A-79128, AUGUST 6, 1936, 16 COMP. GEN. 132

A-79128: Aug 6, 1936

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WHOSE RATE OF WAGES IS FIXED TO INCLUDE PART CASH AND PART THE DETERMINED VALUE OF ALLOWANCES FURNISHED IN KIND. WHERE THE LEAVE TAKING IS DELAYED UNTIL COMPLETION OF THE WORK. EVIDENCE SHOULD BE OBTAINED BEFORE FINAL PAYMENT THAT THE DISCHARGED EMPLOYEES ARE ALIVE ON THE LAST DAY FOR WHICH WAGES ARE PAID. AS FOLLOWS: REFERENCE IS MADE TO THE ANNUAL AND SICK LEAVE ACTS APPROVED MARCH 14. ALL ARE HIRED IN A NEIGHBORHOOD IN WHICH THE PARTICULAR JOB IS LOCATED AND THEIR TERMS OF SERVICE ARE FOR AS LONG AS THEY ARE NEEDED OR GIVE SATISFACTORY SERVICE. THEY ARE USUALLY QUARTERED IN CAMP. CAMP IS MOVED ALONG THE BOUNDARY LINE AS THE FIELD WORK PROGRESSES. THE CAMP MESS IS RUN BY THE EMPLOYEES AND DEDUCTIONS ARE MADE FROM THEIR SUBSISTENCE ALLOWANCE WHEN TENTS.

A-79128, AUGUST 6, 1936, 16 COMP. GEN. 132

LEAVES OF ABSENCE - ANNUAL - ACT, MARCH 14, 1936 - FINAL COMPENSATION PAYMENTS TO DISCHARGED EMPLOYEES SEASONAL FIELD EMPLOYEES OF THE INTERNATIONAL BOUNDARY COMMISSION, UNITED STATES, ALASKA, AND CANADA, EMPLOYED ON A FULL-TIME BASIS, WHOSE RATE OF WAGES IS FIXED TO INCLUDE PART CASH AND PART THE DETERMINED VALUE OF ALLOWANCES FURNISHED IN KIND, MAY BE PAID THEIR TOTAL WAGES IN CASH COVERING PERIODS OF AUTHORIZED LEAVE OF ABSENCE WITH PAY. WHERE THE LEAVE TAKING IS DELAYED UNTIL COMPLETION OF THE WORK, EVIDENCE SHOULD BE OBTAINED BEFORE FINAL PAYMENT THAT THE DISCHARGED EMPLOYEES ARE ALIVE ON THE LAST DAY FOR WHICH WAGES ARE PAID.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE, AUGUST 6, 1936:

CONSIDERATION HAS BEEN GIVEN YOUR LETTER OF JULY 25, 1936, REQUESTING DECISION OF THE QUESTIONS SUBMITTED IN A LETTER DATED JULY 16, 1936, FROM THE UNITED STATES COMMISSIONER, INTERNATIONAL BOUNDARY COMMISSION, UNITED STATES, ALASKA, AND CANADA, AS FOLLOWS:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO THE ANNUAL AND SICK LEAVE ACTS APPROVED MARCH 14, 1936, PUBLIC NOS. 471 AND 472, 74TH CONGRESS, AND TO THE APPROPRIATION "1971025 INTERNATIONAL BOUNDARY COMMISSION, UNITED STATES AND CANADA AND ALASKA AND CANADA, 1937.'

THE APPROPRIATION ACT PROVIDES FOR "* * *; COMMUTATION OF SUBSISTENCE TO EMPLOYEES WHILE ON FIELD DUTY, NOT TO EXCEED $4 PER DAY EACH, BUT NOT TO EXCEED $1.75 PER DAY EACH WHEN A MEMBER OF A FIELD PARTY AND SUBSISTING IN CAMP; * * *.'

DURING THE SUMMER MONTHS THIS COMMISSION EMPLOYS TEMPORARY (SEASONAL) FIELD HANDS AND PAYS THEM A MONTHLY WAGE PLUS A DAILY CASH COMMUTATION OF SUBSISTENCE. ALL ARE HIRED IN A NEIGHBORHOOD IN WHICH THE PARTICULAR JOB IS LOCATED AND THEIR TERMS OF SERVICE ARE FOR AS LONG AS THEY ARE NEEDED OR GIVE SATISFACTORY SERVICE, WITH A MAXIMUM OF 5 OR 6 MONTHS DURING THE CALENDAR YEAR. THEY ARE USUALLY QUARTERED IN CAMP, AND CAMP IS MOVED ALONG THE BOUNDARY LINE AS THE FIELD WORK PROGRESSES. THE CAMP MESS IS RUN BY THE EMPLOYEES AND DEDUCTIONS ARE MADE FROM THEIR SUBSISTENCE ALLOWANCE WHEN TENTS, COTS, ETC., ARE FURNISHED BY THE COMMISSION.

THE RATES OF WAGES PAID ARE DETERMINED IN EACH LOCALITY BY THE CHIEF OF FIELD PARTY SO THAT THE MONTHLY WAGES PLUS THE SUBSISTENCE ALLOWANCE EQUAL SUBSTANTIALLY THE RATES OF COMPENSATION PAID BY OTHER GOVERNMENT AGENCIES TO SIMILAR EMPLOYEES IN THE SAME LOCALITY WHO ARE REQUIRED TO SUBSIST THEMSELVES OR FROM WHOSE COMPENSATION ARE DEDUCTED CHARGES FOR MEALS AND QUARTERS FURNISHED BY THE GOVERNMENT.

