A-89856, NOVEMBER 12, 1937, 17 COMP. GEN. 394

A-89856: Nov 12, 1937

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THAT SALARY LOSSES INCURRED BY EMPLOYEES DUE TO APPRECIATION OF FOREIGN CURRENCIES ARE FOR COMPUTATION ON THE BASIS OF A FULL DAY'S COMPENSATION WHEN DURING MORE THAN 12 HOURS OF THE TIME BETWEEN MIDNIGHT AND MIDNIGHT. THE EMPLOYEE IS IN THE STATUS OF SERVICE IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY BY REASON OF BEING EN ROUTE TO OR FROM A FOREIGN DUTY STATION. IS NOT FOR APPLICATION TO SITUATIONS OTHER THAN THOSE INVOLVING SALARY LOSSES AT THE BEGINNING OR ENDING OF A FOREIGN DUTY STATUS. - IS FOR APPLICATION WHEN A CHANGE IN THE RATE OF PER DIEM TAKES PLACE DURING A DAY WHILE IN A CONTINUOUS TRAVEL STATUS. THAT IS. WHEN MORE THAN ONE RATE OF PER DIEM IS AUTHORIZED FOR THE PERIOD AN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE IS IN A TRAVEL STATUS.

A-89856, NOVEMBER 12, 1937, 17 COMP. GEN. 394

EXCHANGE - LOSS BY - OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES IN FOREIGN COUNTRIES - FRACTIONAL DAYS THE RULE STATED IN 14 COMP. GEN. 575, THAT SALARY LOSSES INCURRED BY EMPLOYEES DUE TO APPRECIATION OF FOREIGN CURRENCIES ARE FOR COMPUTATION ON THE BASIS OF A FULL DAY'S COMPENSATION WHEN DURING MORE THAN 12 HOURS OF THE TIME BETWEEN MIDNIGHT AND MIDNIGHT, THE EMPLOYEE IS IN THE STATUS OF SERVICE IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY BY REASON OF BEING EN ROUTE TO OR FROM A FOREIGN DUTY STATION, IS NOT FOR APPLICATION TO SITUATIONS OTHER THAN THOSE INVOLVING SALARY LOSSES AT THE BEGINNING OR ENDING OF A FOREIGN DUTY STATUS. THE RULE STATED IN 12 COMP. GEN. 429, RELATIVE TO THE BASING OF PER DIEMS IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE ON THE ACTUAL PORTIONS OF DAYS INVOLVED--- INSTEAD OF THE USUAL BASIS OF SIX-HOUR PERIODS--- IS FOR APPLICATION WHEN A CHANGE IN THE RATE OF PER DIEM TAKES PLACE DURING A DAY WHILE IN A CONTINUOUS TRAVEL STATUS, THAT IS, WHEN MORE THAN ONE RATE OF PER DIEM IS AUTHORIZED FOR THE PERIOD AN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE IS IN A TRAVEL STATUS, AND IS NOT APPLICABLE TO THE COMPUTATION OF EXCHANGE LOSSES DUE TO THE APPRECIATION OF FOREIGN CURRENCIES.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE, NOVEMBER 12, 1937:

YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 1, 1937, IS AS FOLLOWS:

IT IS NOTED IN SEVERAL INSTANCES WHERE PAYMENTS HAVE BEEN MADE TO OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE FOREIGN SERVICE FOR LOSSES DUE TO THE APPRECIATION OF FOREIGN CURRENCIES WHICH WERE SUSTAINED WHILE ON LEAVE OF ABSENCE OR ON DUTY REQUIRING TRAVEL IN SEVERAL FOREIGN COUNTRIES DURING AN ACCOUNTING PERIOD, THAT THE ACCOUNTS HAVE BEEN SETTLED ON THE BASIS OF THE LOSSES BEING PROPERLY FOR COMPUTATION ON TWELVE-HOUR PERIODS WHEN GOING FROM ONE COUNTRY TO ANOTHER, CITING 14 COMP. GEN. 575 AS AUTHORITY, INSTEAD OF ON AN HOURLY BASIS AS USED BY THE DISBURSING OFFICERS. INSTANCES OF THE SUSPENSIONS REFERRED TO WILL BE FOUND IN THE NOTICES OF EXCEPTION DATED AUGUST 16, 1937, MADE ON VOUCHERS NOS. 13506 AND 13582 IN THE ACCOUNTS OF C. M. P. CROSS, DISTRICT ACCOUNTING AND DISBURSING OFFICER AT PARIS, FRANCE, FOR THE MONTH OF JANUARY, 1936.

