B-129242, OCT. 29, 1956

B-129242: Oct 29, 1956

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

FOR A PORTION OF THE PERIOD AUGUST 1955 TO FEBRUARY 1956 DURING WHICH THE EMPLOYEE WAS ABSENT FROM DUTY ON ACCOUNT OF ILLNESS. THE EMPLOYEE SUBSEQUENTLY REQUESTED THAT 90 HOURS OF ANNUAL LEAVE WHICH IS SAID TO HAVE BEEN FORFEITED AT THE END OF THE 1955 LEAVE YEAR BE SUBSTITUTED FOR AN EQUIVALENT AMOUNT OF SICK LEAVE HERETOFORE CHARGED. LEAVE BALANCES FOR THE 1955 LEAVE YEAR WERE NOT FURNISHED THAT POST OFFICE UNTIL IN MARCH OF 1956. THE REQUEST WAS DENIED ON THE BASIS OF OUR DECISION IN 31 COMP. WOULD HAVE CHOSEN TO APPLY THE FORFEITABLE ANNUAL LEAVE TO COVER AN EQUIVALENT PERIOD OF ABSENCE PRECEDING THE CLOSE OF THE LEAVE YEAR.

B-129242, OCT. 29, 1956

TO THE POSTMASTER GENERAL:

THE ASSISTANT POSTMASTER GENERAL'S LETTER OF OCTOBER 4, 1956, REPLIED TO OUR REQUEST FOR A REPORT UPON THE MATTER OF THE TYPE OF LEAVE (SICK OR ANNUAL) WHICH MIGHT BE CHARGED IN THE CASE OF H. W. FORAND, AN EMPLOYEE OF THE PAWTUCKET, RHODE ISLAND, POST OFFICE, FOR A PORTION OF THE PERIOD AUGUST 1955 TO FEBRUARY 1956 DURING WHICH THE EMPLOYEE WAS ABSENT FROM DUTY ON ACCOUNT OF ILLNESS. THE ENTIRE PERIOD OF ILLNESS HAS BEEN CHARGED TO SICK LEAVE, BUT THE EMPLOYEE SUBSEQUENTLY REQUESTED THAT 90 HOURS OF ANNUAL LEAVE WHICH IS SAID TO HAVE BEEN FORFEITED AT THE END OF THE 1955 LEAVE YEAR BE SUBSTITUTED FOR AN EQUIVALENT AMOUNT OF SICK LEAVE HERETOFORE CHARGED.

IT APPEARS THAT BECAUSE OF THE TRANSFER OF THE LEAVE RECORDS FOR THE PAWTUCKET POST OFFICE TO THE BOSTON REGIONAL OFFICE IN MAY 1955, AND CERTAIN OTHER CIRCUMSTANCES, LEAVE BALANCES FOR THE 1955 LEAVE YEAR WERE NOT FURNISHED THAT POST OFFICE UNTIL IN MARCH OF 1956. WHEN THE BALANCES BECAME KNOWN AND THE EMPLOYEE LEARNED THAT HE FORFEITED 90 HOURS OF ANNUAL LEAVE AT THE END OF THE 1955 LEAVE YEAR BECAUSE THE UNUSED ACCRUAL EXCEEDED HIS "CEILING" OF 240 HOURS (30 DAYS) ESTABLISHED BY SECTION 203 (C) OF THE ANNUAL AND SICK LEAVE ACT OF 1951, AS AMENDED BY SECTION 203 (A) OF THE ANNUAL SICK LEAVE ACT OF 1953, 67 STAT. 137, HE PROMPTLY REQUESTED THAT A PORTION OF THE ABSENCE ON ACCOUNT OF ILLNESS IN 1955 BE CHARGED TO ANNUAL LEAVE TO THE EXTENT OF THE AMOUNT FORFEITED. THE REQUEST WAS DENIED ON THE BASIS OF OUR DECISION IN 31 COMP. GEN. 524 HOLDING THAT UNDER THE LAW AND PERTINENT REGULATIONS ANNUAL LEAVE MAY NOT BE SUBSTITUTED FOR SICK LEAVE PREVIOUSLY GRANTED, FOR THE SOLE PURPOSE OF AVOIDING A FORFEITURE OF ANNUAL LEAVE AT THE END OF A CALENDAR YEAR.

THE DECISION JUST CITED EXPLICITLY RECOGNIZES THAT ABSENCES DUE TO ILLNESS MAY BE CHARGED TO ACCRUED ANNUAL LEAVE IF TIMELY REQUESTED BY THE EMPLOYEE AND APPROVED BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE CONCERNED. IN THIS PARTICULAR CASE, SINCE THE ABSENCE ON ACCOUNT OF ILLNESS COMMENCED CONSIDERABLY BEFORE THE END OF THE LEAVE YEAR AND EXTENDED THROUGH THE END OF THE YEAR, THUS FORECLOSING THE POSSIBILITY OF USING ACCRUED ANNUAL LEAVE TO COVER ABSENCES OTHER THAN FOR ILLNESS SUCH AS FOR VACATION PURPOSES, WE MAY PRESUME THAT THE EMPLOYEE, HAD HE BEEN APPRISED OF THE TRUE STATE OF HIS LEAVE ACCOUNT, WOULD HAVE CHOSEN TO APPLY THE FORFEITABLE ANNUAL LEAVE TO COVER AN EQUIVALENT PERIOD OF ABSENCE PRECEDING THE CLOSE OF THE LEAVE YEAR. IN VIEW THEREOF, AND SINCE THE LACK OF KNOWLEDGE OF THE LEAVE BALANCE DOES NOT APPEAR TO BE ATTRIBUTABLE TO ANY FAULT OF THE EMPLOYEE, WE WOULD INTERPOSE NO OBJECTION TO SUBSTITUTION OF ANNUAL LEAVE, IN THE AMOUNT HERETOFORE CONSIDERED AS FORFEITED, FOR AN EQUIVALENT AMOUNT OF SICK LEAVE CHARGED FOR THE 1955 LEAVE YEAR. THE SUBSTITUTED ANNUAL LEAVE SHOULD BE COMPUTED OVER A PERIOD IMMEDIATELY PRECEDING THE END OF THE LEAVE YEAR.