A-17792, MARCH 24, 1927, 6 COMP. GEN. 618

A-17792: Mar 24, 1927

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THE COMPENSATION OF RAILWAY POSTAL CLERKS IS COMPUTED BY DIVIDING THE TOTAL ANNUAL RATE FIXED IN THE STATUTE BY 306. THE LEGISLATION IS THE SAME AS CONTAINED IN THE ORIGINAL LAW IN THE POSTAL RECLASSIFICATION ACT OF JUNE 5. UNDER THIS LAW THE DEPARTMENT IS REQUIRED TO COMPUTE THE PAYMENT OF SALARY AND OVERTIME TO CLERKS IN THE RAILWAY MAIL SERVICE ON THE BASIS OF 306 WORKING DAYS IN A FISCAL YEAR. IS AMENDED BY STRIKING OUT THE WORDS "FOR THREE HUNDRED AND SIX DAYS PER ANNUM" AND INSERTING IN LIEU THEREOF THE WORDS "FOR THE NUMBER OF DAYS IN EACH FISCAL YEAR. " SO THAT THE FIRST SENTENCE IN SAID PROVISO WILL READ AS FOLLOWS: "PROVIDED. IT IS REQUESTED THAT THIS DEPARTMENT BE INFORMED HOW SERVICE OF RAILWAY POST-OFFICE CLERKS SHALL BE BASED DURING THE FISCAL YEARS 1928 AND 1929.

A-17792, MARCH 24, 1927, 6 COMP. GEN. 618

POSTAL SERVICE - COMPENSATION OF RAILWAY POSTAL CLERKS UNDER THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 28, 1925, 43 STAT. 1063, THE COMPENSATION OF RAILWAY POSTAL CLERKS IS COMPUTED BY DIVIDING THE TOTAL ANNUAL RATE FIXED IN THE STATUTE BY 306, THE NUMBER OF DAYS FIXED IN THE STATUTE AS CONSTITUTING A YEAR, TO OBTAIN THE DAILY RATE, AND BY MULTIPLYING THE DAILY RATE BY THE ACTUAL NUMBER OF DAYS WORKED IN THE YEAR, WHETHER MORE OR LESS THAN 306, TO OBTAIN THE TOTAL AMOUNT TO WHICH ENTITLED DURING THE YEAR, WHETHER MORE OR LESS THAN THE ANNUAL RATE FIXED IN THE STATUTE.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE POSTMASTER GENERAL, MARCH 24, 1927:

CONSIDERATION HAS BEEN GIVEN TO YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 17, 1927, AS FOLLOWS:

THE POSTAL ACT OF FEBRUARY 28, 1925 (43 STAT. PAGE 1063, BEGINNING ON LINE 25), CONTAINS THE FOLLOWING LEGISLATION FOR THE RAILWAY MAIL SERVICE:

"PROVIDED, THAT SERVICE OF CLERKS SHALL BE BASED ON AN AVERAGE OF NOT EXCEEDING EIGHT HOURS DAILY FOR THREE HUNDRED AND SIX DAYS PER ANNUM, INCLUDING PROPER ALLOWANCES FOR ALL SERVICE REQUIRED ON LAY-OFF PERIODS.'

THE LEGISLATION IS THE SAME AS CONTAINED IN THE ORIGINAL LAW IN THE POSTAL RECLASSIFICATION ACT OF JUNE 5, 1920 (41 STAT. PAGE 1051, BEGINNING ON LINE 4). UNDER THIS LAW THE DEPARTMENT IS REQUIRED TO COMPUTE THE PAYMENT OF SALARY AND OVERTIME TO CLERKS IN THE RAILWAY MAIL SERVICE ON THE BASIS OF 306 WORKING DAYS IN A FISCAL YEAR, EXCLUSIVE OF SUNDAYS AND HOLIDAYS, ENUMERATED IN THE POSTAL ACT OF JULY 28, 1916 (39 STAT. PAGE 416, BEGINNING ON LINE 53).