IT APPEARS THAT THE RULING IN 14 COMP. GEN. 575, TO THE EFFECT THAT THE CHANGE IN THE EFFECTIVE RATE FOR THE COMPUTATION OF CURRENCY APPRECIATION LOSSES IS ON A TWELVE-HOUR OR MAJOR PORTION OF THE DAY BASIS DOES NOT FOLLOW THE SAME LINE OF THOUGHT AS THE RULING IN 12 COMP. GEN. 429 REGARDING THE COMPUTATION OF PER DIEM WHEREIN IT WAS HELD THAT BASING PER DIEMS FOR FRACTIONAL PARTS OF A DAY UPON SIX-HOUR PERIODS IS APPLICABLE TO FRACTIONAL PARTS OF A DAY AT THE BEGINNING AND ENDING OF A TRAVEL STATUS, AND IS NOT FOR APPLICATION WHEN A CHANGE IN THE RATE OF PER DIEM TAKES PLACE DURING A DAY WHILE IN A CONTINUOUS TRAVEL STATUS.

AS THE RULING IN 14 COMP. GEN. 575 FIRST REFERRED TO EXPRESSLY RELATES TO DEPARTURE FROM AND RETURN TO THE UNITED STATES THE DISBURSING OFFICERS FOLLOWED THE LINE OF REASONING SET FORTH IN 12 COMP. GEN. 429 AND IT MIGHT BE ADDED EXCHANGE RELIEF PAYMENTS COMPUTED IN THIS MANNER HAVE PREVIOUSLY BEEN APPROVED WITHOUT OBJECTION. THE RECEIPT NOW, OF NOTICES OF EXCEPTION COVERING PAYMENTS MADE ON THIS BASIS, WILL, IF THE NEW PROCEDURE BE INSISTED UPON, REQUIRE RE COMPUTATION OF NUMEROUS PAYMENTS AND COLLECTION OF TRIVIAL AMOUNTS FROM THE INDIVIDUALS CONCERNED, WHICH THE BURDENSOME WORK INVOLVED WOULD INDICATE NOT TO BE IN THE BEST INTEREST OF THE UNITED STATES.

I SHALL MUCH APPRECIATE IT, THEREFORE, IF THIS MATTER MIGHT BE REVIEWED,AND IF THE DIFFERENT PROCEDURE INDICATED BE REQUIRED, THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF SUCH CHANGE BE SUFFICIENTLY ADVANCED TO PERMIT PROMULGATION OF APPROPRIATE INSTRUCTIONS TO THOSE AFFECTED IN THE FOREIGN SERVICE, AND ALSO, BECAUSE OF THE SLIGHT DIFFERENCE RESULTING BETWEEN THE TWO METHODS OF CALCULATION, PAYMENTS MADE UNDER THE FORMERLY APPROVED METHOD, IF OTHERWISE CORRECT, BE PERMITTED TO PASS WITHOUT OBJECTION.

THE RULE ANNOUNCED IN 12 COMP. GEN 429 IS FOR APPLICATION WHEN A CHANGE IN THE RATE OF PER DIEM TAKES PLACE DURING A DAY IN A CONTINUOUS TRAVEL STATUS; THAT IS, WHEN MORE THAN ONE RATE OF PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE IS AUTHORIZED FOR THE PERIOD AN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE OF THE GOVERNMENT IS IN A TRAVEL STATUS THE RESPECTIVE PER DIEMS ARE FOR COMPUTATION UPON THE ACTUAL PORTIONS OF THE DAY INVOLVED IN EACH RATE STATUS; IT IS NOT FOR APPLICATION IN THE COMPUTATION OF EXCHANGE RELIEF.

IT IS WELL SETTLED THAT THE PROPER BASIS FOR COMPUTATION OF FOREIGN CURRENCY APPRECIATION LOSSES ON PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE WHERE AN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE REMAINS ON TEMPORARY DUTY FOR A SUBSTANTIAL PERIOD OF TIME IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY OTHER THAN THAT IN WHICH HE IS STATIONED IS THE RATE APPLICABLE AT THE TEMPORARY STATION ON THE LAST DAY OF TRAVEL WITHIN THAT COUNTRY OR THE LAST DAY OF EACH MONTH WITHIN THE TRAVEL PERIOD. SEE 15 COMP. GEN. 1123 AND DECISIONS CITED THEREIN; ALSO 16 COMP. GEN. 156.

