A-44230, AUGUST 29, 1932, 12 COMP. GEN. 298

A-44230: Aug 29, 1932

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IT IS NOT USUALLY MORE EXPENSIVE THAN OTHER WAGE SYSTEMS BECAUSE THE FURNISHING OF SUBSISTENCE IS CONSIDERED IN FIXING THE CASH WAGE. THE VALUE OF SUBSISTENCE ON NONWORKING DAYS IF IT WERE AN ADDITIONAL EXPENSE WOULD BE A LOW PRICE TO PAY FOR THE SUPPLEMENTAL PROTECTION. MANY CREWS WERE HIRED UNDER THIS ARRANGEMENT FOR THE CURRENT FIELD SEASON AND IT IS NOT DESIRABLE TO CHANGE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE WORKING SEASON FROM THE SYSTEM TO WHICH THEY ARE ACCUSTOMED TO ANOTHER WHICH MIGHT CREATE DISSATISFACTION. QUESTIONS HAVE ARISEN ON WHICH YOUR DECISION SEEMS NECESSARY. THESE ARE THE CASH EARNINGS THAT THE EMPLOYEES EXPECT AND THAT THE CONTRACTING OFFICERS INTENDED TO PAY THEM. THE FOLLOWING WILL.

A-44230, AUGUST 29, 1932, 12 COMP. GEN. 298

ECONOMY ACT - TEMPORARY EMPLOYEES - DEDUCTIONS AND IMPOUNDING DEDUCTIONS FROM COMPENSATION AND IMPOUNDING THEREOF UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE ECONOMY ACT AS TO TEMPORARY EMPLOYEES OF THE FOREST SERVICE WHO RECEIVE SUBSISTENCE IN KIND AS A PART OF COMPENSATION FOR EACH DAY OF THE MONTH, BUT WHOSE WORKING DAYS VARY EACH MONTH DUE TO THE NUMBER OF SUNDAYS AND HOLIDAYS AND IDLE TIME, SHOULD BE BASED ON GROSS EARNINGS COMPUTED BY MULTIPLYING THE SUM OF THE DAILY CASH WAGE AND THE ASSIGNED DAILY SUBSISTENCE VALUE BY THE NUMBER OF DAYS WORKED, FROM WHICH SHOULD BE DEDUCTED FOR IMPOUNDING 8 1/3 PERCENT (OR SUCH LESSER AMOUNT AS REDUCES THE COMPENSATION TO $1,000 PER ANNUM) AND THE SUBSISTENCE VALUE THAT HAS BEEN INCLUDED IN THE GROSS EARNINGS, THE REMAINDER TO BE PAID TO THE EMPLOYEE.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE, AUGUST 29, 1932:

CONSIDERATION HAS BEEN GIVEN TO YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 20, 1932, AS FOLLOWS:

IN THE FOREST SERVICE IT HAS BEEN THE PRACTICE IN VARIOUS SECTIONS FOR 25 YEARS OR MORE, ARISING FROM AND LARGELY CONTROLLED BY ESTABLISHED LOCAL CUSTOMS, TO HIRE TEMPORARY EMPLOYEES AT HOURLY OR DAILY RATES WITH SUBSISTENCE FURNISHED DURING THE PERIOD OF EMPLOYMENT, INCLUDING SUNDAYS, HOLIDAYS, AND DAYS IDLE BECAUSE OF INCLEMENT WEATHER. THIS PLAN, ASIDE FROM ADHERENCE TO AN ESTABLISHED AND REASONABLY SATISFACTORY PROCEDURE, HAS A DISTINCT ADVANTAGE IN PERIODS OF FIRE DANGER IN THAT IT PROVIDES AN INDUCEMENT TO REMAIN IN CAMP ON SATURDAY AFTERNOONS AND SUNDAYS, THE MEN BEING IMMEDIATELY AVAILABLE FOR SUPPRESSION DUTIES IN THE EVENT OF FOREST FIRES WITHIN STRIKING DISTANCE FROM THE CAMP. IT IS NOT USUALLY MORE EXPENSIVE THAN OTHER WAGE SYSTEMS BECAUSE THE FURNISHING OF SUBSISTENCE IS CONSIDERED IN FIXING THE CASH WAGE, BUT THE VALUE OF SUBSISTENCE ON NONWORKING DAYS IF IT WERE AN ADDITIONAL EXPENSE WOULD BE A LOW PRICE TO PAY FOR THE SUPPLEMENTAL PROTECTION.

