B-134906, FEB. 19, 1958

B-134906: Feb 19, 1958

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WHETHER THE DEPARTMENT CAN PROPERLY LIQUIDATE ADVANCED SICK LEAVE WHICH WAS GRANTED TO MRS. WE HAVE INFORMALLY ASCERTAINED THAT SHE HAD 218 HOURS OF SICK LEAVE TO HER CREDIT ON JANUARY 1. IT APPEARS THAT APPROXIMATELY 230 HOURS OF ADVANCED SICK LEAVE WERE GRANTED TO MRS. THE 230 HOURS OF ADVANCED SICK LEAVE WAS REDUCED BY THE AMOUNT OF SICK LEAVE SHE EARNED IN 1954. WHICH WAS 104 HOURS. ZUCKER WAS CREDITED WITH 240 HOURS OF ANNUAL LEAVE ON JANUARY 2. WE HAVE BEEN INFORMALLY ADVISED THAT MRS. IT IS REPORTED THAT MRS. ZUCKER WAS TENTATIVELY SCHEDULED TO TAKE HER ANNUAL LEAVE FOR 1955 DURING THE PERIOD APRIL 5 TO MAY 2. WAS DENIED BY HER SUPERIOR WHO INFORMED HER THAT SHE COULD NOT BE GRANTED ANY FURTHER LEAVE UNTIL THE NEXT YEAR.

B-134906, FEB. 19, 1958

TO THE POSTMASTER GENERAL:

ON JANUARY 14, 1958, THE DEPUTY POSTMASTER GENERAL REQUESTED OUR DECISION, WHETHER THE DEPARTMENT CAN PROPERLY LIQUIDATE ADVANCED SICK LEAVE WHICH WAS GRANTED TO MRS. RAY ZUCKER, A CAREER CLERK IN THE SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, POST OFFICE, BY SUBSTITUTING ANNUAL LEAVE WHICH SHE THEREAFTER ACCRUED BUT FORFEITED.

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT, AT THE BEGINNING OF THE CALENDAR YEAR 1954, MRS. ZUCKER HAD 128 HOURS OF ANNUAL LEAVE TO HER CREDIT AND SHE EARNED 160 ADDITIONAL HOURS DURING 1954, MAKING A TOTAL OF 288 HOURS. THE RECORD ALSO INDICATES THAT SHE BECAME ILL IN JANUARY 1954 AND THAT SHE USED A TOTAL OF 448 HOURS OF SICK LEAVE DURING THE ILLNESS. WE HAVE INFORMALLY ASCERTAINED THAT SHE HAD 218 HOURS OF SICK LEAVE TO HER CREDIT ON JANUARY 1, 1954. THEREFORE, IT APPEARS THAT APPROXIMATELY 230 HOURS OF ADVANCED SICK LEAVE WERE GRANTED TO MRS. ZUCKER TO COVER THE PERIOD OF ILLNESS. THE 230 HOURS OF ADVANCED SICK LEAVE WAS REDUCED BY THE AMOUNT OF SICK LEAVE SHE EARNED IN 1954, WHICH WAS 104 HOURS, LEAVING A DEFICIT OF 126 HOURS OF ADVANCED SICK LEAVE TO BE CARRIED OVER TO 1955.

MRS. ZUCKER WAS CREDITED WITH 240 HOURS OF ANNUAL LEAVE ON JANUARY 2, 1955, WHICH SHE HAD CARRIED OVER AS HER MAXIMUM PERMISSIBLE ACCUMULATION CEILING FROM 1954 UNDER 5 U.S.C., SUPP. IV 2062, AND SHE EARNED 160 HOURS OF ANNUAL LEAVE DURING THE YEAR SO THAT SHE HAD A TOTAL OF 400 HOURS TO HER CREDIT AT THE CLOSE OF THE 1955 LEAVE YEAR. WE HAVE BEEN INFORMALLY ADVISED THAT MRS. ZUCKER EARNED 104 HOURS OF SICK LEAVE DURING THE YEAR 1955 WHICH REDUCED THE DEFICIT OF 126 HOURS OF ADVANCED SICK LEAVE CARRIED OVER INTO 1955 TO 22 HOURS AT THE CLOSE OF THE 1955 LEAVE YEAR.

