A-26709, MAY 1, 1929, 8 COMP. GEN. 574

A-26709: May 1, 1929

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NAVY-YARD EMPLOYEES - LENGTH OF WORK DAY IT WAS WITHIN THE JURISDICTION AND AUTHORITY OF THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY. A LIMITED NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES WHO FORMERLY WORKED SEVEN HOURS PER DAY ARE. THERE ARE CERTAIN POSITIONS IN THE OFFICE GROUP OF EMPLOYEES WHOSE WORK IS SO INTIMATELY CONNECTED WITH THE 8-HOUR PER DAY EMPLOYEES OF THE MECHANICAL FORCES AT THE NAVY'S INDUSTRIAL PLANTS THAT IT IS NECESSARY TO ALSO REQUIRE THESE CERTAIN EMPLOYEES OF THE OFFICE GROUP TO WORK EIGHT HOURS. WHEN DATA WERE COLLECTED BY WAGE BOARDS ON OFFICE EMPLOYEES. WHICH WAGE RATE WAS MULTIPLIED BY THE NUMBER OF HOURS WORKED AND DIVIDED BY EIGHT. SUCH WAGES WERE REDUCED TO AN 8-HOUR BASIS. WHICH WAS THE DAILY BASE PAY OF THE CLASSIFIED OR OFFICE FORCE IN THE FIELD.

A-26709, MAY 1, 1929, 8 COMP. GEN. 574

NAVY-YARD EMPLOYEES - LENGTH OF WORK DAY IT WAS WITHIN THE JURISDICTION AND AUTHORITY OF THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, IN ISSUING THE SCHEDULE OF WAGES OF EMPLOYEES IN NAVY YARDS AND NAVAL STATIONS FOR THE CALENDAR YEAR 1929, TO INCREASE THE HOURS OF LABOR OF CERTAIN SUPERVISORY EMPLOYEES FROM SEVEN TO EIGHT HOURS PER DAY WITHOUT ADDITIONAL COMPENSATION AND SUCH ACTION MAY NOT BE CONSIDERED AS A BREACH OF EXISTING CONTRACTS OF EMPLOYMENT.

DECISION BY COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL, MAY 1, 1929:

BY INDORSEMENT OF THE JUDGE ADVOCATE GENERAL OF THE NAVY, BY DIRECTION OF THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, THERE HAS BEEN FORWARDED TO THIS OFFICE FOR CONSIDERATION AND SETTLEMENT THE CLAIM OF SIX ENGINEERS AND ONE INSPECTOR AT THE NAVY YARD, NORFOLK, VA., FOR ADDITIONAL COMPENSATION FOR ONE HOUR A DAY FROM JANUARY 1, 1929.

EFFECTIVE JANUARY 1, 1929, THE SCHEDULE OF WAGES FOR CIVIL EMPLOYEES UNDER THE NAVAL ESTABLISHMENT FOR THE CALENDAR YEAR 1929, INCREASED THE HOURS OF LABOR OF THESE CLAIMANTS FROM SEVEN TO EIGHT HOURS. SEE THE DIFFERENCE IN THE TERMS OF NOTE 4 AS APPEARING IN THE SCHEDULES FOR 1928 AND 1929, ENTITLED "HOURS OF LABOR.' UNDER DATE OF FEBRUARY 5, 1929, THE FORMER SECRETARY OF THE NAVY MADE THE FOLLOWING EXPLANATION OF THE CHANGE IN THE HOURS OF LABOR FOR THESE MPLOYEES:

2. A LIMITED NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES WHO FORMERLY WORKED SEVEN HOURS PER DAY ARE, UNDER PARAGRAPH 4 OF THE SCHEDULE OF WAGES FOR THE CALENDAR YEAR 1929, REQUIRED TO WORK EIGHT HOURS PER DAY. THERE ARE CERTAIN POSITIONS IN THE OFFICE GROUP OF EMPLOYEES WHOSE WORK IS SO INTIMATELY CONNECTED WITH THE 8-HOUR PER DAY EMPLOYEES OF THE MECHANICAL FORCES AT THE NAVY'S INDUSTRIAL PLANTS THAT IT IS NECESSARY TO ALSO REQUIRE THESE CERTAIN EMPLOYEES OF THE OFFICE GROUP TO WORK EIGHT HOURS. THIS HAS BEEN RECOGNIZED TO A CERTAIN EXTENT IN THE PAST, AND THE PROVISIONS OF THE HOURS-OF-WORK PARAGRAPH IN THE ABOVE MENTIONED SCHEDULE OF WAGES HAS BEEN ENLARGED TO BETTER MEET THE CONDITIONS STATED ABOVE.

3. FORMERLY, WHEN DATA WERE COLLECTED BY WAGE BOARDS ON OFFICE EMPLOYEES, ANY FIRM WHICH EMPLOYED ITS HELP MORE THAN EIGHT HOURS GAVE THE HOURS OF WORK AND THE WAGE PER HOUR, WHICH WAGE RATE WAS MULTIPLIED BY THE NUMBER OF HOURS WORKED AND DIVIDED BY EIGHT. IN OTHER WORDS, SUCH WAGES WERE REDUCED TO AN 8-HOUR BASIS, WHICH WAS THE DAILY BASE PAY OF THE CLASSIFIED OR OFFICE FORCE IN THE FIELD. THE NAVY'S EMPLOYEES HAVE BEEN PAID FOR EIGHT HOURS' WORK PER DAY ALTHOUGH ONLY REQUIRED TO WORK SEVEN HOURS THEREFOR.

