A-28297, AUGUST 15, 1929, 9 COMP. GEN. 77

A-28297: Aug 15, 1929

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PER DIEMS - SUNDAYS AND HOLIDAYS PAR. 45 (B) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS HAS REFERENCE TO THE BEGINNING AND TERMINATION OF PER DIEM PAYMENTS WHEN QUESTIONS OF LEAVE OF ABSENCE ARE INVOLVED. AN EMPLOYEE IN A TRAVEL STATUS ON A PER DIEM BASIS WHO IS NOT REQUIRED TO PERFORM DUTY ON SUNDAYS AND HOLIDAYS IS ENTITLED TO HIS FULL PER DIEM ALLOWANCE NOTWITHSTANDING HE MAY BE ABSENT FROM HIS TEMPORARY DUTY STATION ON SUCH DAYS FOR PERSONAL REASONS. BEFORE THE COMPLETION OF HIS OFFICIAL DUTY FOR WHICH HE WAS DIRECTED TO PERFORM TRAVEL. DID NOT FINALLY TERMINATE HIS TRAVEL STATUS BUT OPERATED AS A SUSPENSION THEREOF FOR THE TIME ACTUALLY NECESSARY TO RETURN TO HEADQUARTERS TO BE PRESENT AT THE HOUR SET FOR THE CONFERENCE AND AS THIS WAS POSSIBLE AND WAS ACCOMPLISHED BY LEAVING BALTIMORE AT 7 A.M.

A-28297, AUGUST 15, 1929, 9 COMP. GEN. 77

SUBSISTENCE, PER DIEMS - SUNDAYS AND HOLIDAYS PAR. 45 (B) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS HAS REFERENCE TO THE BEGINNING AND TERMINATION OF PER DIEM PAYMENTS WHEN QUESTIONS OF LEAVE OF ABSENCE ARE INVOLVED. AN EMPLOYEE IN A TRAVEL STATUS ON A PER DIEM BASIS WHO IS NOT REQUIRED TO PERFORM DUTY ON SUNDAYS AND HOLIDAYS IS ENTITLED TO HIS FULL PER DIEM ALLOWANCE NOTWITHSTANDING HE MAY BE ABSENT FROM HIS TEMPORARY DUTY STATION ON SUCH DAYS FOR PERSONAL REASONS. THE TEMPORARY RECALL OF AN EMPLOYEE IN A TRAVEL STATUS AT BALTIMORE, MD., TO HIS HEADQUARTERS AT WASHINGTON, D.C., FOR A CONFERENCE AT 9 A.M. ON A SPECIFIED DATE, BEFORE THE COMPLETION OF HIS OFFICIAL DUTY FOR WHICH HE WAS DIRECTED TO PERFORM TRAVEL, DID NOT FINALLY TERMINATE HIS TRAVEL STATUS BUT OPERATED AS A SUSPENSION THEREOF FOR THE TIME ACTUALLY NECESSARY TO RETURN TO HEADQUARTERS TO BE PRESENT AT THE HOUR SET FOR THE CONFERENCE AND AS THIS WAS POSSIBLE AND WAS ACCOMPLISHED BY LEAVING BALTIMORE AT 7 A.M. THE DAY OF THE CONFERENCE, RATHER THAN THE NIGHT BEFORE, THE EMPLOYEE IS ENTITLED TO A FULL PER DIEM FOR THE DAY PRECEDING THE CONFERENCE.

DECISION BY COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL, AUGUST 15, 1929:

THERE ARE FOR CONSIDERATION BY THIS OFFICE, IN CONNECTION WITH THE PREAUDIT OF CERTAIN VOUCHERS THAT HAVE BEEN SUBMITTED, THE QUESTIONS (1) WHETHER PARAGRAPH 45 (B) OF STANDARDIZED TRAVEL REGULATIONS, AS AMENDED EFFECTIVE MARCH 1, 1929, PROHIBITS THE PAYMENT TO AN EMPLOYEE IN A TRAVEL STATUS OF PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE FOR SUNDAYS AND HOLIDAYS SPENT AWAY FROM HIS TEMPORARY DUTY STATION FOR PERSONAL REASONS, AND (2) WHETHER AN EMPLOYEE IN A TRAVEL STATUS WHO IS RECALLED TO HIS HEADQUARTERS AT WASHINGTON, D.C., FOR A CONFERENCE AT 9 A.M. ON A SPECIFIED DATE, BEFORE COMPLETION OF THE OFFICIAL DUTIES FOR WHICH HE WAS DIRECTED TO PERFORM TRAVEL, MAY BE PAID A FULL PER DIEM FOR THE DAY PRECEDING THE CONFERENCE WHEN HE LEFT HIS TEMPORARY HEADQUARTERS THE MORNING OF THE CONFERENCE INSTEAD OF LEAVING AFTER OFFICE HOUSE THE AFTERNOON BEFORE, THE NECESSARY TRAVEL TIME BETWEEN THE TWO PLACES OCCUPYING FROM ONE TO TWO HOURS, DEPENDING UPON THE MODE OF TRANSPORTATION USED.

