B-128103, JUL. 18, 1956

B-128103: Jul 18, 1956

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REQUESTS OUR DECISION UPON SEVERAL QUESTIONS THAT HAVE ARISEN IN CONNECTION WITH A VOUCHER WHICH HAS BEEN PRESENTED TO YOU FOR CERTIFICATION. THE VOUCHER IS FOR REIMBURSEMENT TO AN EMPLOYEE FOR EXPENSES OF TRAVEL BETWEEN A POST OF DUTY IN ALASKA AND AN OPTIONAL POINT OF LEAVE IN LIEU OF THE PLACE OF ACTUAL RESIDENCE IN THE UNITED STATES. - AND WAS ALLOWED FREE TRAVEL TIME PURSUANT TO SECTION 203 (E) OF THE ANNUAL AND SICK LEAVE ACT OF 1951. SHE DEPARTED ON ANNUAL LEAVE AGAIN DESPITE THE SUGGESTION THAT SHE POSTPONE THAT LEAVE UNTIL OCTOBER 1955 TO ACCRUE TWENTY-FOUR MONTHS OF SERVICE SINCE THERE WAS DOUBT WHETHER SHE WAS ELIGIBLE FOR PAYMENT BY THE GOVERNMENT OF TRAVEL EXPENSES AS PROVIDED IN SECTION 7 OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES ACT OF 1946.

B-128103, JUL. 18, 1956

TO MRS. VERA D. HUNTSMAN, AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER, BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS:

YOUR LETTER DATED MAY 31, 1956, REQUESTS OUR DECISION UPON SEVERAL QUESTIONS THAT HAVE ARISEN IN CONNECTION WITH A VOUCHER WHICH HAS BEEN PRESENTED TO YOU FOR CERTIFICATION. THE VOUCHER IS FOR REIMBURSEMENT TO AN EMPLOYEE FOR EXPENSES OF TRAVEL BETWEEN A POST OF DUTY IN ALASKA AND AN OPTIONAL POINT OF LEAVE IN LIEU OF THE PLACE OF ACTUAL RESIDENCE IN THE UNITED STATES. THE QUESTIONS INVOLVE THE ADMINISTRATION OF SECTION 7 OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES ACT OF 1946, AS AMENDED, 5 U.S.C. 73B-3, AUTHORIZING FOR OVERSEAS EMPLOYEES TRAVEL FOR HOME LEAVE AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE, AND THE ADMINISTRATION OF SECTION 203 (E) OF THE ANNUAL AND SICK LEAVE ACT OF 1951, AS AMENDED, 5 U.S.C. 2062 (E) AUTHORIZING FOR OVERSEAS EMPLOYEES TRAVEL BETWEEN THEIR STATION AND THE UNITED STATES WITHOUT CHARGE TO ANNUAL LEAVE FOR TRAVEL TIME.

ON AUGUST 17, 1952, AFTER THE EXECUTION OF A TWELVE-MONTH EMPLOYMENT AGREEMENT, MISS LAURAINE C. GERHARD, A TRANSFER EMPLOYEE FROM THE INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE, MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN, ENTERED ON DUTY IN THE TERRITORIAL OFFICE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR LOCATED AT JUNEAU, ALASKA. IN OCTOBER 1953, SHE TOOK ANNUAL LEAVE IN THE UNITED STATES--- PRESUMABLY AT HER OWN EXPENSE--- AND WAS ALLOWED FREE TRAVEL TIME PURSUANT TO SECTION 203 (E) OF THE ANNUAL AND SICK LEAVE ACT OF 1951. IN JULY 1955, SHE DEPARTED ON ANNUAL LEAVE AGAIN DESPITE THE SUGGESTION THAT SHE POSTPONE THAT LEAVE UNTIL OCTOBER 1955 TO ACCRUE TWENTY-FOUR MONTHS OF SERVICE SINCE THERE WAS DOUBT WHETHER SHE WAS ELIGIBLE FOR PAYMENT BY THE GOVERNMENT OF TRAVEL EXPENSES AS PROVIDED IN SECTION 7 OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES ACT OF 1946, AS AMENDED, INASMUCH AS SHE WAS SERVING WITHOUT A WRITTEN AGREEMENT AND THE ESTABLISHED PERIOD OF SERVICE FOR DEPARTMENT OF LABOR EMPLOYEES WAS TWENTY-FOUR MONTHS. ALSO, AT THAT TIME, SHE IS REPORTED TO HAVE CONSENTED TO SIGN AN AGREEMENT TO SERVE ANOTHER TOUR OF DUTY IN ALASKA. AFTER SHE RETURNED TO DUTY, MISS GERHARD CONTINUED IN HER POSITION UNTIL IT WAS ABOLISHED AS OF DECEMBER 31, 1955, AT WHICH TIME SHE TRANSFERRED TO THE ALASKA ROAD COMMISSION.

IN NOVEMBER 1955, MISS GERHARD REQUESTED REIMBURSEMENT OF HER TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES AND ALLOWANCE OF FREE TRAVEL TIME. THE TRAVEL EXPENSES CONSIST OF AIRPLANE FARE TO AND FROM SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, $191.40, TAXI CAB FARES, $4.00; AND PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE, $9.75 --- TOTALING $205.15.

