A-80748, NOVEMBER 10, 1936, 16 COMP. GEN. 481

A-80748: Nov 10, 1936

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TO PERFORM TEMPORARY DUTY AT A PLACE OTHER THAN HIS REGULAR DUTY STATION AND PERMITTED TO RETURN TO THE PLACE WHERE HE WAS ON LEAVE TO RESUME HIS VACATION. IS ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT OF THE AUTHORIZED EXPENSES OF THE TRAVEL INVOLVED. IF HIS LEAVE STATUS IS TERMINATED AT THE COMPLETION OF THE TEMPORARY DUTY AND HE IS REQUIRED TO RETURN TO HIS REGULAR DUTY STATION. IS ENTITLED TO PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE FOR THE PERIOD OF TEMPORARY DUTY BUT NOT TO TRANSPORTATION FROM PLACE OF TEMPORARY DUTY TO OFFICIAL STATION. WAS DIRECTED BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS IN THE AGGREGATE OF $42.30 WERE USED FOR THE TRAVEL FROM MAINE TO HYDE PARK AND RETURN.

A-80748, NOVEMBER 10, 1936, 16 COMP. GEN. 481

TRAVELING EXPENSES - LEAVES OF ABSENCE - PERFORMANCE OF TEMPORARY DUTY ANNUAL LEAVE, EXCEPT AS TO TIME OF TAKING, BEING AN ABSOLUTE RIGHT UNDER THE ACT OF MARCH 14, 1936, 49 STAT. 1161, AN EMPLOYEE DIRECTED, WHILE ON LEAVE, TO PERFORM TEMPORARY DUTY AT A PLACE OTHER THAN HIS REGULAR DUTY STATION AND PERMITTED TO RETURN TO THE PLACE WHERE HE WAS ON LEAVE TO RESUME HIS VACATION, IS ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT OF THE AUTHORIZED EXPENSES OF THE TRAVEL INVOLVED, BUT IF HIS LEAVE STATUS IS TERMINATED AT THE COMPLETION OF THE TEMPORARY DUTY AND HE IS REQUIRED TO RETURN TO HIS REGULAR DUTY STATION, HE MAY BE ALLOWED ONLY SUCH TRAVEL EXPENSES AS REPRESENT THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN COST OF RETURN TO OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS VIA TEMPORARY PLACE OF DUTY AND COST OF DIRECT RETURN FROM PLACE WHERE ON LEAVE. AN EMPLOYEE ON LEAVE OF ABSENCE UNDER THE ACT OF MARCH 14, 1936, 49 STAT. 1161, WHO, WHILE ON LEAVE, PERFORMS TEMPORARY DUTY EN ROUTE TO HIS REGULAR DUTY STATION, IS ENTITLED TO PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE FOR THE PERIOD OF TEMPORARY DUTY BUT NOT TO TRANSPORTATION FROM PLACE OF TEMPORARY DUTY TO OFFICIAL STATION.

DECISION BY ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT, NOVEMBER 10, 1936:

W. FRANK PERSONS HAS REQUESTED RECONSIDERATION OF THE PREAUDIT ACTION TAKEN WITH RESPECT TO HIS CLAIM FOR $14.60 AS REIMBURSEMENT OF TRAVELING EXPENSES INCURRED DURING AUGUST 1936 UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES HEREINAFTER SET FORTH.

IT APPEARS THAT W. FRANK PERSONS, DIRECTOR OF EMPLOYMENT SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, WITH HEADQUARTERS AT WASHINGTON, D.C., WHILE ON LEAVE OF ABSENCE AT BOOTHBAY HARBOR, MAINE, WAS DIRECTED BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, AUGUST 18, 1936, TO ATTEND A CONFERENCE TO BE HELD AT HYDE PARK, N.Y., THE FOLLOWING DAY. MR. PERSONS LEFT BOOTHBAY HARBOR AT 5 P.M., AUGUST 18, ATTENDED THE CONFERENCE AND RETURNED TO BOOTHBAY HARBOR TO RESUME HIS LEAVE, ARRIVING THERE 7 .M., AUGUST 20, 1936. HE RETURNED TO WASHINGTON AT 7.15 P.M., AUGUST 24, AT THE TERMINATION OF HIS LEAVE, STOPPING AT NEW YORK CITY TO PERFORM CERTAIN OFFICIAL DUTIES BETWEEN 9 A.M. AND 3.30 P.M., AUGUST 24.

