B-128494, AUGUST 30, 1956, 36 COMP. GEN. 183

B-128494: Aug 30, 1956

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LEAVES OF ABSENCE - SICK - COMMUNICABLE DISEASES OF FAMILY MEMBERS AN EMPLOYEE MAY BE GRANTED SICK LEAVE TO CARE FOR A MEMBER OF HIS IMMEDIATE FAMILY WHO IS ILL AT HOME WITH A DISEASE REQUIRING ISOLATION. - TO AN EMPLOYEE WHO WAS REQUIRED TO REMAIN HOME AND CARE FOR HER SON WHO WAS ILL WITH "CHICKENPOX.'. THE OTHER INSTANCES OF GRANTS OF SICK LEAVE UNDER SIMILAR CIRCUMSTANCES ARE ALSO QUESTIONED IN THE INQUIRY. THE SICK LEAVE WAS GRANTED UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 30.401 OF THE ANNUAL AND SICK LEAVE REGULATIONS. AS FOLLOWS: SICK LEAVE SHALL BE GRANTED * * * WHEN A MEMBER OF THE IMMEDIATE FAMILY OF THE EMPLOYEE IS AFFLICTED WITH A CONTAGIOUS DISEASE AND REQUIRES THE CARE AND ATTENTION OF THE EMPLOYEE.

B-128494, AUGUST 30, 1956, 36 COMP. GEN. 183

LEAVES OF ABSENCE - SICK - COMMUNICABLE DISEASES OF FAMILY MEMBERS AN EMPLOYEE MAY BE GRANTED SICK LEAVE TO CARE FOR A MEMBER OF HIS IMMEDIATE FAMILY WHO IS ILL AT HOME WITH A DISEASE REQUIRING ISOLATION, QUARANTINE, OR RESTRICTION OF MOVEMENT FOR THE PERIOD REQUIRED BY LOCAL HEALTH AUTHORITY REGULATIONS, OR, IN THE ABSENCE THEREOF, IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PERIOD SPECIFIED IN A PHYSICIAN'S CERTIFICATE.

TO THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE, AUGUST 30, 1956:

BY LETTER DATED JUNE 27, 1956, THE ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT SECRETARY SUBMITTED OUR INFORMAL INQUIRY NO. 6Q0-180, DATED NOVEMBER 22, 1955, QUESTIONING THE GRANTING OF SICK LEAVE FOR THE PERIOD MAY 13 TO 20, 1955-- - 46 HOURS--- TO AN EMPLOYEE WHO WAS REQUIRED TO REMAIN HOME AND CARE FOR HER SON WHO WAS ILL WITH "CHICKENPOX.' THE OTHER INSTANCES OF GRANTS OF SICK LEAVE UNDER SIMILAR CIRCUMSTANCES ARE ALSO QUESTIONED IN THE INQUIRY.

THE SICK LEAVE WAS GRANTED UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 30.401 OF THE ANNUAL AND SICK LEAVE REGULATIONS, FEDERAL PERSONNEL MANUAL, WHICH READ, IN PERTINENT PART, AS FOLLOWS:

SICK LEAVE SHALL BE GRANTED * * * WHEN A MEMBER OF THE IMMEDIATE FAMILY OF THE EMPLOYEE IS AFFLICTED WITH A CONTAGIOUS DISEASE AND REQUIRES THE CARE AND ATTENTION OF THE EMPLOYEE, OR WHERE, THROUGH EXPOSURE TO CONTAGIOUS DISEASE, THE PRESENCE OF THE EMPLOYEE AT HIS POST OF DUTY WOULD JEOPARDIZE THE HEALTH OF OTHERS.