SECTION 7 OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES ACT OF 1946, AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF AUGUST 31, 1954, 5 U.S.C. 73B-3, AND BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-4, DATED MAY 2, 1955, PROVIDED TWO CONDITIONS PRECEDENT TO ALLOWANCE OF TRAVEL EXPENSES FOR HOME LEAVE TRANSPORTATION OF OVERSEAS EMPLOYEES TO THE UNITED STATES, NAMELY:

(1) THE EMPLOYEE SHALL HAVE SATISFACTORILY COMPLETED AN AGREED PERIOD OF SERVICE OVERSEAS, OR, IF SERVING WITHOUT A WRITTEN AGREEMENT AS TO LENGTH OF SERVICE, MUST HAVE SATISFACTORILY SERVED FOR A PERIOD NOT LESS THAN THE PERIOD OF SERVICE GENERALLY APPLICABLE TO THE EMPLOYEES OF THE DEPARTMENT CONCERNED SERVING AT SUCH POST OF DUTY, AND

(2) THE EMPLOYEE SHALL HAVE ENTERED INTO A NEW WRITTEN AGREEMENT BEFORE DEPARTING FROM THE OVERSEAS POST OF DUTY.

IN CONNECTION WITH THE EXPENSES CLAIMED ON THE VOUCHER, YOU PRESENT TWO QUESTIONS, THE FIRST OF WHICH IS:

"1. WAS MISS GERHARD ELIGIBLE IN TERMS OF HAVING "SATISFACTORILY COMPLETED AN AGREED PERIOD OF SERVICE" AT THE TIME OF OR PRIOR TO HER DEPARTURE ON LEAVE, JULY 8, 1955?

THE EMPLOYEE HAD SERVED IN HER POSITION IN ALASKA FROM AUGUST 1952 TO JULY 1955 AT THE TIME OF THE LEAVE TRIP FOR WHICH PAYMENT IS NOW CLAIMED. HER RETURN HOME IN OCTOBER 1953 AT HER OWN EXPENSE UPON COMPLETION OF THE ORIGINAL 12-MONTH AGREEMENT DID NOT OPERATE TO EXCLUDE THE PERIOD AUGUST 1952 TO OCTOBER 1953 FROM CREDITABLE SERVICE FOR THE PURPOSE OF COMPLYING WITH THE PERIOD OF SERVICE REQUIREMENT OF THE LAW AND REGULATIONS. HOLD THAT MISS GERHARD WAS ELIGIBLE IN JULY 1955 TO RETURN TO THE UNITED STATES FOR LEAVE AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE. THE QUESTION IS ANSWERED IN THE AFFIRMATIVE.

THE SECOND QUESTION YOU PRESENT IS:

"2. MAY THE STATEMENT BY HER SUPERIOR, MR. EVANS, WHICH HAS SINCE BEEN AFFIRMED BY HER, THAT MISS GERHARD WOULD SIGN A NEW AGREEMENT, BE ADMINISTRATIVELY ACCEPTED IN LIEU OF AN ACTUAL AGREEMENT AND THUS MEET THE SECOND CONDITION OF ELIGIBILITY?

THE AMENDATORY ACT OF AUGUST 31, 1954, AND THE REGULATIONS ISSUED PURSUANT TO THAT ACT SPECIFICALLY REQUIRE THAT THERE BE A NEW WRITTEN AGREEMENT. THE QUESTION IS ANSWERED IN THE NEGATIVE.

IN CONNECTION WITH SECTION 203 (E) OF THE ANNUAL AND SICK LEAVE ACT OF 1951, AS AMENDED, 5 U.S.C. 2062 (E), YOU PRESENT THE FURTHER QUESTION, VIZ:

"3. IF QUESTIONS 1 AND 2 ARE ANSWERED AFFIRMATIVELY, THEN THE VOUCHER WILL BE PAYABLE, IN WHICH CASE, MAY APPROPRIATE ADJUSTMENTS BE MADE TO MISS GERHARD'S TIME AND LEAVE RECORDS IN ORDER TO CREDIT HER ANNUAL LEAVE ACCOUNT WITH THAT PART OF THE TRAVEL TIME IN CONNECTION WITH THIS PERIOD OF LEAVE WHICH HAD PREVIOUSLY BEEN CHARGED TO ANNUAL LEAVE?

SINCE QUESTION 2 IS ANSWERED IN THE NEGATIVE, NO ANSWER NORMALLY WOULD BE REQUIRED TO QUESTION 3. NEVERTHELESS, SOME COMMENT THEREON DOES NOT SEEM INAPPROPRIATE HERE. SECTION 203 (E) SPECIFICALLY PROVIDES THAT AN OVERSEAS EMPLOYEE ON LEAVE IN THE UNITED STATES IS ENTITLED TO ONLY ONE PERIOD OF FREE TRAVEL TIME IN ANY TWENTY-FOUR MONTH PERIOD. INASMUCH AS THE EMPLOYEE RECEIVED HER LAST FREE TRAVEL TIME IN OCTOBER 1953, SHE WAS NOT ELIGIBLE AGAIN UNTIL OCTOBER 1955, OR UNTIL SOME TIME SUBSEQUENT THERETO. ACCORDINGLY, NO ADJUSTMENT SHOULD BE MADE IN MISS GERHARD'S LEAVE RECORD.

THE VOUCHER, WHICH IS RETURNED HEREWITH, MAY NOT, FOR THE REASONS HEREINABOVE STATED, BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.