THE CLAIMANTS ARE BASING THEIR CLAIM ON TWO CONSIDERATIONS, QUOTING FROM THEIR LETTER OF JANUARY 29, 1929:

(A) WE WERE UNDER CONTRACT TO SERVE SEVEN HOURS PER DAY AND TO RECEIVE COMMENSURATE ADDITIONAL PAY FOR ADDITIONAL SERVICE.

(B) THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE RECLASSIFICATION ACT OF 1923, WITH THE AMENDMENT THERETO, JUSTIFY THE CLAIM.

THE ANNUAL SCHEDULE OF WAGES FOR CIVIL EMPLOYEES IN THE NAVAL ESTABLISHMENT IS PROMULGATED UNDER AUTHORITY CONTAINED IN THE ACT OF JULY 16, 1862, 12 STAT. 587, THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1909, 35 STAT. 754, AND PURSUANT TO THE GENERAL ADMINISTRATIVE AUTHORITY VESTED IN THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY TO FIX THE COMPENSATION RATES OF EMPLOYEES UNDER THE NAVY DEPARTMENT WITHIN AVAILABLE APPROPRIATIONS. SEE 7 COMP. GEN. 829. DECISION OF SEPTEMBER 9, 1924, A-3285, ADDRESSED TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, IT WAS STATED:

THE MATTER OF WAGES IN NAVY YARDS AND DISTRICTS IS, UNDER THE ACT OF JULY 16, 1862, 12 STAT. 587, ONE OF REGULATIONS AND NOT A MATTER OF AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE INDIVIDUAL LABORERS AND THE NAVY OFFICERS IN CHARGE OF THE NAVY YARDS OR DISTRICTS. * * *

THE SAME WOULD BE TRUE AS TO ANY CLASS OF NAVY YARD EMPLOYEES WHOSE COMPENSATION RATES ARE FIXED ANNUALLY BY SAID SCHEDULE. THERE WOULD BE NO QUESTION OF BREACH OF CONTRACT BY INCREASING THE HOURS OF LABOR FOR NAVY YARD EMPLOYEES AT THE BEGINNING OF A CALENDAR YEAR. IN THE ABSENCE OF A FEDERAL STATUTE LIMITING THE NUMBER OF HOURS EMPLOYEES ARE REQUIRED TO WORK PER DAY, IT IS WITHIN THE AUTHORITY OF THE HEAD OF AN EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT TO FIX THE NUMBER OF HOURS THAT WILL CONSTITUTE A DAY'S WORK.

THE GENERALLY ACCEPTED LENGTH OF A WORKING DAY FOR A MAJORITY OF NAVY- YARD EMPLOYEES IS EIGHT HOURS. SEE GENERALLY SECTION 3738, REVISED STATUTES, AND JOINT RESOLUTION OF FEBRUARY 25, 1899, 30 STAT. 1389, AND 6 COMP. DEC. 180; 24 ID. 443; AND 2 COMP. GEN. 109, 111, THE LAST-CITED DECISION CONTAINING THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT:

THE COMPENSATION OF ALL EMPLOYEES AT ORDNANCE ESTABLISHMENTS HAVING BEEN FIXED BY THE SCHEDULES OF WAGES PRESCRIBED ABOVE, PURSUANT TO THE BROAD AUTHORITY VESTED IN THE HEADS OF DEPARTMENTS IN SUCH MATTERS, IT MUST BE HELD THAT THEIR COMPENSATION IS FIXED BY REGULATIONS WITHIN THE MEANING OF SECTION 1765, REVISED STATUTES, PROHIBITING THE PAYMENT OF ADDITIONAL PAY, EXTRA ALLOWANCE, OR COMPENSATION, IN ANY FORM WHATEVER, UNLESS EXPLICITLY AUTHORIZED BY LAW.

THERE EXISTS NO LIMITATION ON THE MAXIMUM NUMBER OF HOURS THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY MAY REQUIRE THIS CLASS OF NAVY-YARD EMPLOYEES TO WORK PER DAY. IT WILL BE NOTED THAT THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY STATED IN HIS EXPLANATION THAT:

* * * THE NAVY'S EMPLOYEES HAVE BEEN PAID FOR EIGHT HOURS' WORK PER DAY ALTHOUGH ONLY REQUIRED TO WORK SEVEN HOURS THEREFOR.

BUT EVEN IF A DAY'S WORK HAD BEEN SEVEN HOURS IN ALL CASES PRIOR TO JANUARY 1, 1929, IT WAS WITHIN THE JURISDICTION AND AUTHORITY OF THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, IN ISSUING THE SCHEDULE OF WAGES FOR THE CALENDAR YEAR 1929, TO INCREASE THE HOURS OF LABOR OF THE CLASS OF EMPLOYEES HERE PROTESTING, FROM SEVEN TO EIGHT HOURS, WITHOUT ADDITIONAL COMPENSATION. THE DECISION OF FEBRUARY 7, 1927, A-15346, TO WHICH CLAIMANTS REFER, SIMPLY PRESCRIBED A PROCEDURE FOR SHOWING ON THE PAY ROLLS THE PER ANNUM AND PER HOUR RATES OF PAY FOR NAVY EMPLOYEES, AND THERE IS NOTHING CONTAINED THEREIN CONTRARY TO THE VIEW ABOVE EXPRESSED.

THE PROVISIONS OF THE CLASSIFICATION ACT OF 1923 AND ITS AMENDMENT OF MAY 28, 1928, REFERRED TO BY THE CLAIMANTS, ARE NOT APPLICABLE TO EMPLOYEES OF NAVY YARDS. SEE 7 COMP. GEN. 829.

ACCORDINGLY, THE CLAIM OF THE EMPLOYEES IN QUESTION FOR ONE HOUR'S PAY A DAY FROM JANUARY 1, 1929, MUST BE, AND IS, DISALLOWED.