THE CLAIM OF $14.60 REPRESENTS BUS FARES IN MAINE, TAXI FARES IN NEW YORK, AND PER DIEM FOR 2 1/2 DAYS, INCLUDING ONE-HALF DAY PER DIEM AUGUST 24, 1936. GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS IN THE AGGREGATE OF $42.30 WERE USED FOR THE TRAVEL FROM MAINE TO HYDE PARK AND RETURN, AND FROM NEW YORK TO WASHINGTON AFTER THE PERFORMANCE OF DUTY ON AUGUST 24, 1936. THE PREAUDIT ACTION ON THE TRAVEL VOUCHER IT WAS PROPOSED TO EFFECT AN ADJUSTMENT ON THE BASIS OF WHAT IT WOULD HAVE COST THE GOVERNMENT HAD MR. PERSONS BEEN AT HIS OFFICIAL STATION WHEN HE WAS REQUESTED TO ATTEND THE CONFERENCE, THAT IS, RAILROAD AND PULLMAN ACCOMMODATIONS FROM WASHINGTON TO HYDE PARK AND RETURN, TAXI FARES IN NEW YORK, PER DIEM FOR 1 DAY AND PER DIEM FOR ONE-HALF DAY FOR THE DUTY PERFORMED IN NEW YORK AUGUST 24. THE PREAUDIT ACTION WAS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE RULE REFERRED TO AND APPLIED IN DECISION OF AUGUST 4, 1930, 10 COMP. GEN. 57.

PRIOR TO JANUARY 1, 1936, LEAVE OF ABSENCE WAS GRANTED TO SUCH OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE GOVERNMENT AS A PRIVILEGE AND NOT AS A RIGHT. BY THE ACT OF MARCH 14, 1936, 49 STAT. 1161, EFFECTIVE JANUARY 1, 1936, LEAVE OF ABSENCE IS GRANTED AS A RIGHT, SAID ACT PROVIDING, WITH CERTAIN EXCEPTIONS NOT HERE MATERIAL, THAT ALL CIVILIAN OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE UNITED STATES "SHALL BE ENTITLED TO 26 DAYS ANNUAL LEAVE WITH PAY EACH CALENDAR YEAR, EXCLUSIVE OF SUNDAYS AND HOLIDAYS.' SAID ACT PROVIDES THAT THE LEAVE SO AUTHORIZED "SHALL BE GRANTED AT SUCH TIMES AS THE HEADS OF THE VARIOUS DEPARTMENTS AND INDEPENDENT ESTABLISHMENTS MAY PRESCRIBE.' CONSEQUENTLY, SUBJECT TO THE RIGHT OF THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT OR ESTABLISHMENT CONCERNED TO FIX THE TIME AT WHICH THE LEAVE MAY BE TAKEN, THE TAKING OF THE LEAVE IS AN ABSOLUTE RIGHT OF THE EMPLOYEE; AND THERE IS NO REQUIREMENT OR RESTRICTION IN THE LAW OR IN THE REGULATIONS PRESCRIBED BY THE PRESIDENT PURSUANT TO THE LAW AS TO THE PLACE AT WHICH THE EMPLOYEE MAY ELECT TO SPEND HIS VACATION. AND WHILE THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT OR ESTABLISHMENT CONCERNED MAY AT ANY TIME, WHEN THE NEEDS OF THE SERVICE REQUIRE, TERMINATE THE LEAVE AND REQUIRE THE EMPLOYEE TO RETURN TO HIS REGULAR DUTY STATION AT HIS OWN EXPENSE, IF INSTEAD OF HAVING HIS LEAVE SO TERMINATED THE EMPLOYEE IS DIRECTED, WHILE ON LEAVE, TO PERFORM TEMPORARY DUTY AT A PLACE OTHER THAN HIS REGULAR DUTY STATION AND PERMITTED TO RETURN TO THE PLACE WHERE HE WAS ON LEAVE TO RESUME HIS VACATION, HE IS ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT OF THE AUTHORIZED EXPENSES OF THE TRAVEL INVOLVED BECAUSE SUCH TRAVEL IS MADE NECESSARY BY OFFICIAL BUSINESS RATHER THAN BY LEAVE OF ABSENCE. THE FACT THAT THE PLACE WHERE THE EMPLOYEE WAS ON LEAVE IS FARTHER FROM THE PLACE WHERE THE TEMPORARY DUTY IS REQUIRED THAN IS THE EMPLOYEE'S REGULAR DUTY STATION DOES NOT CHANGE THE STATUS OF THE TRAVEL, BECAUSE THE EMPLOYEE WAS ON LEAVE AND AT THE PLACE WHERE HE WAS AS A MATTER OF LEGAL RIGHT. OF COURSE, IF THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD TERMINATE THE EMPLOYEE'S LEAVE UPON COMPLETION OF THE TEMPORARY DUTY AND REQUIRE HIM TO RETURN TO HIS REGULAR DUTY STATION--- AS IT WOULD HAVE THE RIGHT TO DO--- THERE COULD BE ALLOWED, IN REIMBURSEMENT OF TRAVEL EXPENSES, ONLY THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WHAT IT COST HIM TO RETURN TO HIS OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS VIA SUCH TEMPORARY PLACE OF DUTY AND WHAT IT WOULD HAVE COST HIM TO RETURN TO HIS HEADQUARTERS DIRECT FROM THE PLACE WHERE HE WAS ON LEAVE. THIS ON THE PRINCIPLE THAT WHEN AN EMPLOYEE ABSENTS HIMSELF FROM HIS HEADQUARTERS ON LEAVE OF ABSENCE HE ASSUMES THE OBLIGATION OF RETURNING HIMSELF THERETO AT HIS OWN EXPENSE.

