B-146686, SEPTEMBER 15, 1961, 41 COMP. GEN. 196

B-146686: Sep 15, 1961

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- SUBSISTENCE - PER DIEM - DELAYS - STRIKE OF CARRIER AN OVERSEAS EMPLOYEE WHO IS REQUIRED TO USE A TAXI FOR TRIPS TO A HOSPITAL INCIDENT TO AN OPERATION WHICH SHE HAD UNDERGONE WHILE ON HOME LEAVE IN THE UNITED STATES IS NOT ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE TAXI FARES UNDER SECTION 942 OF THE FOREIGN SERVICE ACT OF 1946. WHICH RESTRICTS PAYMENT OF TRAVEL EXPENSES INCIDENT TO HOSPITALIZATION TO HOSPITALIZATION AUTHORIZED WHILE THE EMPLOYEE IS "STATIONED ABROAD IN A LOCALITY WHERE THERE DOES NOT EXIST A SUITABLE HOSPITAL OR CLINIC.'. AN EMPLOYEE WHO UPON RETURN TO HER OVERSEAS STATION FOLLOWING HOME LEAVE IN THE UNITED STATES TAKES LEAVE EN ROUTE AT A POINT AT WHICH A STRIKE ON THE AIRLINE ON WHICH THE EMPLOYEE IS SCHEDULED TO TRAVEL IS IN PROGRESS IS NOT ENTITLED TO PER DIEM WHILE AWAITING THE ONWARD TRANSPORTATION AFTER THE PERIOD OF LEAVE IF.

B-146686, SEPTEMBER 15, 1961, 41 COMP. GEN. 196

TRAVEL EXPENSES - FARES - TAXICABS - HOSPITALIZATION OF OVERSEAS EMPLOYEES--- SUBSISTENCE - PER DIEM - DELAYS - STRIKE OF CARRIER AN OVERSEAS EMPLOYEE WHO IS REQUIRED TO USE A TAXI FOR TRIPS TO A HOSPITAL INCIDENT TO AN OPERATION WHICH SHE HAD UNDERGONE WHILE ON HOME LEAVE IN THE UNITED STATES IS NOT ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE TAXI FARES UNDER SECTION 942 OF THE FOREIGN SERVICE ACT OF 1946, 22 U.S.C. 1157, WHICH RESTRICTS PAYMENT OF TRAVEL EXPENSES INCIDENT TO HOSPITALIZATION TO HOSPITALIZATION AUTHORIZED WHILE THE EMPLOYEE IS "STATIONED ABROAD IN A LOCALITY WHERE THERE DOES NOT EXIST A SUITABLE HOSPITAL OR CLINIC.' AN EMPLOYEE WHO UPON RETURN TO HER OVERSEAS STATION FOLLOWING HOME LEAVE IN THE UNITED STATES TAKES LEAVE EN ROUTE AT A POINT AT WHICH A STRIKE ON THE AIRLINE ON WHICH THE EMPLOYEE IS SCHEDULED TO TRAVEL IS IN PROGRESS IS NOT ENTITLED TO PER DIEM WHILE AWAITING THE ONWARD TRANSPORTATION AFTER THE PERIOD OF LEAVE IF, BUT FOR THE INTERRUPTION TO TAKE LEAVE, THE EMPLOYEE COULD HAVE OBTAINED A FLIGHT ON TO HER OVERSEAS STATION SHORTLY AFTER HER ARRIVAL AT THE INTERMEDIATE POINT; HOWEVER, IF THE FLIGHT WHICH THE EMPLOYEE WAS SCHEDULED TO USE AFTER THE PERIOD OF LEAVE WAS THE FIRST AVAILABLE FLIGHT AFTER HER ARRIVAL AT THE INTERMEDIATE POINT, THEN PER DIEM IS PAYABLE FOR THE DELAY IRRESPECTIVE OF THE INTERVENING LEAVE OF ABSENCE.

