B-107062, JANUARY 11, 1952, 31 COMP. GEN. 278

B-107062: Jan 11, 1952

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COMPENSATION - OVERTIME - TRAVEL ON NON WORKDAYS AN EMPLOYEE MAY BE REQUIRED BY AN ADMINISTRATIVE AGENCY TO TRAVEL ON NON- WORKDAYS AND MAY NOT PROPERLY REFUSE TO UNDERTAKE SUCH TRAVEL SOLELY BECAUSE OVERTIME COMPENSATION IS NOT PAID FOR TRAVEL TIME. 1952: REFERENCE IS MADE TO THE LETTER OF THE DEPUTY ADMINISTRATOR DATED DECEMBER 14. REQUESTING DECISION WHETHER PAYMENT IS AUTHORIZED UPON THE VOUCHER THEREWITH TRANSMITTED IN FAVOR OF MAMIE R. IT APPEARS FROM THE RECORD THAT THE EMPLOYEE WAS GIVEN TRAVEL ORDERS AUTHORIZING TRAVEL FROM HER OFFICIAL STATION. THE DEDUCTION OF THE $9 PER DIEM WAS ADMINISTRATIVELY MADE UPON THE THEORY THAT SHE COULD HAVE LEFT ATLANTA A DAY LATER AND ARRIVED IN WASHINGTON ON SUNDAY.

B-107062, JANUARY 11, 1952, 31 COMP. GEN. 278

SUBSISTENCE - PER DIEMS; COMPENSATION - OVERTIME - TRAVEL ON NON WORKDAYS AN EMPLOYEE MAY BE REQUIRED BY AN ADMINISTRATIVE AGENCY TO TRAVEL ON NON- WORKDAYS AND MAY NOT PROPERLY REFUSE TO UNDERTAKE SUCH TRAVEL SOLELY BECAUSE OVERTIME COMPENSATION IS NOT PAID FOR TRAVEL TIME. AN EMPLOYEE ORDERED TO PERFORM TRAVEL WHO SELECTS AN EARLIER DEPARTURE TIME FROM HEADQUARTERS THAN NECESSARY TO REACH HIS TEMPORARY DUTY STATION, IN ORDER TO AVOID TRAVEL ON SUNDAY, A NON-WORKDAY, MAY NOT BE CONSIDERED AS HAVING EXERCISED "THE SAME CARE IN INCURRING EXPENSES THAT A PRUDENT PERSON WOULD EXERCISE IF TRAVELING ON PERSONAL BUSINESS" AS REQUIRED BY PARAGRAPH 1 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, AND THEREFORE, THE EXCESS PER DIEM RESULTING FROM SUCH EARLIER DEPARTURE MAY NOT BE PAID TO THE EMPLOYEE.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE ADMINISTRATOR OF VETERANS AFFAIRS, JANUARY 11, 1952:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO THE LETTER OF THE DEPUTY ADMINISTRATOR DATED DECEMBER 14, 1951, REQUESTING DECISION WHETHER PAYMENT IS AUTHORIZED UPON THE VOUCHER THEREWITH TRANSMITTED IN FAVOR OF MAMIE R. POWELL IN THE AMOUNT OF $9, REPRESENTING PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE ADMINISTRATIVELY DEDUCTED FROM A PRIOR TRAVEL VOUCHER COVERING THE PERIOD SEPTEMBER 28 TO OCTOBER 11, 1951, AND AS A COROLLARY WHETHER AN EMPLOYEE MAY BE REQUIRED TO TRAVEL ON NON-WORKDAYS FOR WHICH HE RECEIVES NO COMPENSATION.

IT APPEARS FROM THE RECORD THAT THE EMPLOYEE WAS GIVEN TRAVEL ORDERS AUTHORIZING TRAVEL FROM HER OFFICIAL STATION, ATLANTA, GEORGIA TO WASHINGTON, D.C., FOR TEMPORARY DUTY TO BEGIN APPROXIMATELY SEPTEMBER 28, 1951. SHE LEFT ATLANTA BY PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE 5:30 A.M., FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 28, AND ARRIVED IN WASHINGTON, D.C., AT 2:35 P.M., SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 1951. THE DEDUCTION OF THE $9 PER DIEM WAS ADMINISTRATIVELY MADE UPON THE THEORY THAT SHE COULD HAVE LEFT ATLANTA A DAY LATER AND ARRIVED IN WASHINGTON ON SUNDAY. THE CLAIMANT CONTENDS THAT SHE SHOULD NOT BE REQUIRED TO TRAVEL ON A NON-WORKDAY UNLESS OVERTIME PAY IS AUTHORIZED.

AS INDICATED IN YOUR LETTER, THE POSITION OF THIS OFFICE IS THAT AN AFFIRMATIVE DESIGNATION BY THE CONGRESS IS NECESSARY BEFORE OVERTIME COMPENSATION MAY BE ALLOWED GENERALLY FOR TRAVEL OUTSIDE PER ANNUM EMPLOYEES' REGULAR FIXED TOURS OF DUTY, BUT IT WOULD NOT APPEAR TO FOLLOW FROM THE FACT THAT COMPENSATION IS NOT PAYABLE FOR SUCH TRAVEL TIME THAT ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICIALS ARE PRECLUDED FROM DIRECTING AN EMPLOYEE TO TRAVEL OUTSIDE HIS REGULAR WORKING HOURS. NOR CAN AN EMPLOYEE, SOLELY BECAUSE OF THE NONPAYMENT OF COMPENSATION FOR TRAVEL TIME, RIGHTLY REFUSE TO UNDERTAKE THE TRAVEL SO ORDERED. OF COURSE, ADMINISTRATIVE POLICY IN THAT REGARD SHOULD BE SO DESIGNED THAT IT WILL ADEQUATELY PROTECT THE INTERESTS OF THE GOVERNMENT AND AT THE SAME TIME NOT RESULT IN UNDUE HARDSHIP TO EMPLOYEES.

IN THE INSTANT CASE, THE EMPLOYEE'S TRAVEL ORDERS DID NOT SPECIFY THE DATE ON WHICH SHE WAS REQUIRED TO DEPART FROM HER OFFICIAL STATION. ACCORDINGLY, AND SINCE IT IS THE VIEW OF THIS OFFICE THAT THE EMPLOYEE BY DEPARTING FROM HER HEADQUARTERS ON FRIDAY MORNING RATHER THAN ON SATURDAY MORNING DID NOT EXERCISE "THE SAME CARE IN INCURRING EXPENSES THAT A PRUDENT PERSON WOULD EXERCISE IF TRAVELING ON PERSONAL BUSINESS," IT IS CONCLUDED THAT THE ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION IN DEDUCTING THE EXCESS COST WAS PROPER. SEE PARAGRAPH 1, STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS. THE RECLAIM VOUCHER SUBMITTED WITH YOUR LETTER MAY NOT BE PROCESSED FOR PAYMENT.