A-36130, APRIL 16, 1931, 10 COMP. GEN. 474

A-36130: Apr 16, 1931

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SATURDAY HALF HOLIDAYS - WATCHMEN AT THE CAPITOL POWER PLANT WATCHMEN AT THE CAPITOL POWER PLANT REGULARLY EMPLOYED ARE ENTITLED TO THE BENEFITS OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3. I WOULD LIKE TO HAVE A RULING FROM YOU AT TO WHETHER THIS ACT COVERS THE WATCH EMPLOYEES AT THE CAPITOL POWER PLANT. THEY ARE RELIEVED EACH WEEK OF ONE WATCH SO THAT THEY WORK ONLY SIX DAYS A WEEK. DURING THE SUMMER MONTHS ALL OF THE DAY WORKERS OR MAINTENANCE FORCE HAVE ENJOYED THE HALF-DAY SATURDAY. ALL WATCHES COMING BACK TO THEIR REGULAR POSITIONS THURSDAY MORNING OF EACH WEEK ON WHICH DAY THE RELIEF WATCH GOES ON REPAIR AND MAINTENANCE WORK EXCEPT DURING THE VACATION PERIOD WHEN THEY ARE ON RELIEF WORK ALTOGETHER. IT WILL BE NECESSARY TO INCREASE THE PERSONNEL TO TAKE CARE OF IT.

A-36130, APRIL 16, 1931, 10 COMP. GEN. 474

SATURDAY HALF HOLIDAYS - WATCHMEN AT THE CAPITOL POWER PLANT WATCHMEN AT THE CAPITOL POWER PLANT REGULARLY EMPLOYED ARE ENTITLED TO THE BENEFITS OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1931, 46 STAT. 1482, PROVIDING FOR SATURDAY HALF HOLIDAYS FOR CERTAIN GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES AND THIS RIGHT MAY NOT BE DENIED BECAUSE OF THE REQUIREMENT THAT THESE EMPLOYEES BE AVAILABLE FOR DUTY ALL THE TIME, OR BECAUSE IT MAY BE NECESSARY TO HIRE ADDITIONAL EMPLOYEES IN ORDER THAT THE GOVERNMENT PROPERTY MAY BE ADEQUATELY PROTECTED.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE ARCHITECT OF THE CAPITOL, APRIL 16, 1931:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 4, 1931, REQUESTING DECISION WHETHER THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1931, 46 STAT. 1482, ENTITLED "AN ACT PROVIDING THE SATURDAY HALF HOLIDAYS FOR CERTAIN GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES" COVERS ALL THE EMPLOYEES AT THE CAPITAL POWER PLANT. YOU INCLOSE A LETTER TO YOU FROM THE CHIEF ENGINEER OF THE CAPITOL POWER PLANT, AS FOLLOWS:

WITH REFERENCE TO THE ABOVE ACT, I WOULD LIKE TO HAVE A RULING FROM YOU AT TO WHETHER THIS ACT COVERS THE WATCH EMPLOYEES AT THE CAPITOL POWER PLANT. THESE MEN WORK TWO WEEKS FROM 4 P.M. TO 12 MIDNIGHT TWO WEEKS FROM 12 MIDNIGHT TO 8 A.M. AND TWO WEEKS FROM 8 A.M. TO 4 P.M. THEY ARE RELIEVED EACH WEEK OF ONE WATCH SO THAT THEY WORK ONLY SIX DAYS A WEEK.

DURING THE SUMMER MONTHS ALL OF THE DAY WORKERS OR MAINTENANCE FORCE HAVE ENJOYED THE HALF-DAY SATURDAY. THIS ALSO APPLIED TO THE RELIEF WATCH, THIS RELIEF WATCH BEING MADE UP AS FOLLOWS: ONE ENGINEER, ONE WATER TENDER, ONE FIRST CLASS OILER, ONE SECOND-CLASS OILER, TWO FIREMEN. THIS WATCH WORKS THE RELIEF FOR ONE SEASON, THE FOLLOWING SEASON THEY GO BACK ON REGULAR WATCH AND ONE OF THE REGULAR WATCHES TAKES RELIEF. IN THIS WAY OVER A PERIOD OF THREE YEARS EACH ONE OF THE WATCHES HAS HAD A TURN OF RELIEF WORK AND WHILE ON THIS WATCH HAS ENJOYED THE HALF HOLIDAY DURING THE SUMMER MONTHS.