PREVIOUS DECISIONS OF THIS OFFICE IN CONFLICT WITH THE PRINCIPLES ABOVE STATED WILL NOT BE FOR FOLLOWING HEREAFTER.

IN THE INSTANT MATTER MR. PERSONS WAS ON DULY AUTHORIZED LEAVE OF ABSENCE TO WHICH HE WAS LEGALLY ENTITLED UNDER THE ACT OF MARCH 14, 1936, SUPRA, AND AFTER THE PERFORMANCE OF THE DUTY HEREIN INVOLVED HE WAS PERMITTED TO AND DID RESUME HIS LEAVE STATUS, RETURNING TO THE PLACE FROM WHICH HE HAD BEEN CALLED TO DUTY. UNDER SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES HE IS ENTITLED TO TRAVEL AND OTHER EXPENSES INCURRED INCIDENT TO ATTENDING THE CONFERENCE. ACCORDINGLY, HE WAS ENTITLED TO USE THE GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS ISSUED IN CONNECTION WITH THE TRAVEL FROM BOOTHBAY HARBOR TO HYDE PARK AND RETURN, AND TO PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE AND INCIDENTAL EXPENSES INCIDENT TO TRANSPORTATION IN THE SUM OF $14.60. HOWEVER, HE IS CHARGEABLE WITH THE COST OF THE GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS IN THE AMOUNT OF $8.05 USED BY HIM FOR THE TRAVEL FROM NEW YORK TO WASHINGTON, INASMUCH AS THE PERFORMANCE OF TEMPORARY DUTY AT NEW YORK ON AUGUST 24, 1936, DID NOT RELIEVE HIM OF THE OBLIGATION OF RETURNING TO HIS OFFICIAL STATION AFTER THE LEAVE OF ABSENCE AT HIS OWN EXPENSE. THIS AMOUNT WILL BE DEDUCTED FROM THE SUM OF $14.60 AND THE BALANCE OF $6.55 CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT IN DUE COURSE.