A-86898, JULY 3, 1937, 17 COMP. GEN. 3

A-86898: Jul 3, 1937

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THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE IS WITHOUT AUTHORITY IN SUCH MATTERS OTHER THAN TO DETERMINE THAT REGULATIONS ADOPTED BY THE HEAD OF A DEPARTMENT OR ESTABLISHMENT DO NOT CAUSE UNLAWFUL EXPENDITURE OF PUBLIC MONEYS. IS AS FOLLOWS: CONSIDERATION IS BEING GIVEN TO THE ADOPTION OF THE FOLLOWING PROVISION AS PART OF THE "GENERAL PUBLIC REGULATIONS" ISSUED UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF THE ACT APPROVED MARCH 14. THE STANDARD IS TO BE A LIMIT OF 507 HOURS FOR A PERIOD OF THREE CALENDAR MONTHS. IT WILL BE NOTED THAT THE SUGGESTED PROVISION IS IDENTICAL IN INTENT TO THAT CONTAINED IN THE . " WHICH REPORT WAS APPROVED BY THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMITTEE. THE PRIMARY PURPOSE OF THIS REGULATION IS TO PERMIT THE STAGGERING OF HOURS OF PERSONS EMPLOYED PRINCIPALLY IN OFFICE.

A-86898, JULY 3, 1937, 17 COMP. GEN. 3

OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES - HOURS OF WORK - GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE JURISDICTION THE DUTY AND RESPONSIBILITY FOR FIXING UNIFORM HOURS OF WORK OF FEDERAL EMPLOYEES BEING VESTED EXCLUSIVELY IN THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICERS BY SECTION 2 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 14, 1936, 49 STAT. 1161, THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE IS WITHOUT AUTHORITY IN SUCH MATTERS OTHER THAN TO DETERMINE THAT REGULATIONS ADOPTED BY THE HEAD OF A DEPARTMENT OR ESTABLISHMENT DO NOT CAUSE UNLAWFUL EXPENDITURE OF PUBLIC MONEYS.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE, JULY 3, 1937:

YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 10, 1937, IS AS FOLLOWS:

CONSIDERATION IS BEING GIVEN TO THE ADOPTION OF THE FOLLOWING PROVISION AS PART OF THE "GENERAL PUBLIC REGULATIONS" ISSUED UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF THE ACT APPROVED MARCH 14, 1936 (PUBLIC, NO. 471, 74TH CONGRESS):

FOR EMPLOYEES OUTSIDE OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, A STAGGERING OF THE HOURS OF DUTY, WHERE PUBLIC INTEREST SO REQUIRES, MAY BE PROVIDED BY AN ASSIGNMENT OF DUTY ON AN AVERAGE OF 7 HOURS PER DAY OR AN AVERAGE OF 39 HOURS PER WEEK WITH ENFORCEMENT OF THIS AVERAGE SPREAD OVER A THREE-MONTHS PERIOD. IN OTHER WORDS, THE STANDARD IS TO BE A LIMIT OF 507 HOURS FOR A PERIOD OF THREE CALENDAR MONTHS. THE AVERAGING SHALL BE ACCOMPLISHED OVER THE USUAL QUARTERLY PERIODS OF JANUARY-MARCH, APRIL-JUNE, JULY-SEPTEMBER, OCTOBER-DECEMBER.

IT WILL BE NOTED THAT THE SUGGESTED PROVISION IS IDENTICAL IN INTENT TO THAT CONTAINED IN THE ,REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE ON HOURS OF DUTY AND OVERTIME," WHICH REPORT WAS APPROVED BY THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMITTEE, EXCEPT FOR THE SUBSTITUTION OF AN AVERAGE OF 7 HOURS PER DAY, 39 HOURS PER WEEK, AND 507 HOURS PER THREE-MONTHS PERIOD, FOR THE AVERAGE OF 8 HOURS PER DAY, 44 HOURS PER WEEK, AND 572 HOURS PER THREE MONTHS PERIOD AS PROVIDED FOR EMPLOYEE GROUP 3 OF THE COMMITTEE'S REPORT.

THE PRIMARY PURPOSE OF THIS REGULATION IS TO PERMIT THE STAGGERING OF HOURS OF PERSONS EMPLOYED PRINCIPALLY IN OFFICE, STATION, OR LABORATORY WHERE PUBLIC INTEREST REQUIRES SERVICE EVERY DAY IN THE YEAR. THE ACTIVITIES OF THE WEATHER BUREAU, FOR EXAMPLE, REQUIRE THE PREPARATION OF FORECASTS EACH DAY, EITHER ON A 24-HOUR PER DAY BASIS OR SOME LESSER INTERVAL, AND THIS REQUIREMENT NECESSITATES A FLEXIBILITY IN THE HOURS OF DUTY IMPOSSIBLE OF ACCOMPLISHMENT UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE EXISTING REGULATIONS.

YOUR DECISION AS TO THE PROPRIETY OF THE PROPOSED REGULATION IS REQUESTED.

SECTION 2 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 14, 1936, 49 STAT. 1161, IS AS FOLLOWS:

EACH HEAD OF A DEPARTMENT OR INDEPENDENT ESTABLISHMENT SHALL ISSUE GENERAL PUBLIC REGULATIONS, NOT INCONSISTENT WITH LAW, SETTING FORTH THE HOURS OF DUTY PER DAY AND PER WEEK FOR EACH GROUP OF EMPLOYEES. BEFORE ISSUING SUCH REGULATIONS, WHICH SHALL BE ISSUED WITHIN THREE MONTHS FROM THE DATE OF APPROVAL OF THIS ACT, THE HEADS OF DEPARTMENTS AND INDEPENDENT ESTABLISHMENTS SHALL MEET AND CONSULT AMONG THEMSELVES AND MAKE SUCH REGULATIONS AS NEARLY UNIFORM AS POSSIBLE SO THAT ALL EMPLOYEES, TEMPORARY OR PERMANENT, IN ALL DEPARTMENTS AND INDEPENDENT ESTABLISHMENTS SHALL RECEIVE LIKE TREATMENT AS NEARLY AS MAY BE PRACTICABLE: PROVIDED, THAT HEADS OF DEPARTMENTS AND INDEPENDENT ESTABLISHMENTS MAY APPOINT A SUBCOMMITTEE TO DRAFT SUCH REGULATIONS.

UNDER THIS SECTION OF THE STATUTE THE DUTY AND RESPONSIBILITY FOR FIXING UNIFORMITY IN THE HOURS OF WORK OF FEDERAL EMPLOYEES IS VESTED EXCLUSIVELY IN THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICERS. AS STATED IN THE REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE, THIS SECTION OF THE STATUTE WOULD NOT APPEAR TO CHANGE EXISTING LAW BUT RATHER, EXPRESSES THE DESIRE OF CONGRESS THAT SO FAR AS POSSIBLE UNDER EXISTING LAW THERE BE UNIFORMITY IN THE HOURS OF DUTY OF EACH GROUP OF EMPLOYEES. ACCORDINGLY, THIS OFFICE IS WITHOUT AUTHORITY TO REVIEW THE ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION TAKEN PURSUANT TO EXISTING STATUTES WITH RESPECT TO FIXING SCHEDULES OF WORK HOURS, ETC., OTHER THAN TO DETERMINE IN THE AUDIT OF ACCOUNTS THAT THE REGULATIONS ADOPTED BY THE HEAD OF A DEPARTMENT OR ESTABLISHMENT DO NOT CAUSE AN UNLAWFUL EXPENDITURE OF PUBLIC MONEYS.