TO EVANS M. WENTZ, INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION ADMINISTRATION, SEPTEMBER 15, 1961:

ON AUGUST 8, 1961, YOU SUBMITTED FOR ADVANCE DECISION THE QUESTION OF THE PROPRIETY OF CERTIFYING FOR PAYMENT A SUPPLEMENTAL TRAVEL VOUCHER FOR $57.45 FILED BY MISS MARGUERITE M. MARONCELLI. COPIES OF THE SUPPLEMENTAL VOUCHER AND THE ORIGINAL VOUCHER WERE SUBMITTED WITH YOUR LETTER.

IT APPEARS THAT DURING THE PERIOD MAY 12 TO 31, 1961, WHILE MISS MARONCELLI WAS IN THE UNITED STATES ON HOME LEAVE FROM HER ASSIGNMENT WITH THE INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION ADMINISTRATION SHE UNDERWENT AN OPERATION. SHE CLAIMS REIMBURSEMENT OF TAXI FARES FOR $31.29 FOR VISITS TO THE HOSPITAL AS AN INCIDENT TO THE OPERATION. THE DETAILS ARE SHOWN ON THE VOUCHER AS FOLLOWS: 5/12 TAXI TO NELLIS AFB AND RETURN TO MAKE APPOINTMENT FOR

OPERATION AUTHORIZED BY STATE DEPARTMENT MEDICAL DIVISION.

$4.50 EACH WAY. ( 1/2 DAY SICK LEAVE.) 9.00 5/13 TAXI FROM RESIDENCE TO LAS VEGAS HOSPITAL FOR INITIAL

EXAMINATION; 5/15--- ACTUAL OPERATION; 5/22--- PLUS

EMERGENCY VISIT; 5/24, 26, 31--- PLUS 3 TRIPS FOR

CHANGE OF DRESSING AND EXAMINATION. SIX ROUND TRIPS IN

ALL; $1.85 EACH WAY. (1 DAY SICK LEAVE/*--- $22.20

*IN-PATIENT AT LAS VEGAS HOSPITAL FOR 1 DAY 22.20

MISS MARONCELLI ALSO CLAIMS ADDITIONAL PER DIEM FOR 1 3/4 DAYS REPRESENTING A DELAY IN LONDON AWAITING ONWARD TRANSPORTATION IN RETURNING TO HER POST OF DUTY.

SECTION 941 OF THE FOREIGN SERVICE ACT OF 1946, AS AMENDED, 22 U.S.C. 1156, PROVIDES IN PERTINENT PART AS FOLLOWS:

(A) IN THE EVENT AN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE OF THE SERVICE WHO IS A CITIZEN OF THE UNITED STATES INCURS AN ILLNESS OR INJURY WHILE SUCH PERSON IS LOCATED ABROAD, WHICH REQUIRES HOSPITALIZATION OR SIMILAR TREATMENT, AND WHICH IS NOT THE RESULT OF VICIOUS HABITS, INTEMPERANCE, OR MISCONDUCT ON HIS PART, THE SECRETARY MAY, IN ACCORDANCE WITH SUCH REGULATIONS AS HE MAY PRESCRIBE, PAY FOR THE COST OF TREATMENT OF SUCH ILLNESS OR INJURY.

THE EXPENSE OF TAXI FARES WAS INCURRED WHILE MISS MARONCELLI WAS IN HOME LEAVE STATUS AND INCIDENT TO A MEDICAL OPERATION WHICH WE UNDERSTAND WAS AUTHORIZED UNDER THE ABOVE-QUOTED LAW. THERE IS NO PROVISION IN SECTION 941 FOR THE REIMBURSEMENT OF TRAVEL EXPENSES. IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT MISS MARONCELLI WAS IN THE UNITED STATES IN A HOME LEAVE STATUS AND SINCE THAT SECTION OF THE ACT DOES NOT PROVIDE FOR TRAVEL EXPENSES, SHE IS NOT ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE TAXI FARES AS CLAIMED.