THE PROPER BASIS FOR COMPUTATION OF EXCHANGE LOSSES ON SALARY AND ALLOWANCES ACCRUING AT REGULAR STATED INTERVALS TO OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES STATIONED IN FOREIGN COUNTRIES IS THE RATE IN EFFECT ON THE DATE THE SALARY OR ALLOWANCES ACCRUE. SEE A-65304, OCTOBER 27, 1936; 15 COMP. GEN. 212; ID. 914; 16 ID. 664. WHERE OFFICERS OR EMPLOYEES ARE ABSENT ON OFFICIAL DUTY FOR A SUBSTANTIAL PERIOD OF TIME IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY OTHER THAN THAT IN WHICH STATIONED, EXCHANGE LOSSES ON SALARIES ARE FOR COMPUTATION AT THE RATE APPLICABLE AT THE PLACE AT WHICH LOCATED ON THE LAST DAY OF THE RESPECTIVE MONTHS INVOLVED. 15 COMP. GEN. 1123; 16 ID. 637. IN CASES OF EMPLOYEES REGULARLY STATIONED AND MAINTAINING RESIDENCES IN FOREIGN COUNTRIES WHO ARE TEMPORARILY ABSENT ON OFFICIAL DUTY FROM THE REGULAR STATION ON THE DATE THEIR SALARIES OR ALLOWANCES ACCRUE THE APPLICABLE RATE IS THAT IN EFFECT AT THE PLACE WHERE THE OFFICIAL STATION IS LOCATED AND THE RESIDENCE MAINTAINED. 16 COMP. GEN. 455; A-82690, JANUARY 13, 1937.

THE RECORD DISCLOSES THAT IN THE PERFORMANCE OF TEMPORARY DUTY WALTER A. LEONARD, FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICER, LEFT HIS OFFICIAL STATION, BREMEN, GERMANY, DECEMBER 22, 1935, ARRIVED IN FRANCE THE SAME DAY, AND RETURNING LEFT FRANCE DECEMBER 27, 1935, AND ARRIVED IN GERMANY THE SAME DAY. SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES, IT APPEARING THAT THE OFFICER MAINTAINED A RESIDENCE AT HIS OFFICIAL STATION, THE CORRECT RATE FOR THE COMPUTATION OF EXCHANGE LOSSES ON HIS SALARY AND ALLOWANCES ON VOUCHER 13506, JANUARY 1936 ACCOUNT OF C. M. P. CROSS, DISTRICT ACCOUNTING AND DISBURSING OFFICER AT PARIS, FRANCE, FOR THE PERIOD DECEMBER 1-31, 1935, IS THE RATE IN EFFECT ON DECEMBER 31, 1935, FOR GERMANY, THE COUNTRY IN WHICH OFFICIALLY STATIONED. COMPUTED AT $1 EQUALS 2.49 REICHSMARKS, THE RATE IN EFFECT ON THE DATE OF ACCRUAL, THE OFFICER HAD INCURRED A LOSS OF $495.34 ON HIS SALARY AND ALLOWANCES FOR THE MONTH OF DECEMBER 1935. ACCORDINGLY, THE PAYMENT OF $504.34 ON THE VOUCHER RESULTED IN AN OVERPAYMENT OF $9, LESS $1.67 REFUNDED, OR $7.33. 16 COMP. GEN. 664. COMPUTING AT $1 EQUALS 2.49 REICHSMARKS, WILLIAM C. AFFELD AND FRANCIS A. LANE ALSO WERE OVERPAID $4.04 AND $3.38, RESPECTIVELY, ON VOUCHER 13506. THE AMOUNTS OVERPAID SHOULD BE PROMPTLY DEPOSITED.

THE LOSS DUE TO APPRECIATION OF FOREIGN CURRENCY INCURRED BY EMPLOYEES AWAY FROM THEIR REGULAR STATIONS ON LEAVE OF ABSENCE WITH PAY IS FOR COMPUTATION AT THE RATE FOR THE COUNTRY IN WHICH REGULARLY STATIONED OR AT THE RATE FOR THE COUNTRY IN WHICH THE LEAVE IS SPENT, WHICHEVER PROVIDES THE SMALLER LOSS, THE BASIS FOR SUCH RULE BEING THAT A LEAVE OF ABSENCE WITH PAY IS NOT OFFICIAL BUSINESS AND THAT AN EMPLOYEE MAY NOT, BY TRAVELING OUTSIDE THE COUNTRY TO WHICH ASSIGNED WHILE ON LEAVE OF ABSENCE, INCREASE THE AMOUNT WHICH IS CHARGEABLE AGAINST APPROPRIATED FUNDS BY REASON OF THE APPRECIATION OF FOREIGN CURRENCY. 14 COMP. GEN. 577. WHERE THE EXCHANGE RATES IN THE COUNTRIES VISITED BY AN EMPLOYEE ON LEAVE, WHOSE DUTIES DO NOT CONTEMPLATE THE MAINTENANCE OF A RESIDENCE AT THE OFFICIAL STATION OR THE ABSENCE IS FOR SUCH EXTENDED PERIODS AS TO NECESSITATE THE VACATING OF THE RENTED QUARTERS AT THE OFFICIAL STATION, ARE MORE FAVORABLE TO THE GOVERNMENT THAN AT HIS REGULAR STATION THE RATES APPLICABLE TO THE COUNTRIES VISITED ARE FOR APPLICATION AND THE EXCHANGE LOSSES ARE TO BE COMPUTED AT THE RATE IN FORCE FOR THE PARTICULAR COUNTRY ON THE LAST DAY OF TRAVEL WITHIN THAT COUNTRY; OR IF THE PERIOD EXTENDS OVER 1 MONTH, ON THE LAST DAY OF EACH MONTH WITHIN THAT PERIOD. WHERE, HOWEVER, NO SUBSTANTIAL PART OF THE LEAVE PERIOD IS SPENT IN A PARTICULAR COUNTRY (16 COMP. GEN. 156; A-88804, SEPTEMBER 15, 1937/--- THE TIME SPENT BEING ON TOUR--- THE RATES OF THE RESPECTIVE COUNTRIES VISITED MAY BE DISREGARDED AND THE EXCHANGE LOSSES BASED UPON THE RATE APPLICABLE TO THE EMPLOYEE'S OFFICIAL STATION. 15 COMP. GEN. 914; A-70002, FEBRUARY 13, 1936.

