B-150225, DEC. 20, 1962

B-150225: Dec 20, 1962

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THE FOUR EMPLOYEES INVOLVED ARE ELECTRONICS TECHNICIANS. WHOSE USUAL DUTY IS TO OPERATE TEST EQUIPMENT. THEY WERE ASSIGNED TO OPERATE TWO VERY HIGH FREQUENCY TEST UNITS WHICH WERE MOUNTED ON HEAVY DUTY TRUCKS. EACH UNIT IS A SELF-CONTAINED NAVIGATION FACILITY INCLUDING TRANSMITTING. DUE TO THE INFREQUENCY OF MOVEMENT REQUIRED OF THE TEST VANS THE AGENCY HAS NOT EMPLOYED TRUCK DRIVERS BUT ASSIGNS EMPLOYEES SUCH AS THE TECHNICIANS INVOLVED TO DRIVE WHEN MOVEMENT IS NECESSARY. IN THE CASE PRESENTED TWO EMPLOYEES WERE ASSIGNED TO EACH OF TWO TRUCKS AND THEY ALTERNATED IN DRIVING THE VEHICLES. THE QUESTIONS YOU SUBMIT ARE AS FOLLOWS: "1. BE CONSIDERED TO MEET THE CRITERIA FOR COMPENSATION FROM THE STANDPOINT THAT THE TRAVEL WAS PERFORMED UNDER CONDITIONS ARDUOUS TO THE EXTENT THAT IT BECOMES INSEPARABLE FROM WORK? "2.

B-150225, DEC. 20, 1962

TO MISS WILMA C. ALTFATHER, AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER, FEDERAL AVIATION AGENCY, SOUTHWEST REGION:

BY LETTER OF OCTOBER 29, 1962, YOU REQUESTED OUR DECISION WHETHER YOU MAY CERTIFY FOR PAYMENT THE ENCLOSED PAYROLL VOUCHER TO COMPENSATE FOUR EMPLOYEES OF THE FEDERAL AVIATION AGENCY AT OVERTIME RATES FOR THE HOURS OUTSIDE THEIR NORMAL WORKING HOURS THEY SPENT IN TRANSPORTING TWO AGENCY TRUCKS FROM FORT WORTH, TEXAS, TO ATLANTIC CITY, NEW JERSEY, DURING THE PERIOD OCTOBER 25-28, 1961.

THE FOUR EMPLOYEES INVOLVED ARE ELECTRONICS TECHNICIANS, GS-GRADES, WHOSE USUAL DUTY IS TO OPERATE TEST EQUIPMENT. THEY WERE ASSIGNED TO OPERATE TWO VERY HIGH FREQUENCY TEST UNITS WHICH WERE MOUNTED ON HEAVY DUTY TRUCKS. EACH UNIT IS A SELF-CONTAINED NAVIGATION FACILITY INCLUDING TRANSMITTING, MONITORING, AND AUXILIARY EQUIPMENT. DUE TO THE INFREQUENCY OF MOVEMENT REQUIRED OF THE TEST VANS THE AGENCY HAS NOT EMPLOYED TRUCK DRIVERS BUT ASSIGNS EMPLOYEES SUCH AS THE TECHNICIANS INVOLVED TO DRIVE WHEN MOVEMENT IS NECESSARY. IN THE CASE PRESENTED TWO EMPLOYEES WERE ASSIGNED TO EACH OF TWO TRUCKS AND THEY ALTERNATED IN DRIVING THE VEHICLES. THEY ACCOMPLISHED THE REQUIRED TRAVEL IN FOUR DAYS DRIVING 14 HOURS THE FIRST DAY AND 15 HOURS EACH OF THE THREE FOLLOWING DAYS.

THE QUESTIONS YOU SUBMIT ARE AS FOLLOWS:

"1. MAY DRIVING A VEHICLE OF THIS TYPE, HEAVY DUTY TANDEM, RESTRICTED TO A SLOW RATE OF SPEED, BE CONSIDERED TO MEET THE CRITERIA FOR COMPENSATION FROM THE STANDPOINT THAT THE TRAVEL WAS PERFORMED UNDER CONDITIONS ARDUOUS TO THE EXTENT THAT IT BECOMES INSEPARABLE FROM WORK?

"2. IF YOUR ANSWER TO QUESTION 1 IS IN THE AFFIRMATIVE, MAY EMPLOYEES BE COMPENSATED EQUALLY OR SHOULD PAYMENT BE RESTRICTED TO ACTUAL TIME EACH EMPLOYEE SPENT IN DRIVING THE VEHICLE?

"3. ASIDE FROM THE FACT THAT THE EMPLOYEES WERE REQUIRED TO PARTICIPATE IN THE EXPERIMENTAL TEST PROGRAM, IT WAS NECESSARY THAT THE VANS BE DELIVERED FROM ONE TO ANOTHER LOCATION. MAY THE DRIVING OF A VEHICLE FOR THE PURPOSE OF TRANSPORT BE CONSIDERED WORK AND THEREFORE COMPENSABLE?

SECTION 204 OF THE FEDERAL EMPLOYEES PAY ACT OF 1945, AS ADDED BY SECTION 205 (B) OF THE FEDERAL EMPLOYEES PAY ACT AMENDMENTS OF 1954, APPROVED SEPTEMBER 1, 1954, CH. 1208, 68 STAT. 1110, 5 U.S.C. 912B, PROVIDES:

"FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS CHAPTER, TIME SPENT IN A TRAVEL STATUS AWAY FROM THE OFFICIAL-DUTY STATION OF ANY OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE SHALL BE CONSIDERED AS HOURS OF EMPLOYMENT ONLY WHEN (1) WITHIN THE DAYS AND HOURS OF SUCH OFFICER'S OR EMPLOYEE'S REGULARLY SCHEDULED ADMINISTRATIVE WORKWEEK, INCLUDING REGULARLY SCHEDULED OVERTIME HOUSE, OR (2) WHEN THE TRAVEL INVOLVES THE PERFORMANCE OF WORK WHILE TRAVELING OR IS CARRIED OUT UNDER ARDUOUS CONDITIONS.'

THE EMPLOYEES INVOLVED WERE ASSIGNED TO DRIVE THE VEHICLES. IT APPEARS THAT PERFORMANCE OF TRAVEL BY TRUCK WAS INCIDENT TO THE NEED OF THE GOVERNMENT TO HAVE THE TEST VANS DRIVEN FROM FORT WORTH TO ATLANTIC CITY AND NOT MERELY A CONVENIENT MEANS OF TRAVEL OR A CONVENIENT MEANS OF TRANSPORTING EQUIPMENT. THEREFORE, THE ASSIGNED DUTY OF THE EMPLOYEES DURING THE PERIOD OF TRAVEL WAS THAT OF DRIVING THE VANS AND MUST BE REGARDED AS WORK. CF. B-145972, JUNE 30, 1961, COPY HEREWITH.

ALSO CONSIDERING THE LONG HOURS OF TRAVEL OVER FOUR CONSECUTIVE DAYS, THE NATURE OF THE EQUIPMENT, AND THE FACT THAT EACH EMPLOYEE WAS ASSIGNED TO DRIVE THE TRUCK AND ACT AS AN ALTERNATE, OVERTIME PROPERLY IS ALLOWABLE UNDER SECTION 204 (2) OF THE FEDERAL EMPLOYEES PAY ACT; EXCEPT FOR EATING AND SLEEPING TIME.

THEREFORE, IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THIS CASE, THE VOUCHER, WHICH IS RETURNED, MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT IF OTHERWISE CORRECT.