THE FISCAL YEARS 1928 AND 1929 CONTAIN 307 AND 305 WORKING DAYS RESPECTIVELY, EXCLUSIVE OF SUNDAYS AND HOLIDAYS, AND THE DEPARTMENT IN ORDER TO BE IN A POSITION TO COMPUTE THE PAYMENT OF SALARIES AND OVERTIME TO CLERKS IN THE RAILWAY MAIL SERVICE DURING THE FISCAL YEARS MENTIONED AND TO MEET VARIATIONS WHICH MAY OCCUR FROM TIME TO TIME IN THE NUMBER OF WORKING DAYS IN FISCAL YEARS, TRIED TO SECURE AMENDED LEGISLATION AT THE LAST SESSION OF THE CONGRESS BUT FAILED. THE PROPOSED LEGISLATION FOLLOWS:

"BE IT ENACTED BY THE SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA IN CONGRESS ASSEMBLED, THAT THE FIRST SENTENCE OF THE PROVISO ATTACHED TO THE POSTAL RECLASSIFICATION ACT, APPROVED FEBRUARY 28, 1925 (43 STAT. PAGE 1063, BEGINNING ON LINE 25), IS AMENDED BY STRIKING OUT THE WORDS "FOR THREE HUNDRED AND SIX DAYS PER ANNUM" AND INSERTING IN LIEU THEREOF THE WORDS "FOR THE NUMBER OF DAYS IN EACH FISCAL YEAR, LESS SUNDAYS AND HOLIDAYS, ENUMERATED IN THE ACT OF JULY 28, 1916 (39 STAT. PAGE 416, BEGINNING ON LINE 53), OR AMENDMENTS THERETO," SO THAT THE FIRST SENTENCE IN SAID PROVISO WILL READ AS FOLLOWS: "PROVIDED, THAT, EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 1927, SERVICE OF CLERKS SHALL BE BASED ON AN AVERAGE OF NOT EXCEEDING EIGHT HOURS DAILY FOR THE NUMBER OF DAYS IN EACH FISCAL YEAR, LESS SUNDAYS AND HOLIDAYS, ENUMERATED IN THE ACT OF JULY 28, 1916 (39 STAT. PAGE 416, BEGINNING ON LINE 53), OR AMENDMENTS, THERETO, INCLUDING PROPER ALLOWANCES FOR ALL SERVICE REQUIRED ON LAY-OFF PERIODS.'"

IN ORDER THAT THE OFFICERS OF THE RAILWAY MAIL SERVICE MAY BE PROPERLY INSTRUCTED AS TO THE METHODS TO BE PURSUED, IT IS REQUESTED THAT THIS DEPARTMENT BE INFORMED HOW SERVICE OF RAILWAY POST-OFFICE CLERKS SHALL BE BASED DURING THE FISCAL YEARS 1928 AND 1929. AN EARLY REPLY WILL BE APPRECIATED.

WHILE THE COMPENSATION OF RAILWAY POSTAL CLERKS IS FIXED BY THE STATUTE AT ANNUAL RATES, THE PROVISO SUBMITTED FOR CONSTRUCTION IS MANDATORY IN MAKING 306 DAYS PER ANNUM THE BASIS FOR COMPUTING THE COMPENSATION, WHICH VIRTUALLY REQUIRES THE COMPENSATION OF THE CLERKS TO BE COMPUTED ON A PER DIEM BASIS BY DIVIDING THE TOTAL ANNUAL RATE BY 306. ONE-THREE-HUNDRED- SIXTH OF THE ANNUAL RATE WOULD BE THE COMPENSATION FOR EACH DAY OF EIGHT HOURS IN A DUTY STATUS IRRESPECTIVE OF THE ACTUAL NUMBER OF WORKING DAYS IN THE YEAR. FOR INSTANCE, IF THERE ARE 307 WORKING DAYS DURING THE FISCAL YEAR 1928, AND A CLERK IS IN A DUTY STATUS EACH WORKING DAY IN THE YEAR, HE WOULD BE ENTITLED TO 307 TIMES THE DAILY RATE COMPUTED BY DIVIDING THE TOTAL ANNUAL RATE FIXED IN THE STATUTE BY 306. THE PAYMENT OF MORE THAN THE TOTAL ANNUAL RATE FIXED IN THE STATUTE WOULD BE PROPER IN VIEW OF THE TERMS OF THE PROVISO. IF THERE ARE ONLY 305 WORKING DAYS DURING THE FISCAL YEAR 1929, AND A CLERK IS IN A DUTY STATUS THE ENTIRE YEAR, HE WOULD BE ENTITLED, ASSUMING THAT THE LAW REMAINS AS AT PRESENT, TO 305 TIMES THE DAILY RATE COMPUTED BY DIVIDING THE TOTAL ANNUAL RATE FIXED IN THE STATUTE BY 306. THUS, DURING THAT YEAR THE CLERK WOULD RECEIVE LESS THAN THE TOTAL ANNUAL RATE FIXED IN THE STATUTE. THREE HUNDRED AND SIX MUST ALWAYS BE THE DIVISOR IRRESPECTIVE OF THE ACTUAL NUMBER OF WORKING DAYS DURING A FISCAL YEAR. SEE 25 COMP. DEC. 71; 26 ID. 168; ID. 322.