IT APPEARS FROM THE RECORD THAT FRANCIS L. SPALDING, FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICER, LEFT ZURICH, SWITZERLAND, HIS OFFICIAL STATION, OCTOBER 14, 1935, EN ROUTE TO THE UNITED STATES ON HOME LEAVE, ENTERED ITALY AT 10 A.M., OCTOBER 15, 1935, AND ARRIVED AT BOSTON, MASS., AT 8 A.M., OCTOBER 28, 1935. THE ITINERARY INDICATES THE TRAVEL IN ITALY WAS MERELY INCIDENT TO THE HOME LEAVE, AND, ON THIS PRESUMPTION, IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE RULE IN 15 COMP. GEN. 914, THE EXCHANGE LOSS SHOULD HAVE BEEN COMPUTED AT THE RATE IN EFFECT AT ZURICH, SWITZERLAND, ON OCTOBER 27, 1935, THE DATE THE FOREIGN STATUS TERMINATED, A MINOR PORTION OF THE DAY HAVING BEEN INVOLVED ON THE DATE OF ARRIVAL AT BOSTON, MASS. 14 COMP. GEN. 575. COMPUTING ON THIS BASIS THE OFFICER WAS NOT OVERPAID EXCHANGE LOSSES INCURRED DUE TO THE APPRECIATION OF FOREIGN CURRENCY FOR THE PERIOD OCTOBER 13-27, 1935; AND COMPUTING AT $1 EQUALS 3.0775 SWISS FRANCS, THE RATE IN EFFECT AT ZURICH, SWITZERLAND, ON DECEMBER 31, 1935, THE OFFICER WAS OVERPAID A TRIVIAL AMOUNT AS EXCHANGE LOSSES ON SALARY ACCRUED FOR THE PERIOD DECEMBER 7 31, 1935. ACCORDINGLY, CREDIT FOR THE AMOUNT WITHHELD ON VOUCHER 13582, JANUARY 1936 ACCOUNT OF C. M. P. CROSS, DISTRICT ACCOUNTING AND DISBURSING OFFICER AT PARIS, FRANCE, AS EXCHANGE LOSSES ON SALARY WILL BE PASSED TO CREDIT IN DUE COURSE.

IT WAS NOT INTENDED THAT THE RULE ANNOUNCED IN 14 COMP. GEN. 575 WITH RESPECT TO PRORATION OF CURRENCY APPRECIATION LOSSES UPON A 12 HOUR BASIS BE APPLIED TO SITUATIONS OTHER THAN SALARY LOSSES WHERE THERE IS A CHANGE IN THE STATUS OF SERVICE BY REASON OF BEING EN ROUTE TO OR FROM A FOREIGN- DUTY STATION; THAT IS, THE BEGINNING OR ENDING OF A FOREIGN-DUTY STATUS.

AS PREVIOUS DECISIONS OF THIS OFFICE HAVE CLARIFIED AND SETTLED THE MATTERS NOW SUBMITTED FOR CONSIDERATION, THE CIRCUMSTANCES DO NOT APPEAR TO BE SUCH AS TO JUSTIFY THE POSTPONING OF THE EFFECTIVE DATE THEREOF, NOT AUTHORIZING THE ALLOWANCE OF CREDIT IN DISBURSING OFFICERS' ACCOUNTS FOR PAYMENTS OF EXCHANGE RELIEF HERETOFORE MADE IN CONTRAVENTION OF THE SAID DECISIONS.