THE ABOVE-MENTIONED RELIEF, WATCH WORKS THE 8 A.M. TO 4 P.M. WATCH MONDAY, TUESDAY, AND WEDNESDAY, RELIEVING THE REGULAR WATCH WHO IN TURN RELIEVE THE WATCHES WORKING 4 P.M. TO MIDNIGHT AND 12 MIDNIGHT TO 8 A.M., ALL WATCHES COMING BACK TO THEIR REGULAR POSITIONS THURSDAY MORNING OF EACH WEEK ON WHICH DAY THE RELIEF WATCH GOES ON REPAIR AND MAINTENANCE WORK EXCEPT DURING THE VACATION PERIOD WHEN THEY ARE ON RELIEF WORK ALTOGETHER.

IF THIS LAW COVERS ALL OF THE EMPLOYEES AT THE CAPITOL POWER PLANT, IT WILL BE NECESSARY TO INCREASE THE PERSONNEL TO TAKE CARE OF IT, A CONDITION THE WRITER NEVER PROVIDED FOR WHEN MAKING UP COST ESTIMATES, HAVING THE THOUGHT IN MIND THAT ANY LAW MIGHT BE PASSED WOULD ONLY COVER DAY EMPLOYEES, WHICH CONDITION EXISTS IN MOST ALL PUBLIC-UTILITY PLANTS, IN FACT, VERY FEW PUBLIC-UTILITY PLANTS WORK LESS THAN SEVEN DAYS A WEEK; THAT IS, THE REGULAR WATCH OPERATING CREWS.

THE ACT IN QUESTION SPECIFICALLY INCLUDES---

* * * ALL CIVIL EMPLOYEES OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AND THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, EXCLUSIVE OF EMPLOYEES OF THE POSTAL SERVICE, EMPLOYEES OF THE PANAMA CANAL ON THE ISTHMUS, AND EMPLOYEES OF THE INTERIOR DEPARTMENT IN THE FIELD, WHETHER ON THE HOURLY, PER DIEM, PER ANNUM, PIECEWORK, OR OTHER BASIS: * * *

IT IS UNDERSTOOD YOUR INQUIRY RELATES TO WATCHMEN AT THE CAPITOL POWER PLANT, REGULARLY EMPLOYED, WHOSE WORKDAY IS 8 HOURS, THAT THE FORCE IS DIVIDED INTO SHIFTS IN ORDER THAT THE FULL 24 HOURS OF THE DAY, 7 DAYS OF THE WEEK, MAY BE COVERED, AND THAT THE EMPLOYEES ARE CHANGED AT INTERVALS FROM ONE SHIFT TO ANOTHER.

THESE EMPLOYEES COME WITHIN THE TERM "CIVIL EMPLOYEES OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT" AS USED IN THE SATURDAY HALF HOLIDAY ACT, AND ARE NOT INCLUDED WITHIN ANY OF THE CLASSES OF EMPLOYEES EXPRESSLY EXCEPTED FROM THE BENEFITS OF THE ACT. YOUR DOUBT AS TO THE APPLICATION OF THE LAW TO THESE EMPLOYEES MIGHT APPEAR TO BE BASED ON THAT ELEMENT OF THE DUTIES OF THEIR POSITIONS REQUIRING THEM TO BE AVAILABLE FOR 24 HOURS OF THE DAY, 7 DAYS OF THE WEEK, AND THE NECESSITY TO HIRE TWO ADDITIONAL EMPLOYEES IN ORDER TO GRANT THE HALF HOLIDAY TO THESE MAINTENANCE EMPLOYEES. THERE IS NOTHING EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED IN THE ACT OR IN THE COMMITTEE REPORTS JUSTIFYING THE EXCLUSION OF MAINTENANCE EMPLOYEES, WHO ARE REQUIRED TO BE AVAILABLE FOR DUTY 24 HOURS OF THE DAY, SEVEN DAYS OF THE WEEK, FROM BENEFITS OF THE ACT. IN DECISION OF MARCH 6, 1931, A-35665, 10 COMP. GEN. 399, THIS OFFICE HELD THE STATUTE APPLICABLE TO REGULAR EMPLOYEES UNDER ST. ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL SOME OF WHOM ARE REQUIRED TO BE AVAILABLE FOR DUTY 24 HOURS OF THE DAY, 7 DAYS OF THE WEEK. NEITHER IS THE RELIEF ARRANGEMENT REFERRED TO IN THE SUBMISSION, OR THE NECESSITY FOR HIRING ADDITIONAL EMPLOYEES SUFFICIENT REASON FOR DENYING THESE EMPLOYEES THE BENEFITS OF THE ACT.