THE INQUIRY QUESTIONS THE GRANTING OF SICK LEAVE UNDER SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES UNLESS THE MEMBER OF THE IMMEDIATE FAMILY HAS A DISEASE FALLING WITHIN THE DEFINITION OF "CONTAGIOUS DISEASE," CONTAINED IN SECTION 30.101 (F) OF THE SAME REGULATIONS, WHICH READS:

"CONTAGIOUS DISEASE" MEANS A DISEASE RULED AS SUBJECT TO QUARANTINE OR REQUIRING ISOLATION OF THE PATIENT BY THE HEALTH AUTHORITIES HAVING JURISDICTION.

ALSO, ATTENTION IS CALLED TO OUR DECISION OF MAY 4, 1944, 23 COMP. GEN. 841, WHICH HELD AS FOLLOWS, QUOTING FROM THE SYLLABUS:

THE WORD "CONTAGIOUS" AS USED IN SECTION 3.3 OF THE SICK LEAVE REGULATIONS, RESPECTING THE GRANTING OF ACCRUED SICK LEAVE TO AN EMPLOYEE WHEN A MEMBER OF HIS IMMEDIATE FAMILY IS AFFLICTED WITH A CONTAGIOUS DISEASE AND REQUIRES HIS CARE AND ATTENDANCE, INCLUDES ONLY DISEASES RULED AS SUBJECT TO QUARANTINE--- THAT IS, REQUIRING THE SEGREGATION OF THE PATIENT--- BY THE HEALTH AUTHORITIES HAVING JURISDICTION IN THE PLACE OF EMPLOYMENT.

YOU POINT OUT THAT THE HEALTH REGULATIONS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AND SURROUNDING AREAS PROVIDE FOR THE "RESTRICTION OF MOVEMENT," "ISOLATION," AND "QUARANTINE" IN CONNECTION WITH CERTAIN CONTAGIOUS OR COMMUNICABLE DISEASES AND STATE THAT OUR INQUIRY DOES NOT APPEAR TO RECOGNIZE THE FULL EXTENT OF THE DEFINITION OF CONTAGIOUS DISEASE AS SET OUT IN SECTION 30.101 (F) ABOVE. AS A CONSEQUENCE YOU ASK THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS:

IT IS ASSUMED THEREFORE, UNDER THE CURRENT DEFINITION OF A CONTAGIOUS DISEASE, THAT THE EMPLOYEE MAY BE GRANTED SICK LEAVE DURING A PERIOD WHEN IT WAS NECESSARY FOR HER TO ATTEND HER CHILD WHO WAS ILL WITH A CONTAGIOUS DISEASE THAT UNDER HEALTH REGULATIONS REQUIRED ISOLATION OF THE PATIENT. IS THIS ASSUMPTION CORRECT? IF SO, WHAT IS TO DETERMINE THE AMOUNT OF SICK LEAVE WHICH MAY BE GRANTED? WILL A DOCTOR'S CERTIFICATE SHOWING PERIOD DURING WHICH THE CHILD WAS ILL BE ACCEPTABLE TO GRANT SICK LEAVE TO THE EMPLOYEE FOR THE PERIOD OF ILLNESS, OR WHERE THE HEALTH REGULATIONS REQUIRE ISOLATION FOR A CERTAIN NUMBER OF DAYS MUST THE SICK LEAVE GRANTED BE HELD TO NOT MORE THAN THE NUMBER OF DAYS SO SPECIFIED?

IN SOME OF THE OTHER CONTAGIOUS DISEASES, SUCH AS CHICKENPOX, HEALTH REGULATIONS FOR DIFFERENT AREAS ARE SOMEWHAT VARIED, FROM:

1. "RESTRICTION OF MOVEMENT"

2. "ISOLATION OF THE PATIENT UNTIL RECOVERY"

3. "EXCLUSION FROM SCHOOL FOR 7 DAYS, AND NO CONTACT WITH PERSONS NOT HAVING HAD THE DISEASE"