WHILE SECTION 942 OF THE ACT, 22 U.S.C. 1157, PROVIDES THAT TRAVEL EXPENSES INCIDENT TO HOSPITALIZATION MAY BE AUTHORIZED, IT IS RESTRICTED TO THE EMPLOYEE "STATIONED ABROAD IN A LOCALITY WHERE THERE DOES NOT EXIST A SUITABLE HOSPITAL OR CLINIC.' SEE SECTION 686.2E, FOREIGN AFFAIRS MANUAL, VOLUME 3, 1961.

CONCERNING MISS MARONCELLI'S CLAIM FOR 1 3/4 DAYS PER DIEM WHILE AWAITING ONWARD TRANSPORTATION AT LONDON IN RETURNING TO HER OFFICIAL POST OF DUTY IN LIBYA, IT IS REPORTED THAT SHE ARRIVED IN LONDON ON THE 17TH OF JULY DURING A STRIKE OF THE AIRLINE ON WHICH SHE WAS SCHEDULED TO DEPART ON JULY 20 (APPARENTLY AT 9:00 A.M.) AND IT WAS NOT UNTIL 10:15 P.M. ON JULY 21 THAT PASSAGE WAS ARRANGED FOR THE FLIGHT ON TO LIBYA. THE RECORD FAILS TO SHOW WHETHER THE SCHEDULED FLIGHT ON JULY 20 WAS SO SCHEDULED BECAUSE MISS MARONCELLI TOOK ANNUAL LEAVE FROM JULY 17 UNTIL JULY 20, AFTER HER ARRIVAL IN LONDON.

CHAPTER 500 OF THE INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION ADMINISTRATION MANUAL INCLUDES THE FOLLOWING PROVISION:

561.1 V A. ALLOWABLE TRAVEL TIME

* * * 2. WHEN A GREATER AMOUNT OF TIME THAN THAT NORMALLY REQUIRED TO COMPLETE TRAVEL IS SPENT EITHER IN TRAVEL OR IN AWAITING TRANSPORTATION BECAUSE OF CIRCUMSTANCES OVER WHICH THE TRAVELER HAD NO CONTROL AND WHICH HE COULD NOT REASONABLY HAVE AVOIDED, THE ACTUAL AMOUNT OF TIME SPENT IS CONSIDERED TRAVEL TIME. DISRUPTION OF TRANSPORTATION FACILITIES BY CIVIL DISTURBANCES, A NATURAL CONDITION OR CATASTROPHE, AN ACCIDENT, OR A STRIKE WHICH CAUSES A DELAY EN ROUTE ARE EXAMPLES OF CIRCUMSTANCES BEYOND THE CONTROL OF THE TRAVELER. * * *

ALSO, WE DIRECT YOUR ATTENTION TO SECTION 6.10 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS AS FOLLOWS:

WHERE FOR TRAVELER'S PERSONAL CONVENIENCE OR THROUGH THE TAKING OF LEAVE THERE IS INTERRUPTION OF TRAVEL OR DEVIATION FROM THE DIRECT ROUTE, THE PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE ALLOWED WILL NOT EXCEED THAT WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN INCURRED ON UNINTERRUPTED TRAVEL BY A USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTE.

ASSUMING THAT IF IT HAD NOT BEEN FOR THE LEAVE TAKEN BY MISS MARONCELLI SHE WOULD HAVE BEEN ABLE TO OBTAIN A FLIGHT ON TO LIBYA SHORTLY AFTER HER ARRIVAL IN LONDON, THEN SHE IS NOT ENTITLED TO ANY ADDITIONAL PER DIEM FOR THE DELAY. ON THE OTHER HAND, IF THE FLIGHT ON JULY 20, 1961, WAS THE FIRST FLIGHT SHE COULD OBTAIN OUT OF LONDON AFTER HER ARRIVAL THERE, THEN SHE IS ENTITLED TO PER DIEM FOR THE DELAY IRRESPECTIVE OF THE INTERVENING LEAVE OF ABSENCE.

THE VOUCHER MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT ONLY TO THE EXTENT AND UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES OUTLINED HEREIN.