A-5032, NOVEMBER 4, 1924, 4 COMP. GEN. 426

A-5032: Nov 4, 1924

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SICK LEAVE - CERTIFICATES - CHRISTIAN SCIENTISTS THE CERTIFICATE OF AN AUTHORIZED AND RECOGNIZED CHRISTIAN SCIENCE PRACTITIONER IN SUPPORT OF AN APPLICATION BY A CONSULAR OFFICER OR CLERK FOR SICK LEAVE IS SUFFICIENT FOR THE REQUIREMENTS OF SECTION 467. WHERE THE REGULATIONS OF A DEPARTMENT OR ESTABLISHMENT STATE THAT IT IS DESIRABLE THAT THE CERTIFICATE OF THE PHYSICIAN IN ATTENDANCE BE FURNISHED IN SUPPORT OF AN APPLICATION FOR SICK LEAVE THE APPLICATION SHOULD BE SUPPORTED BY A CERTIFICATE OF A LICENSED PHYSICIAN. IS INSUFFICIENT. THE GRANTING OF SICK LEAVE TO AN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE WITHIN THE LIMITS OF THE LAWS RELATING THERETO IS DISCRETIONARY WITH THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT OR ESTABLISHMENT CONCERNED.

A-5032, NOVEMBER 4, 1924, 4 COMP. GEN. 426

SICK LEAVE - CERTIFICATES - CHRISTIAN SCIENTISTS THE CERTIFICATE OF AN AUTHORIZED AND RECOGNIZED CHRISTIAN SCIENCE PRACTITIONER IN SUPPORT OF AN APPLICATION BY A CONSULAR OFFICER OR CLERK FOR SICK LEAVE IS SUFFICIENT FOR THE REQUIREMENTS OF SECTION 467, CONSULAR REGULATIONS OF 1922, IF SAID PRACTITIONER AND OFFICER OR CLERK BE NOT THE SAME PERSON. WHERE THE REGULATIONS OF A DEPARTMENT OR ESTABLISHMENT STATE THAT IT IS DESIRABLE THAT THE CERTIFICATE OF THE PHYSICIAN IN ATTENDANCE BE FURNISHED IN SUPPORT OF AN APPLICATION FOR SICK LEAVE THE APPLICATION SHOULD BE SUPPORTED BY A CERTIFICATE OF A LICENSED PHYSICIAN, AN AUTHORIZED AND RECOGNIZED CHRISTIAN SCIENCE PRACTITIONER, OR EVIDENCE OF EQUAL IMPORT ACCEPTABLE TO THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT OR ESTABLISHMENT CONCERNED, AND A CERTIFICATE BY A CHRISTIAN SCIENTIST IN HIS OWN BEHALF, WHETHER A PRACTITIONER OR OTHERWISE, IS INSUFFICIENT. THE GRANTING OF SICK LEAVE TO AN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE WITHIN THE LIMITS OF THE LAWS RELATING THERETO IS DISCRETIONARY WITH THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT OR ESTABLISHMENT CONCERNED, AND ORDINARILY THE EVIDENCE REQUIRED THEREFOR MAY BE LEFT TO ADMINISTRATIVE DISCRETION.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE, NOVEMBER 4, 1924:

I HAVE YOUR REQUEST OF SEPTEMBER 6, 1924, FOR A DECISION OF QUESTIONS PRESENTED, AS FOLLOWS:

THE QUESTION HAS ARISEN AS TO WHETHER THE CERTIFICATE OF A CHRISTIAN SCIENCE PRACTITIONER, INSTEAD OF A CERTIFICATE FROM A LICENSED PHYSICIAN, IN THE CASE OF THE ABSENCE OF A CONSULAR OFFICER OR CLERK FROM DUTY ON ACCOUNT OF ILLNESS, IS ACCEPTABLE AND SUFFICIENT TO MEET THE REQUIREMENTS OF PARAGRAPH 467 OF THE CONSULAR REGULATIONS. ANOTHER QUESTION IS ALSO INVOLVED AND THAT IS WHETHER IN THE CASE OF AN EMPLOYEE WHO IS A BELIEVER IN CHRISTIAN SCIENCE AND WHO, ACCORDING TO HIS BELIEF, KNOWS ENOUGH OF THE SCIENCE TO BE ABLE TO CURE HIS OWN PHYSICAL AILMENTS, ANY CERTIFICATE SHOULD BE REQUIRED.

PARAGRAPH 467 OF THE CONSULAR REGULATIONS, EDITION OF 1922, PROVIDES:

CONDITIONS UNDER WHICH LEAVE IS GRANTED.--- LEAVE OF ABSENCE IS GRANTED, WITHIN STATUTORY LIMITATIONS, AT THE DISCRETION OF THE PRESIDENT, ACTING THROUGH THE SECRETARY OF STATE. LEAVES ARE OF TWO KINDS, SIMPLE LEAVE, AND LEAVE WITH PERMISSION TO VISIT THE UNITED STATES. THE GRANTING OF SIMPLE LEAVE OF ABSENCE DOES NOT CARRY WITH IT PERMISSION TO RETURN TO THE UNITED STATES. A CONSULAR OFFICER MUST RECEIVE EXPRESS PERMISSION TO RETURN, IN ORDER TO ENTITLE HIM TO THE BENEFIT OF THE STATUTORY ALLOWANCE OF SALARY IN TRANSIT.