DURING THE TIME COMPENSATION DEDUCTIONS UNDER THE ECONOMY ACT WERE IN EFFECT, DEDUCTIONS WERE MADE FROM THE COMMUTATION OF SUBSISTENCE ALLOWANCE OF TEMPORARY FIELD EMPLOYEES, THE THOUGHT BEING THAT THIS IS NOT A TRAVEL ALLOWANCE BUT PART OF THEIR COMPENSATION. ALSO, IN THE COMMISSION'S BUDGET ESTIMATES THE ITEM OF SUBSISTENCE OF TEMPORARY FIELD HANDS IS SHOWN AS COMPENSATION FOR PERSONAL SERVICES AND NOT UNDER 0630 PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES. THESE FIELD HANDS ARE FURNISHED TRANSPORTATION BACK TO THE PLACE EACH STARTED WORK, UNLESS THEY RESIGN BEFORE THE CLOSE OF WORK OR ARE REMOVED FOR CAUSE.

IT APPEARS THAT THESE EMPLOYEES ARE NOW ENTITLED TO ANNUAL AND SICK LEAVE UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACTS OF MARCH 14, 1936, SUPRA, AND THE LEAVE REGULATIONS ISSUED PURSUANT THERETO. ARE THEY ENTITLED TO THE CASH COMMUTATION OF SUBSISTENCE ALLOWANCE WHILE ON LEAVE?

EXCEPT IN SPECIAL INSTANCES, ANNUAL LEAVE WILL BE GRANTED TO THOSE TEMPORARY FIELD EMPLOYEES ONLY AFTER THE CLOSE OF THE FIELD WORK. THIS WILL RESULT IN THE FINAL FIELD PAY ROLL COVERING A PERIOD SUFFICIENTLY BEYOND THE CLOSE OF THE WORK TO GRANT ALL THE EMPLOYEES THEIR ACCRUED LEAVE. HOWEVER, THE CHIEF OF FIELD PARTY, WHO CERTIFIES THE PAY ROLLS, RETURNS TO HIS HEADQUARTERS IN WASHINGTON AT THE CLOSE OF THE WORK AND THE TEMPORARY EMPLOYEES SCATTER TO THEIR HOMES, SO THE CHIEF OF PARTY WILL NOT HAVE PERSONAL KNOWLEDGE AS TO WHETHER OR NOT THE EMPLOYEES ARE ALIVE AT THE END OF THEIR LEAVE PERIODS.

WILL IT BE NECESSARY, BEFORE CERTIFYING THE FINAL PAY ROLL, TO OBTAIN DEFINITE EVIDENCE OF THE EMPLOYEES BEING ALIVE AT THE END OF THEIR LEAVE PERIODS, SUCH, FOR INSTANCE, AS A LETTER FROM EACH, WRITTEN AT THE EXPIRATION OF HIS LEAVE PERIOD, DIRECTING WHERE HIS FINAL CHECK IS TO BE SENT?

IN DECISION OF JUNE 30, 1930, 9 COMP. GEN. 528, IT WAS HELD AS FOLLOWS (QUOTING FROM THE SYLLABUS):

UNDER THE PROVISO TO SECTION 3 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 5, 1928, 45 STAT.193, IT IS WITHIN ADMINISTRATIVE DISCRETION TO DETERMINE THE VALUE OF QUARTERS, SUBSISTENCE, AND OTHER ALLOWANCES FURNISHED IN KIND TO CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES, TO BE CONSIDERED AS A PART OF COMPENSATION, EITHER FOR THE PERIOD OF ACTUAL DUTY ONLY, EXCLUSIVE OF PERIODS OF AUTHORIZED OR UNAUTHORIZED ABSENCE, OR FOR FULL TIME, INCLUDING PERIODS OF AUTHORIZED OR UNAUTHORIZED ABSENCE.

SEE, ALSO, 10 COMP. GEN. 493.

IF, AS IS INDICATED FROM THE QUOTED LETTER, THE TOTAL RATE OF WAGES IS FIXED TO INCLUDE PART CASH AND PART THE DETERMINED VALUE OF ALLOWANCES FURNISHED IN KIND OR COMPUTED SUBSISTENCE ALLOWANCE AND ON A FULL-TIME BASIS, THE EMPLOYEES IN QUESTION WOULD BE ENTITLED TO THEIR TOTAL WAGES IN CASH COVERING PERIODS OF AUTHORIZED LEAVE OF ABSENCE WITH PAY. THE FIRST QUESTION IS ANSWERED IN THE AFFIRMATIVE.

THE SECOND QUESTION, CONTAINED IN THE CONCLUDING PARAGRAPH OF THE QUOTED LETTER, IS ANSWERED IN THE AFFIRMATIVE, IT BEING ESSENTIAL PRIOR TO PAYMENT OF FINAL WAGES THAT THE RECORD CONTAIN EVIDENCE THAT THE DISCHARGED EMPLOYEES ARE ALIVE ON THE LAST DAY FOR WHICH WAGES ARE PAID.