MANY CREWS WERE HIRED UNDER THIS ARRANGEMENT FOR THE CURRENT FIELD SEASON AND IT IS NOT DESIRABLE TO CHANGE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE WORKING SEASON FROM THE SYSTEM TO WHICH THEY ARE ACCUSTOMED TO ANOTHER WHICH MIGHT CREATE DISSATISFACTION. UNDER THE ECONOMY ACT, QUESTIONS HAVE ARISEN ON WHICH YOUR DECISION SEEMS NECESSARY, NAMELY, (1) THE BASIS FOR DETERMINING THE ANNUAL EQUIVALENT AND (2) THE COMPUTATION OF THE 8 1/3 PERCENT DEDUCTION WHEN ABOVE THE $1,000 EQUIVALENT.

PRIOR TO THE PASSAGE OF THE ECONOMY ACT THIS WAGE PLAN WOULD OPERATE AS FOLLOWS: IN THE MONTH OF AUGUST, FOR EXAMPLE, ASSUMING A 5 1/2-DAY WEEK WITH WAGES OF $2.25 A DAY FOR SIX DAYS, AND NO IDLE DAYS OTHER THAN SUNDAYS, THE EMPLOYEE WOULD BE PAID FOR 27 DAYS AT $2.25 ($60.75), RECEIVING SUBSISTENCE FOR THE 31 DAYS. IF WEATHER OR OTHER CONDITIONS PREVENTED WORK ON SEVEN DAYS, HE WOULD BE PAID FOR 20 DAYS ($45.00) AND RECEIVE SUBSISTENCE FOR THE 31 DAYS. UNDER EXISTING TERMS OF EMPLOYMENT, AS IN PREVIOUS YEARS, THESE ARE THE CASH EARNINGS THAT THE EMPLOYEES EXPECT AND THAT THE CONTRACTING OFFICERS INTENDED TO PAY THEM. IF THE WORKING WEEK CONSISTED OF SEVEN DAYS, OR IF THE NUMBER OF WORKING DAYS BORE A CONSTANT KNOWN RELATION TO THE NUMBER OF SUBSISTENCE DAYS, THE DETERMINATION OF ANNUAL EQUIVALENT WOULD BE SIMPLE BECAUSE THE AVERAGE DAILY WAGES WOULD CONSIST OF THE DAILY CASH WAGE PLUS THE DAILY VALUE OF SUBSISTENCE.

IN CONSIDERING THESE QUESTIONS, THE FOLLOWING WILL, IT IS THOUGHT, DISCLOSE THE REASON FOR DOUBT.

CHART

TOTAL WORKING CASH SUBSISTENCE SUBSISTENCE CASH SUBSISTENCE AVERAGE DAYS RATE DAYS VALUE

27 $2.25 31 $0.75 DA. $60.75 $23.25 $3.11

20 2.25 31 .75 DA. 45.00 23.25 3.41

27 2.25 31 1.00 DA. 60.75 31.00 3.40

20 2.25 31 1.00 DA. 45.00 31.00 3.80

27 3.00 31 1.00 DA. 81.00 31.00 4.15

20 3.00 31 1.00 DA. 60.00 31.00 4.55

THE NUMBER OF WORKING DAYS VARIES WITH THE NUMBER OF DAYS IN THE MONTH, THE NUMBER OF SUNDAYS AND HOLIDAYS, AND THE IDLENESS DUE TO BAD WEATHER OR OTHER UNAVOIDABLE CIRCUMSTANCES. THE NUMBER OF SUBSISTENCE DAYS WILL VARY ONLY WITH THE NUMBER OF DAYS IN THE MONTH, NO CASH ALLOWANCE BEING MADE IN LIEU OF MEALS THAT ARE MISSED.

IN THE ABSENCE OF A DETERMINABLE RELATION BETWEEN NUMBER OF WORKING DAYS AND SUBSISTENCE DAYS, IT MAY BE SUGGESTED THAT THE VALUE OF SUBSISTENCE THAT ATTACHES TO A WORKING DAY BE ESTIMATED AS CLOSELY AS PRACTICABLE, THE SUM OF THIS AND THE DAILY CASH WAGE, BEING MULTIPLIED BY 307 TO ARRIVE AT THE ANNUAL EQUIVALENT; AND THAT THE BASE FOR DEDUCTION BE COMPUTED BY MULTIPLYING THE SUM OF (A) THE DAILY CASH WAGE AND (B) ASSIGNED DAILY SUBSISTENCE VALUE BY THE NUMBER OF DAYS WORKED TO DETERMINE GROSS EARNINGS; AFTER DEDUCTING 8 1/3 PERCENT (OR SUCH LESSER AMOUNT AS REDUCES TO THE $1,000 EQUIVALENT) AND THE SUBSISTENCE VALUE THAT WAS INCLUDED IN THE GROSS EARNINGS, THE REMAINDER WOULD BE DUE THE EMPLOYEE. THIS METHOD IS EASY OF PRACTICAL APPLICATION, AND PERHAPS IS AS NEAR AN APPROACH TO ACCURACY AS IS ATTAINABLE. THE GROSS EARNINGS PER DAY WOULD NOT VARY WITH WEATHER CONDITIONS.