A-43386, JULY 28, 1932, 12 COMP. GEN. 126

A-43386: Jul 28, 1932

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THE SUNDAY AND HOLIDAY SERVICE OF THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS IS UNIQUE. THERE IS NOTHING COMPARABLE TO IT ELSEWHERE IN THE GOVERNMENT SERVICE. THE CLIENTELE ON SUNDAY IS OF A SPECIAL CHARACTER. AS AN INDICATION OF THE SERIOUS CHARACTER OF MATERIAL CONSULTED ON SUNDAY AND HOLIDAYS IT IS NOTED THAT OF THE LARGE NUMBER OF VOLUMES ISSUED ONLY 4 PERCENT IS FICTION. 2. THE DEMANDS ON THE STAFF ARE MUCH GREATER AND MORE EXACTING ON SUNDAYS AND HOLIDAYS THAN ON WEEK DAYS. IN SOME DIVISIONS THE PUBLIC USE OF THE DIVISION IS NEARLY AS GREAT ON SUNDAYS AS FOR THE REST OF THE WEEK COMBINED. IN ALL DIVISIONS IT IS LARGELY INCREASED. WITH THE INCREASE IN NUMBERS THERE IS AN INCREASE NOT ONLY IN ENQUIRIES.

A-43386, JULY 28, 1932, 12 COMP. GEN. 126

ECONOMY ACT - SUNDAY AND HOLIDAY WORK - LIBRARY OF CONGRESS UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 211 OF THE ACT OF JUNE 30, 1932, 47 STAT. 406, AND THE APPROPRIATION ITEMS IN THE SAME STATUTE FOR THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS, THE RATE OF COMPENSATION FOR SERVICES ON SUNDAYS AND HOLIDAYS, NECESSARY IN CONNECTION WITH OPENING THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS FOR THE CONVENIENCE OF THE PUBLIC, MAY NOT EXCEED THE RATES PAID DURING THE WEEK FOR THE SAME CLASS OF WORK.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE LIBRARIAN, LIBRARY OF CONGRESS, JULY 28, 1932:

CONSIDERATION HAS BEEN GIVEN TO YOUR LETTER OF JULY 13, 1932, AS FOLLOWS:

WE SHOULD BE OBLIGED IF YOU WOULD GIVE US YOUR OPINION AS TO THE APPLICATION OF THE SO-CALLED ECONOMY ACT, APPROVED JUNE 30, 1932, TO THE SUNDAY AND HOLIDAY SERVICE IN THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS.

THE ACT PROVIDES:

"SUNDAY OPENING

"TO ENABLE THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS TO BE KEPT OPEN FOR REFERENCE USE ON SUNDAYS AND ON HOLIDAYS WITHIN THE DISCRETION OF THE LIBRARIAN, INCLUDING THE EXTRA SERVICES OF EMPLOYEES AND THE SERVICES OF ADDITIONAL EMPLOYEES UNDER THE LIBRARIAN, AT RATES TO BE FIXED BY THE LIBRARIAN, $18,000.'

IT ALSO PROVIDES:

"OVERTIME COMPENSATION

"SEC. 211. (A) DURING THE FISCAL YEAR ENDING JUNE 30, 1933---

"/1) NO OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE OF THE GOVERNMENT SHALL BE ALLOWED OR PAID A HIGHER RATE OF COMPENSATION FOR OVERTIME WORK (EITHER DAY OR NIGHT) OR FOR WORK ON SUNDAYS AND HOLIDAYS.'

1. THE SUNDAY AND HOLIDAY SERVICE OF THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS IS UNIQUE. THERE IS NOTHING COMPARABLE TO IT ELSEWHERE IN THE GOVERNMENT SERVICE. AND THE CLIENTELE ON SUNDAY IS OF A SPECIAL CHARACTER. THE SCIENTISTS AND OTHER SPECIALISTS OF THE GOVERNMENT, SPECIAL INVESTIGATORS, MEMBERS OF UNIVERSITY FACULTIES FROM OUT OF TOWN, AND OTHERS DEVELOPING SPECIAL PROBLEMS UTILIZE THAT DAY TO CARRY ON IMPORTANT RESEARCH AT THE LIBRARY. MANY MEMBERS OF CONGRESS USE THE REPRESENTATIVES' READING ROOM IN INVESTIGATIONS PERTINENT TO LEGISLATION. AS AN INDICATION OF THE SERIOUS CHARACTER OF MATERIAL CONSULTED ON SUNDAY AND HOLIDAYS IT IS NOTED THAT OF THE LARGE NUMBER OF VOLUMES ISSUED ONLY 4 PERCENT IS FICTION.

2. THE SERVICE HAS BEEN IN EXISTENCE FOR 30 YEARS. THE DEMANDS ON THE STAFF ARE MUCH GREATER AND MORE EXACTING ON SUNDAYS AND HOLIDAYS THAN ON WEEK DAYS. IN SOME DIVISIONS THE PUBLIC USE OF THE DIVISION IS NEARLY AS GREAT ON SUNDAYS AS FOR THE REST OF THE WEEK COMBINED. AND IN ALL DIVISIONS IT IS LARGELY INCREASED, AND WITH THE INCREASE IN NUMBERS THERE IS AN INCREASE NOT ONLY IN ENQUIRIES, BUT IN THE RANGE OF ENQUIRIES. THE WORK, THEREFORE, IS SPECIALIZED IN CHARACTER AND IS VERY STRENUOUS. CONSEQUENTLY, IT HAS BEEN IN THE PAST DIFFICULT TO SECURE AN ADEQUATE FORCE EVEN AT THE RATES PAID.

