B-126976, MAR. 12, 1956

B-126976: Mar 12, 1956

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SOIL CONSERVATION SERVICE: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 7. YOU SAY THAT THE EMPLOYEE INVOLVED WAS GIVEN A CAREER-CONDITIONAL APPOINTMENT AS STUDENT TRAINEE (SOIL SCIENCE). THAT HE WAS GRANTED LEAVE WITHOUT PAY EFFECTIVE AT THE CLOSE OF BUSINESS ON SEPTEMBER 16. HE WAS SEPARATED FROM THE SERVICE BASED UPON A REPORT SUBMITTED BY HIS SUPERIOR THAT HE WAS NOT ABLE TO PROPERLY FULFILL THE DUTIES OF THE POSITION. AT THE TIME THE EMPLOYEE WAS GRANTED LEAVE WITHOUT PAY. THE 90-DAY PERIOD WAS COMPLETED ON OCTOBER 29. " ANY SEPARATION OF ONE OR MORE WORKDAYS IS TO BE REGARDED AS A BREAKING OF THE NINETY DAY QUALIFYING PERIOD. SINCE THE EMPLOYEE'S QUALIFYING PERIOD WAS COMPLETED BEFORE SEPARATION.

B-126976, MAR. 12, 1956

TO MR. H. L. WALL, AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, SOIL CONSERVATION SERVICE:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 7, 1956, SUBMITTING A VOUCHER IN THE AMOUNT OF $19.68, REPRESENTING A LUMP-SUM PAYMENT FOR ANNUAL LEAVE, AND REQUESTING OUR DECISION WHETHER, UPON THE FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES HEREINAFTER RELATED, THE VOUCHER MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.

YOU SAY THAT THE EMPLOYEE INVOLVED WAS GIVEN A CAREER-CONDITIONAL APPOINTMENT AS STUDENT TRAINEE (SOIL SCIENCE), GRADE GS-4, $3,415 PER ANNUM, EFFECTIVE AUGUST 1, 1955, AND THAT HE WAS GRANTED LEAVE WITHOUT PAY EFFECTIVE AT THE CLOSE OF BUSINESS ON SEPTEMBER 16, 1955, TO RETURN TO COLLEGE. ON DECEMBER 2, 1955, HE WAS SEPARATED FROM THE SERVICE BASED UPON A REPORT SUBMITTED BY HIS SUPERIOR THAT HE WAS NOT ABLE TO PROPERLY FULFILL THE DUTIES OF THE POSITION.

AT THE TIME THE EMPLOYEE WAS GRANTED LEAVE WITHOUT PAY, HE HAD NOT COMPLETED THE 90-DAY QUALIFYING PERIOD FOR ANNUAL LEAVE PURPOSES REQUIRED BY SECTION 203/I) OF THE ANNUAL AND SICK LEAVE ACT OF 1951, 65 STAT. 681. HOWEVER, THE 90-DAY PERIOD WAS COMPLETED ON OCTOBER 29, 1955.

IN CONNECTION WITH SECTION 203/I) OF THE REFERRED-TO ACT, WE HELD IN OUR DECISION OF DECEMBER 14, 1951, B-106704, 31 COMP. GEN. 215, AS FOLLOWS:

"UNDER SECTION 203/I) OF THE ANNUAL AND SICK LEAVE ACT OF 1951, PROVIDING THAT AN EMPLOYEE SHALL BE ENTITLED TO ANNUAL LEAVE "ONLY AFTER HAVING BEEN EMPLOYED CURRENTLY FOR A CONTINUOUS PERIOD OF NINETY DAYS * * * WITHOUT BREAK IN SERVICE," ANY SEPARATION OF ONE OR MORE WORKDAYS IS TO BE REGARDED AS A BREAKING OF THE NINETY DAY QUALIFYING PERIOD; HOWEVER, LEAVE OF ABSENCE WITHOUT PAY DOES NOT CONSTITUTE A BREAK IN SERVICE DURING THE QUALIFYING PERIOD OR AT ANY OTHER TIME.'

THEREFORE, SINCE UNDER THAT DECISION LEAVE WITHOUT PAY DURING THE QUALIFYING PERIOD DOES NOT CONSTITUTE A BREAK IN SERVICE, AND SINCE THE EMPLOYEE'S QUALIFYING PERIOD WAS COMPLETED BEFORE SEPARATION--- ALTHOUGH DURING THE PERIOD OF LEAVE WITHOUT PAY--- HE IS ENTITLED TO BE CREDITED WITH THE LEAVE EARNED DURING THE QUALIFYING PERIOD. SEE B 112783, DATED DECEMBER 11, 1952. PURSUANT TO THE ACT OF DECEMBER 21, 1944, AS AMENDED, 67 STAT. 137, AN EMPLOYEE SHALL, UPON HIS SEPARATION, BE PAID A LUMP SUM FOR THE ANNUAL LEAVE TO HIS CREDIT.

ACCORDINGLY, THE VOUCHER, WHICH IS RETURNED HEREWITH, MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT, IF OTHERWISE CORRECT.