PARAGRAPH 45 (B) OF STANDARDIZED TRAVEL REGULATIONS PROVIDES:

IF LEAVE OF ABSENCE OF ANY KIND BEGINS OR TERMINATES WITHIN THE TRAVELER'S PRESCRIBED HOURS OF DUTY, SUBSISTENCE ALLOWANCE WILL TERMINATE OR BEGIN AT THE SAME TIME. IF THE LEAVE OF ABSENCE DOES NOT BEGIN OR TERMINATE WITHING THE TRAVELER'S PRESCRIBED HOURS OF DUTY THE TRAVELER WILL BE REGARDED AS BEING IN A SUBSISTENCE STATUS UNTIL MIDNIGHT OF THE LAST DAY ON WHICH ACTUAL SERVICE IS RENDERED PRECEDING THE LEAVE OF ABSENCE AND FROM 12.01 O-CLOCK A.M., OF THE DAY ON WHICH ACTUAL SERVICE IS RESUMED. PRESENCE AT DUTY STATION ON SUNDAYS OR HOLIDAYS DURING DAILY PRESCRIBED HOURS OF DUTY WILL BE REGARDED AS EQUIVALENT TO ACTUAL SERVICE, IF THE TRAVELER OTHERWISE BE IN A DUTY STATUS. FRACTIONAL LEAVE OF ABSENCE WHOLLY WITHIN A DAY, WHERE FOR HALF OF THE PRESCRIBED WORKING HOURS OR LESS, WILL BE DISREGARDED FOR SUBSISTENCE PURPOSES; WHERE IT EXCEEDS HALF OF THE PRESCRIBED WORKING HOURS, NO SUBSISTENCE WILL BE ALLOWED. (SEE PARS. 4, 20, 48, 49, 61, 66, 73, 84 (A), 109.)

THIS PARAGRAPH OF THE REGULATIONS HAS REFERENCE TO THE BEGINNING AND TERMINATION OF PER DIEM PAYMENTS WHEN QUESTIONS OF LEAVE OF ABSENCE ARE INVOLVED. IT IS PRESUMED THAT THE EMPLOYEE'S DUTY WAS SUCH THAT HE WAS NOT REQUIRED OR EXPECTED TO PERFORM OFFICIAL DUTY ON SUNDAYS OR HOLIDAYS. ACCORDINGLY, UNDER SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES HIS ABSENCE FROM HIS TEMPORARY DUTY STATION DURING SUNDAYS OR HOLIDAYS, UPON WHICH HE WAS NOT REQUIRED TO PERFORM OFFICIAL DUTY, DID NOT IN ANY WAY INTERFERE WITH HIS OFFICIAL DUTIES NOR INCREASE THE AMOUNTS CHARGEABLE AGAINST PUBLIC FUNDS. QUESTION OF LEAVE OF ABSENCE BEING INVOLVED, PARAGRAPH 45 (B) IS NOT APPLICABLE, AND PAYMENT OF THE FULL PER DIEM FOR SUNDAYS OR HOLIDAYS IS AUTHORIZED NOTWITHSTANDING THE EMPLOYEE'S ABSENCE FROM HIS TEMPORARY DUTY STATION ON SUCH DAYS. SEE 7 COMP. GEN. 319, AND A-21592, FEBRUARY 18, 1928.

WITH RESPECT TO THE SECOND QUESTION, IT WAS HELD IN DECISION OF APRIL 6, 1927, A-17906, THAT AN EMPLOYEE WHO COMPLETED HIS OFFICIAL BUSINESS IN PHILADELPHIA ON SATURDAY AFTERNOON IN TIME TO HAVE RETURNED TO WASHINGTON BEFORE MIDNIGHT THE SAME DAY WAS NOT ENTITLED TO PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE NOT TO ACTUAL EXPENSES FOR ANY PORTION OF SUNDAY, THE DAY HE ACTUALLY RETURNED TO HEADQUARTERS. IN THE QUESTION NOW SUBMITTED, HOWEVER, THE OFFICIAL DUTY OF THE EMPLOYEE AT BALTIMORE HAD APPARENTLY NOT BEEN COMPLETED AND THE ORDER TO RETURN TO WASHINGTON, D.C., FOR A CONFERENCE DID NOT FINALLY TERMINATE HIS TRAVEL STATUS BUT OPERATED ONLY AS A SUSPENSION THEREOF AT THE HOUR SET FOR THE CONFERENCE. AS THIS WAS POSSIBLE BY LEAVING BALTIMORE AT 7 A.M. THE DAY OF THE CONFERENCE IT WAS NOT INCUMBENT ON THE EMPLOYEE, UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES, TO LEAVE HIS TEMPORARY DUTY STATION THE NIGHT BEFORE. ACCORDINGLY, HE WAS ENTITLED TO FULL PER DIEM FOR THE DAY PRECEDING THE CONFERENCE IN THE ABSENCE OF OTHER OBJECTION.