IT IS REPORTED THAT MRS. ZUCKER WAS TENTATIVELY SCHEDULED TO TAKE HER ANNUAL LEAVE FOR 1955 DURING THE PERIOD APRIL 5 TO MAY 2, 1955 BUT, ON MARCH 19 SHE REQUESTED THAT THIS LEAVE BE POSTPONED INDEFINITELY BECAUSE OF AN IMPENDING OPERATION. IN NOVEMBER 1955, MRS. ZUCKER REQUESTED SEVERAL WEEKS OF ANNUAL LEAVE IN ORDER TO OBTAIN A REST BEFORE THE CHRISTMAS MAILING SEASON. THIS REQUEST, HOWEVER, WAS DENIED BY HER SUPERIOR WHO INFORMED HER THAT SHE COULD NOT BE GRANTED ANY FURTHER LEAVE UNTIL THE NEXT YEAR. THIS DENIAL OF HER REQUEST FOR ANNUAL LEAVE RESULTED IN THE FORFEITURE OF 160 HOURS OF ANNUAL LEAVE AT THE END OF THE 1955 LEAVE YEAR BECAUSE OF HER 240 HOUR CEILING.

IT APPEARS THAT THE QUESTION FOR DECISION IS WHETHER THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT CAN NOW LIQUIDATE THE DEFICIT OF 22 HOURS OF ADVANCED SICK LEAVE WHICH MRS. ZUCKER HAD AT THE END OF 1955 LEAVE YEAR BY SUBSTITUTING 22 OF THE 160 HOURS OF ANNUAL LEAVE WHICH WAS FORFEITED AT THE CLOSE OF THE 1955 LEAVE YEAR.

IN OUR DECISION B-108632, DECEMBER 30, 1957, 37 COMP. GEN. - , WE HELD UNDER THE CONDITIONS THERE EXISTING THAT, IN THE EXERCISE OF ADMINISTRATIVE DISCRETION, ADVANCED SICK LEAVE MAY BE LIQUIDATED AT THE EMPLOYEE'S REQUEST BY A CHARGE AGAINST AN EQUIVALENT AMOUNT OF ANNUAL LEAVE, PROVIDED THAT THE ANNUAL LEAVE IS CHARGED PRIOR TO THE TIME IT WOULD BE FORFEITED BY OPERATION OF THE LIMITATIONS IN THE LEAVE LAW AS TO THE MAXIMUM AMOUNTS OF LEAVE WHICH MAY BE CARRIED OVER TO THE SUCCEEDING LEAVE YEAR AND THAT THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE WOULD OTHERWISE HAVE GRANTED THAT AMOUNT OF ANNUAL LEAVE DURING THE THEN CURRENT LEAVE YEAR.

IN THE INSTANT CASE, MRS. ZUCKER HAD NOT APPLIED FOR SUBSTITUTION OF THE ANNUAL FOR SICK LEAVE NOR HAD THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT APPROVED SUCH SUBSTITUTION DURING THE 1955 LEAVE YEAR. THE SUBSTITUTION APPEARS NOT TO HAVE BEEN REQUESTED OR CONSIDERED UNTIL AFTER THE BEGINNING OF THE 1956 LEAVE YEAR AT WHICH TIME THE 160 HOURS OF ANNUAL LEAVE, PROPOSED TO BE SUBSTITUTED FOR THE 22 HOURS OF ADVANCED SICK LEAVE, HAD BEEN FORFEITED. THEREFORE, THE PROPOSED ACTION WOULD NOT MEET THE CONDITIONS UNDER WHICH ADVANCED SICK LEAVE CAN BE LIQUIDATED BY THE SUBSTITUTION OF ANNUAL LEAVE AS ENUNCIATED IN B-108632, DECEMBER 30, 1957, AND--- EVEN THOUGH THE DENIAL OF MRS. ZUCKER'S REQUEST FOR ANNUAL LEAVE IN NOVEMBER 1955 MAY NOT HAVE BEEN BASED UPON A COMPLETE UNDERSTANDING OF THE DEPARTMENT'S POLICY AS TO GRANTING OF LEAVE AND TO HAVE RESULTED IN HER FORFEITING THE ANNUAL LEAVE--- SUCH SUBSTITUTION WOULD NOT BE PROPER AND IS NOT AUTHORIZED. SEE, IN THIS CONNECTION 31 COMP. GEN. 524.