ON THE ASSUMPTION THAT SICK LEAVE MAY BE GRANTED IN THOSE CASES WHERE HEALTH REGULATIONS REQUIRE "ISOLATION OF THE PATIENT," AS IN 2 ABOVE, MAY IT BE ASSUMED THAT "ISOLATION OF THE PATIENT" EMBRACES ALSO ITEMS 1 AND 3 ABOVE TO THE EXTENT OF REQUIRING SEGREGATION, THEREBY ENTITLING THE EMPLOYEE TO BE GRANTED SICK LEAVE TO CARE FOR THE AFFLICTED PERSON? THE ANSWER IS IN THE AFFIRMATIVE WHAT EVIDENCE MUST BE FURNISHED TO SATISFACTORILY SUPPORT THE EMPLOYEE'S ENTITLEMENT TO LEAVE AND WHAT WILL DETERMINE THE AMOUNT OF SICK LEAVE WHICH THE EMPLOYEE MAY BE GRANTED?

IN USING THE TERM "QUARANTINE" IN OUR DECISION OF MAY 4, 1944, WE DID NOT INTEND TO IMPLY THAT A HOME ACTUALLY MUST BE QUARANTINED BY THE HEALTH AUTHORITIES BEFORE SICK LEAVE COULD BE GRANTED TO AN EMPLOYEE WHO IS TAKING CARE OF A MEMBER OF THE FAMILY AFFLICTED WITH A CONTAGIOUS DISEASE. RATHER, IF THE HEALTH REGULATIONS OR AUTHORITIES RECOGNIZE A LIMITATION OF FREEDOM OF THE PATIENT THEN THE DISEASE IS TO BE REGARDED AS CONTAGIOUS AND QUARANTINABLE. MOREOVER, WE THINK THAT SECTION 30.101 (F) OF THE COMMISSION'S CURRENT REGULATIONS INCLUDES "RESTRICTION OF MOVEMENT" WITHIN THE TERMS "QUARANTINE" AND ISOLATION.'

IT IS WELL ESTABLISHED THAT THE GRANTING OF SICK LEAVE IS AN ADMINISTRATIVE MATTER AND IS NOT SUBJECT TO REVIEW OR REVISION BY OUR OFFICE IN THE ABSENCE OF ANY ABUSE OF AUTHORITY. ALSO, WE HAVE EXPRESSED THE VIEW THAT IT IS WITHIN THE ADMINISTRATIVE DISCRETION OF THE AGENCY CONCERNED AS TO WHAT EVIDENCE WILL BE USED OR REQUIRED IN SUPPORT OF A GRANT OF SICK LEAVE. B-84659, MAY 25, 1950; 27 COMP. GEN. 227; 24 ID. 143.

ACCORDINGLY, IF EVIDENCE ADMINISTRATIVELY ACCEPTABLE IS FURNISHED AND MADE A PART OF THE RECORD SHOWING THE ABSENCE OF AN EMPLOYEE TO CARE FOR AND ATTEND TO A MEMBER OF HIS OR HER IMMEDIATE FAMILY WHO IS ILL AT HOME WITH A DISEASE REQUIRING ISOLATION, QUARANTINE, OR RESTRICTION OF MOVEMENT FOR A PARTICULAR PERIOD IN ACCORDANCE WITH REGULATIONS PRESCRIBED BY THE LOCAL HEALTH AUTHORITIES, WE WILL OFFER NO FURTHER OBJECTION TO THE GRANTING OF SICK LEAVE FOR THE PERIOD SPECIFIED BY SUCH REGULATIONS. NO PERIOD BE SPECIFIED BY THE HEALTH REGULATIONS AS TO HOW LONG A CERTIFICATE FROM A PHYSICIAN AS TO THE PERIOD OF ISOLATION OR RESTRICTION OF MOVEMENT WOULD APPEAR TO BE SUFFICIENT TO SUPPORT A GRANT OF SUCH LEAVE TO THE EMPLOYEE.

IT IS BELIEVED THE FOREGOING ADEQUATELY ANSWERS THE QUESTIONS PRESENTED. THE INFORMAL INQUIRY WILL BE THE SUBJECT OF FURTHER CONSIDERATION.