B-136516, JUL. 14, 1958

B-136516: Jul 14, 1958

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TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY: REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER OF JUNE 2. REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO WHETHER THE SECRETARIES CONCERNED HAVE THE AUTHORITY TO PRESCRIBE STATION PER DIEM ALLOWANCES FOR MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES ON THE BASIS DESCRIBED IN THE LETTER AS FOLLOWS: "PARAGRAPH 4301 OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PRESCRIBES THE ENTITLEMENT OF STATION PER DIEM ALLOWANCES TO MEMBERS STATIONED OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES. IT IS CONSIDERED THAT THE DIFFERENCES IN COMPENSATION RESULT IN DIFFERENCES IN LEVELS OF LIVING BOTH INSIDE AND OUTSIDE OF THE UNITED STATES. IT IS CONSIDERED. THAT ALLOWANCES WHICH VARY BY PAY GRADE ARE NECESSARY TO MAINTAIN THESE DIFFERENT LEVELS OF LIVING IN OVERSEAS AREAS WHERE THE COST OF LIVING IS HIGHER THAN IN THE UNITED STATES.

B-136516, JUL. 14, 1958

TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER OF JUNE 2, 1958, FROM THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, PERSONNEL AND RESERVE FORCES, REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO WHETHER THE SECRETARIES CONCERNED HAVE THE AUTHORITY TO PRESCRIBE STATION PER DIEM ALLOWANCES FOR MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES ON THE BASIS DESCRIBED IN THE LETTER AS FOLLOWS:

"PARAGRAPH 4301 OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PRESCRIBES THE ENTITLEMENT OF STATION PER DIEM ALLOWANCES TO MEMBERS STATIONED OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES.

"A STUDY GROUP HAS BEEN CONVENED BY THE PER DIEM, TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCE COMMITTEE FOR THE PURPOSES OF ANALYSIS AND EVALUATION OF THE CURRENT SYSTEM FOR DETERMINING STATION PER DIEM ALLOWANCES, TO ANALYZE AND EVALUATE OTHER METHODS OF ALLOWANCE DETERMINATION, AND TO DEVELOP A SYSTEM AS MAY APPEAR TO BE JUSTIFIED.

"AS A RESULT OF THE STUDY MADE, A CONCLUSION HAS BEEN REACHED THAT STATION PER DIEM ALLOWANCES SHOULD BE AUTHORIZED BY GRADES OR GROUPS OF GRADES. CURRENT LAWS AUTHORIZE COMPENSATION AT DIFFERENT RATES FOR EACH OF THE OFFICER AND ENLISTED PAY GRADES. IT IS CONSIDERED THAT THE DIFFERENCES IN COMPENSATION RESULT IN DIFFERENCES IN LEVELS OF LIVING BOTH INSIDE AND OUTSIDE OF THE UNITED STATES. IT IS CONSIDERED, ALSO, THAT ALLOWANCES WHICH VARY BY PAY GRADE ARE NECESSARY TO MAINTAIN THESE DIFFERENT LEVELS OF LIVING IN OVERSEAS AREAS WHERE THE COST OF LIVING IS HIGHER THAN IN THE UNITED STATES. FURTHERMORE, THE PAYMENT OF A FLAT ALLOWANCE, NECESSARILY BASED ON AVERAGES, UNDULY REWARDS MEMBERS OF SOME GRADES AND PENALIZES OTHERS.

"QUAERE: DO THE SECRETARIES OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES HAVE AUTHORITY TO PRESCRIBE STATION PER DIEM ALLOWANCES TO MEMBERS BY PAY GRADE?

"ALSO AS A RESULT OF THE ABOVE-MENTIONED STUDY, A CONCLUSION HAS BEEN REACHED THAT STATION PER DIEM ALLOWANCES AUTHORIZED TO MEMBERS WITH DEPENDENTS SHOULD BE BASED ON THE NUMBER OF DEPENDENTS (AS DEFINED IN SECTION 102 (G) OF THE CAREER COMPENSATION ACT OF 1949, AS AMENDED). SINCE THE LAW PROVIDES FOR CONSIDERATION OF ALL ELEMENTS OF THE COST OF LIVING TO MEMBERS AND THEIR DEPENDENTS, IT APPEARS THAT SUCH ALLOWANCE COULD BE AUTHORIZED ON THAT BASIS. IT IS CONSIDERED THAT PAYMENT OF ALLOWANCES WHICH RECOGNIZE DIFFERENCES IN THE COST OF LIVING FOR MEMBERS WITH DIFFERENT NUMBERS OF DEPENDENTS WOULD ELIMINATE INEQUITIES WHICH CAN RESULT WHEN ALLOWANCES ARE BASED UPON AVERAGES.

"QUAERE: DO THE SECRETARIES OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES HAVE AUTHORITY TO PRESCRIBE STATION PER DIEM ALLOWANCES TO MEMBERS BASED ON THE NUMBER OF DEPENDENTS?

SECTION 303 (B) OF THE CAREER COMPENSATION ACT OF 1949, 63 STAT. 814, PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

"WITHOUT REGARD TO THE MONETARY LIMITATIONS IN THIS ACT, THE SECRETARIES OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES MAY AUTHORIZE THE PAYMENT TO MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES ON DUTY OUTSIDE THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES OR IN ALASKA, WHETHER OR NOT IN A TRAVEL STATUS, OF A PER DIEM CONSIDERING ALL ELEMENTS OF COST OF LIVING TO MEMBERS AND THEIR DEPENDENTS, INCLUDING THE COST OF QUARTERS, SUBSISTENCE, AND OTHER NECESSARY INCIDENTAL EXPENSES: *

THESE PROVISIONS OF THE STATUTE VEST IN THE SECRETARIES THE AUTHORITY TO AUTHORIZE THE PAYMENT TO MEMBERS NOT IN A TRAVEL STATUS ON DUTY OUTSIDE THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES OR IN ALASKA OF A PER DIEM CONSIDERING ALL ELEMENTS OF THE COST OF LIVING TO MEMBERS AND THEIR DEPENDENTS, INCLUDING THE COST OF QUARTERS, SUBSISTENCE, AND OTHER NECESSARY INCIDENTAL EXPENSES. UNDER THE STATUTE IT IS WITHIN THE DISCRETION OF THE SECRETARIES TO CONSIDER ALL ELEMENTS OF THE COST OF LIVING IN AUTHORIZING THE PAYMENT OF STATION PER DIEM TO MEMBERS ON DUTY OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES. HENCE, WE CONCLUDE THAT THE SECRETARIES HAVE THE AUTHORITY TO PRESCRIBE STATION PER DIEM ALLOWANCES FOR MEMBERS BY PAY GRADE AND NUMBER OF DEPENDENTS. ACCORDINGLY, YOUR QUESTIONS ARE ANSWERED IN THE AFFIRMATIVE.