3. ONLY THE READING ROOMS AND A FEW DIVISIONS OF THE LIBRARY ARE OPEN ON SUNDAYS. THE REMAINING DIVISIONS OF THE LIBRARY ARE CLOSED. IT IS THEREFORE NECESSARY FOR THE SUNDAY SERVICE ASSISTANTS TO DO MUCH RESEARCH THAT IS ORDINARILY PERFORMED BY THE OTHER DIVISIONS DURING THE WEEK.

FOR EXAMPLE, IN THE REPRESENTATIVES' READING ROOM, WHERE THE SERVICE IS ENTIRELY FOR MEMBERS OF CONGRESS, THE ASSISTANT CAN DURING THE WEEK DEPEND UPON THE LEGISLATIVE REFERENCE SERVICE FOR THE ANSWERS TO MANY OF THE ENQUIRIES ADDRESSED TO HIM, BUT ON SUNDAY HE MUST MAKE THE SEARCH FOR THE INFORMATION HIMSELF. AND THIS IS THE BUSIEST DAY OF THE WEEK WITH HIM.

4. EMPLOYEES OF THE SUNDAY AND HOLIDAY SERVICE COMPRISE NOT ONLY OUR REGULAR EMPLOYEES BUT ALSO THOSE NOT CONNECTED WITH THE GOVERNMENT SERVICE. EXERCISING THE DISCRETION VESTED IN THE LIBRARIAN BY THE LAW "AT RATES TO BE FIXED BY THE LIBRARIAN" THE PER DIEM RATES HERETOFORE FIXED BY THE LIBRARIAN, UNDER AUTHORITY OF THE STATUTES, HAVE BEEN ARRIVED AT INDEPENDENTLY OF ANY OTHER BRANCH OF OUR SERVICE, BUT WITH RELATION SOLELY TO THE DAY'S WORK, KEEPING IN MIND PARTICULARLY THE CHARACTER OF SERVICE ATTACHED TO EACH POSITION AND THE ESPECIAL CHARACTER OF THE SERVICE RENDERED ON SUNDAY AND HOLIDAYS.

WITH THIS INFORMATION BEFORE YOU, MAY WE NOT HAVE YOUR OPINION AS TO WHETHER SECTION 211 OF PART II OF THE LEGISLATIVE ACT APPROVED JUNE 30, 1932, APPLIES TO THE SUNDAY AND HOLIDAY SERVICE OF THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS?

THE INHIBITION CONTAINED IN SECTION 211 (A) (1) OF THE ACT OF JUNE 30, 1932, PUBLIC NO. 212, 47 STAT. 406, IS AGAINST THE PAYMENT OF A HIGHER RATE OF COMPENSATION FOR WORK ON A SUNDAY OR HOLIDAY THAN IS PAID FOR WORK OF THE SAME CLASS OR CHARACTER ON OTHER DAYS OF THE WEEK.

IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT IN CONNECTION WITH THE SUNDAY AND HOLIDAY OPENING OF THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS AN EMPLOYEE ENGAGED ON ONE CLASS OF WORK DURING THE WEEK MAY BE EMPLOYED ON SUNDAYS AND HOLIDAYS IN CONNECTION WITH ANOTHER CLASS OF WORK HAVING NO RELATION TO HIS WEEK DAY WORK AND BE PAID AT EITHER A HIGHER OR LOWER RATE OF COMPENSATION THAN HE REGULARLY RECEIVES DURING THE WEEK; BUT THAT, WITH A FEW EXCEPTIONS, THE WORK PERFORMED ON SUNDAYS AND HOLIDAYS IS COMPARABLE TO WORK BEING PERFORMED BY SOME EMPLOYEE DURING THE WEEK. UNDER THE STATUTORY PROVISIONS QUOTED IN YOUR LETTER THE RATE OF COMPENSATION FOR SERVICES ON SUNDAYS AND HOLIDAYS MAY NOT EXCEED THE RATES PAID DURING THE WEEK FOR THE SAME CLASS OF WORK. IN THE FEW CASES OF SUNDAY AND HOLIDAY DUTIES HAVING NO EXACT COUNTERPART DURING THE WEEK THE LIBRARIAN SHOULD FIX THE SUNDAY AND HOLIDAY RATE, AS NEARLY AS PRACTICABLE, AT THE RATE OF COMPENSATION FOR DUTIES PERFORMED DURING THE WEEK NEAREST THAT ONE IN CHARACTER TO THOSE REQUIRED IN THE PARTICULAR POSITION ON SUNDAYS AND HOLIDAYS, PROVIDED THAT THE RATE SO FIXED MAY NOT EXCEED THE RATE PAID JUNE 30, 1932, FOR THE SAME SUNDAY AND HOLIDAY SERVICE.

FROM AN EXAMINATION OF A SUPPLEMENTAL MEMORANDUM INFORMALLY SUBMITTED TO THIS OFFICE IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT THE RATES FOR COMPENSATION PROPOSED TO BE APPROVED FOR SUNDAY AND HOLIDAY WORK CONFORM TO THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE LAW AS ABOVE STATED.

HOWEVER, REGULAR, FULL-TIME EMPLOYEES OF THE LIBRARY, PAID ON AN ANNUAL BASIS, WHO MAY, DUE TO THE EXIGENCIES OF THE SERVICE, BE REQUIRED TO WORK OVERTIME OR ON A SUNDAY OR HOLIDAY IN CONNECTION WITH THEIR REGULAR DUTIES, AS DISTINGUISHED FROM THE SEPARATE AND DISTINCT ACTIVITIES ARISING BY REASON OF THE KEEPING OF THE LIBRARY OPEN ON SUNDAYS AND HOLIDAYS FOR THE BENEFIT AND CONVENIENCE OF THE PUBLIC, ARE NOT ENTITLED TO ANY COMPENSATION THEREFOR IN ADDITION TO THE REGULAR ANNUAL SALARY.