SIMPLE LEAVE OF ABSENCE WITH SALARY MAY BE GRANTED FOR NOT MORE THAN THIRTY DAYS IN ANY ONE YEAR, EXCEPT IN THE EVENT OF ILLNESS ON THE PART OF THE OFFICER OR A MEMBER OF HIS FAMILY, OR UNDER OTHER EXCEPTIONAL CIRCUMSTANCES, WHEN SIMPLE LEAVE WITH PAY MAY BE EXTENDED TO A TOTAL OF SIXTY DAYS IN ONE YEAR, BUT NO LONGER.

LEAVE OF ABSENCE WITH PERMISSION TO VISIT THE UNITED STATES FOR NOT TO EXCEED SIXTY DAYS IN ANY ONE CALENDAR YEAR MAY BE GRANTED WITH SALARY NOT OFTENER THAN ONCE IN TWO YEARS, EXCEPT (1) IN THE CASE OF CONSULAR OFFICERS IN REMOTE PLACES, WHO MAY BE GRANTED CONTINUOUS LEAVE COVERING PARTS OF TWO SUCCESSIVE YEARS, PROVIDED NOT TO EXCEED SIXTY DAYS IS GRANTED IN EITHER YEAR; AND (2) ALSO IN CASES WHERE THE HEALTH OF OFFICERS REQUIRES THAT THEY SHOULD BE ABSENT FROM THEIR POSTS, WHEN CONTINUOUS LEAVE NOT TO EXCEED SIXTY DAYS IN EITHER YEAR MAY BE GRANTED COVERING PARTS OF TWO SUCCESSIVE YEARS. WHENEVER LEAVE OF ABSENCE IS CLAIMED TO BE NECESSARY ON ACCOUNT OF ILLNESS, IT IS DESIRABLE THAT A CERTIFICATE OF THE PHYSICIAN IN ATTENDANCE BE FORWARDED TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE. R.S. SECS. 1740, 1742.

THE PURPOSE OF REQUIRING A CERTIFICATE OF A PHYSICIAN AS PROOF OF THE EXISTENCE OF AN ILLNESS OF SUFFICIENT SERIOUSNESS TO FORM THE BASIS FOR LEAVE OF ABSENCE IS TO SECURE CORROBORATION OF THE EXISTENCE OF SUCH ILLNESS SO THAT THE GRANTING OF LEAVE SHALL NOT REST ALONE UPON THE STATEMENT OF THE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE CONCERNED. A REQUIREMENT THAT THE ILLNESS OF AN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE OF THE UNITED STATES BE EVIDENCED BY A CERTIFICATE OF A PHYSICIAN DOES NOT NECESSARILY LIMIT CERTIFICATION THERETO BY PHYSICIANS OF ANY PARTICULAR SCHOOL. RECOGNIZED PRACTITIONERS OF WHATEVER SCHOOL MAY BE ACCEPTED AND NO GOOD REASON SUGGESTS ITSELF WHY A CERTIFICATE BY A RECOGNIZED CHRISTIAN SCIENCE PRACTITIONER SHOULD NOT BE ACCEPTED.

IN VIEW OF THE PURPOSE SOUGHT TO BE ACCOMPLISHED BY THE CERTIFICATE IT WOULD NOT APPEAR SUFFICIENT TO ACCEPT A CERTIFICATE EXECUTED BY ONE NOT AN AUTHORIZED AND RECOGNIZED PRACTITIONER, NOR WOULD IT BE SUFFICIENT TO ACCEPT THE CERTIFICATE OF THE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE CONCERNED WHETHER OR NOT HE IS AN AUTHORIZED AND RECOGNIZED PRACTITIONER. AN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE WHO IS AUTHORIZED TO TAKE ACKNOWLEDGMENTS OR CERTIFY THE CORRECTNESS OF TRANSACTIONS GENERALLY MAY DO SO ONLY WITH RESPECT TO SUCH MATTERS AS AFFECT OTHERS. A CERTIFICATION OR AFFIDAVIT SUBSCRIBED TO BY AN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE IN HIS OWN BEHALF LACKS THE CORROBORATIVE EFFECT INTENDED BY THE REQUIREMENT THEREOF AND GENERALLY IS NOT ACCEPTABLE. I AM NOT AWARE OF ANY REASON WHY A STATEMENT BY A BELIEVER IN CHRISTIAN SCIENCE, WHETHER A PRACTITIONER OR NOT, SHOULD BE ACCEPTED IN PREFERENCE TO SIMILAR STATEMENTS OF PERSONS OF A DIFFERENT FAITH.

ANSWERING YOUR SECOND QUESTION SPECIFICALLY, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT AN EMPLOYEE WHO IS A BELIEVER IN CHRISTIAN SCIENCE AND WHO, ACCORDING TO HIS BELIEF, KNOWS ENOUGH OF THE SCIENCE TO BE ABLE TO CURE HIS OWN AILMENTS, SHOULD BE REQUIRED TO FURNISH A CERTIFICATE OF A LICENSED PHYSICIAN OR A CERTIFICATE OF AN AUTHORIZED AND RECOGNIZED CHRISTIAN SCIENCE PRACTITIONER OR EVIDENCE OF EQUAL IMPORT ACCEPTABLE TO THE DEPARTMENT.

THE GRANTING OF LEAVE OF ABSENCE TO EMPLOYEES SUBJECT TO THE LIMITATIONS PRESCRIBED BY LAW IS WITHIN THE DISCRETION OF EACH DEPARTMENT AND ESTABLISHMENT, AND ORDINARILY THE EVIDENCE REQUIRED TO WARRANT GRANTING LEAVE OF ABSENCE BECAUSE OF ILLNESS MAY BE LEFT TO ADMINISTRATIVE REGULATION.