B-135042, APR. 21, 1958

B-135042: Apr 21, 1958

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THE AUDIT EXCEPTIONS WERE TAKEN TO PAYMENTS OF OVERTIME COMPENSATION TO VARIOUS EMPLOYEES. OTHER MISSIONS WHEN NO SERVICES WERE PERFORMED DURING TRAVEL TIME. MOST OF THE TRIPS WERE OF SUCH DURATION THAT THEY WOULD NOT ENTITLE THE EMPLOYEES TO PER DIEM ALLOWANCES IN LIEU OF SUBSISTANCE. ORDERS AUTHORIZING TRAVEL INCLUDED THE STATEMENT "THIS TRIP IS CONSIDERED A WORK DETAIL.'. UNDER THE NAVY'S CIVILIAN PERSONNEL INSTRUCTION (NCPI 85.7) AN EMPLOYEE TRAVELING IN WHAT IS DESIGNATED AS A "WORK DETAIL" STATUS PURPORTEDLY MAY BE PAID OVERTIME COMPENSATION FOR MERE TRAVEL OUTSIDE HIS REGULARLY SCHEDULED TOUR OF DUTY. PER ANNUM EMPLOYEES ARE NOT ENTITLED TO OVERTIME COMPENSATION FOR TRAVEL TIME OUTSIDE THEIR REGULARLY SCHEDULED TOURS OF DUTY NOT INVOLVING THE PERFORMANCE OF WORK OR CARRIED OUT UNDER ARDUOUS CONDITIONS.

B-135042, APR. 21, 1958

TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY:

ON APRIL 5, 1958, YOUR REFERENCE OIR 28: IHW, THE CHIEF OF INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS REQUESTED OUR VIEWS ON PROPOSED CHANGES IN THE NAVAL CIVILIAN PERSONNEL INSTRUCTIONS. HE ALSO ASKED THAT WE WITHDRAW GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE NOTICE OF EXCEPTION NO. 800001 OF DECEMBER 17, 1957. THE AUDIT EXCEPTIONS WERE TAKEN TO PAYMENTS OF OVERTIME COMPENSATION TO VARIOUS EMPLOYEES, BOTH CLASSIFIED AND WAGE BOARD, FOR TRAVEL TIME BY GOVERNMENT CONVEYANCES, AIRCRAFT, AND AUTOMOBILE, OUTSIDE THEIR REGULARLY SCHEDULED HOURS OF DUTY, BUT ON SCHEDULED WORKING DAYS, BETWEEN THEIR OFFICIAL STATIONS AND POINTS RANGING IN DISTANCE FROM APPROXIMATELY 20 TO SEVERAL HUNDRED MILES. THE EXCEPTION AMOUNTS TO A TOTAL OF $550.24, REPRESENTING OVERPAYMENT TO 25 EMPLOYEES. INDIVIDUAL OVERPAYMENTS RANGED FROM $4.11 TO $32.42.

THE MISSIONS OF THE TRAVELERS CONCERNED ATTENDANCE AT CONFERENCES, OBSERVING PROCEDURES, AND OTHER MISSIONS WHEN NO SERVICES WERE PERFORMED DURING TRAVEL TIME. MOST OF THE TRIPS WERE OF SUCH DURATION THAT THEY WOULD NOT ENTITLE THE EMPLOYEES TO PER DIEM ALLOWANCES IN LIEU OF SUBSISTANCE. ORDERS AUTHORIZING TRAVEL INCLUDED THE STATEMENT "THIS TRIP IS CONSIDERED A WORK DETAIL.' UNDER THE NAVY'S CIVILIAN PERSONNEL INSTRUCTION (NCPI 85.7) AN EMPLOYEE TRAVELING IN WHAT IS DESIGNATED AS A "WORK DETAIL" STATUS PURPORTEDLY MAY BE PAID OVERTIME COMPENSATION FOR MERE TRAVEL OUTSIDE HIS REGULARLY SCHEDULED TOUR OF DUTY.

UNDER SECTION 204 OF THE FEDERAL EMPLOYEES PAY ACT OF 1945, 68 STAT. 1105, AND OUR DECISIONS, PER ANNUM EMPLOYEES ARE NOT ENTITLED TO OVERTIME COMPENSATION FOR TRAVEL TIME OUTSIDE THEIR REGULARLY SCHEDULED TOURS OF DUTY NOT INVOLVING THE PERFORMANCE OF WORK OR CARRIED OUT UNDER ARDUOUS CONDITIONS, AND WAGE BOARD EMPLOYEES GENERALLY ARE NOT ENTITLED TO OVERTIME COMPENSATION FOR SUCH TRAVEL TIME OUTSIDE THEIR SCHEDULED HOURS OF DUTY ON ANY SCHEDULED WORKING DAY. 24 COMP. GEN. 210; ID. 456; 27 ID. 613; 30 ID. 72.

A MEETING WAS HELD ON MARCH 12, 1958, BETWEEN REPRESENTATIVES OF THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE AND THE NAVY DEPARTMENT OFFICE OF INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS. AT THAT MEETING WE EXPRESSED THE VIEW THAT THE NAVY'S INSTRUCTIONS CONCERNING "WORK DETAILS" ARE IMPROPER SO FAR AS THEY PURPORT TO AUTHORIZE OVERTIME PAYMENTS IN CONTRAVENTION OF THE FOREGOING STATUTE AND OUR DECISIONS. WE ALSO EXPRESSED THE VIEW THAT THOSE PRINCIPLES ARE CONTROLLING IRRESPECTIVE OF WHETHER OFFICIAL TRAVEL ORDERS ARE ISSUED.

THE CHIEF OF INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS SAYS THAT THE NAVY DEPARTMENT PROPOSES TO REVISE ITS INSTRUCTIONS ON TRAVEL TIME (NCPI 85.7) TO ELIMINATE THE CURRENTLY EXISTING "WORK DETAIL" PROVISIONS. HE ENCLOSED A COPY OF THE PROPOSED REVISION OF THE PERTINENT REGULATIONS AND REQUESTED OUR COMMENTS AS TO THEIR CONSISTENCY WITH THE LAW AND COMPTROLLER GENERAL DECISIONS. WE HAVE EXAMINED THE PROPOSED REVISIONS OF THE NAVAL CIVILIAN PERSONNEL INSTRUCTIONS, AND WE FEEL THAT THEY ACCOMPLISH THE PURPOSE INTENDED.

IT APPEARS THAT OUR ACTION IN THIS MATTER HAS RESULTED IN THE DISCONTINUANCE OF THE PAYMENT OF OVERTIME COMPENSATION UNDER CIRCUMSTANCES SIMILAR TO THOSE UNDER WHICH THE EMPLOYEES AT THE NAVAL AIR STATION, JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA, WERE OVERPAID. FURTHERMORE, YOU SAY THAT THE PROPOSED REVISION OF THE NAVAL CIVILIAN PERSONNEL INSTRUCTION WILL BE PUBLISHED FORTHWITH WHICH WILL PRECLUDE SUCH PAYMENTS IN THE FUTURE. THEREFORE, IN VIEW OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSE THAT WOULD BE INVOLVED IN COLLECTING THE OVERPAYMENTS, THE AMOUNTS OF WHICH ARE RELATIVELY SMALL WHEN VIEWED INDIVIDUALLY, WE SHALL NOT INSIST UPON THEIR RECOVERY.