAVEL ALLOWANCE IS TO REIMBURSE AN EMPLOYEE FOR ANY ADDITIONAL NECESSARY EXPENSES INCURRED THROUGH TRAVEL ON THE PUBLIC BUSINESS, YET A SHORT ABSENCE BY A GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE ON OFFICIAL DUTY BETWEEN THE HOURS OF 8.00 A.M. AND 6.00 P.M. CONSTITUTES AN OPERATING WITHIN THE OFFICIAL DISTRICT AND NOT A TRAVEL STATUS, YOUR ADVICE IS REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER THESE PRECEDENT DECISIONS WILL OPERATE TO PRECLUDE THE REIMBURSEMENT OF AN EMPLOYEE FOR HIS NECESSARY ACTUAL SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES WHEN ABSENT FROM HIS OFFICIAL STATION UNDER THE FOLLOWING CONDITIONS:

AN ORDERLY ON DUTY AT HOSPITAL NO. 49, PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA, WAS ORDERED TO PROCEED TO NEWARK, NEW JERSEY, IN CONNECTION WITH THE APPREHENSION AND RETURN TO THE HOSPITAL OF AN ESCAPED PATIENT. THIS HOSPITAL ORDERLY LEFT HIS OFFICIAL STATION AT 8.00 A.M. AND RETURNED TO PHILADELPHIA AT 5.00 P.M. THE SAME DAY. THE EMPLOYMENT STATUS OF THIS EMPLOYEE ENTITLES HIM TO SUBSISTENCE AS A PART OF THE COMPENSATION FIXED FOR THE POSITION OF WARD ORDERLY.

THE QUESTION ARISES, THEREFORE, AS TO WHETHER IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT THE GOVERNMENT IS OBLIGATED TO FURNISH SUBSISTENCE, THE COST OF A MIDDAY MEAL PROCURED AT AN ADDITIONAL EXPENSE TO THE HOSPITAL ORDERLY, IS NOT A NECESSARY ACTUAL SUBSISTENCE EXPENSE REIMBURSABLE UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS.

THE RULE APPLICABLE WITH RESPECT TO SITUATIONS WHERE AN EMPLOYEE OF THE GOVERNMENT IS ABSENT FROM HIS REGULAR STATION ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS FOR A PERIOD OF 10 HOURS OR LESS BETWEEN THE HOURS OF 8 A.M. AND 6 P.M., IS THAT SUCH EMPLOYEE IS NOT TO BE REGARDED AS IN A TRAVEL STATUS WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE LAWS AUTHORIZING PAYMENT OF SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES. 3 COMP. GEN. 598, 739, 966; 4 ID. 274, 331, 467, 745; 5 ID. 100, 702, AND 720.

IT APPEARS, HOWEVER, IN THE INSTANT MATTER THAT THE EMPLOYEE INVOLVED IS A MEMBER OF THE MAINTENANCE PERSONNEL REGULARLY EMPLOYED AT THE HOSPITAL IN QUESTION AND ENTITLED TO SUBSISTENCE UNDER THE TERMS OF HIS APPOINTMENT. SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES TAKE THIS CASE OUT OF THE RULE HEREINBEFORE CITED. THAT IS TO SAY, HIS RIGHT TO SUBSISTENCE EXISTS UNDER HIS CONTRACT OF EMPLOYMENT AND IS NOT DEPENDENT UPON A TRAVEL STATUS.

ANSWERING YOUR QUESTIONS SPECIFICALLY, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT THE EMPLOYEE UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES STATED WOULD BE ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE REASONABLE COST OF A NECESSARY MIDDAY MEAL PROCURED BY AN EMPLOYEE, WHO IS ENTITLED AS A PART OF HIS COMPENSATION TO SUBSISTENCE, WHILE AWAY FROM HIS REGULAR STATION ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS.