B-153003, DEC. 12, 1963

B-153003: Dec 12, 1963

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WHEN HIS SICK LEAVE WAS EXHAUSTED. THE LEAVE WAS CHARGED AGAINST ANNUAL LEAVE. THIS REQUEST WAS ACCOMPANIED BY A RECOMMENDATION FROM THE EMPLOYEE'S PHYSICIAN WHICH FAILED TO INDICATE THE NATURE OF THE EMPLOYEE'S ILLNESS. WAS APPROVED BY THE PROPER OFFICIAL AND TRANSMITTED TO YOUR OFFICE ON NOVEMBER 15. WE NOTE THAT THE DEPARTMENTAL REGULATION CONTAINED IN AFM 40-1 PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS WITH RESPECT TO THE ADVANCE OF SICK LEAVE: "COMMANDERS WILL DETERMINE THE CONDITIONS UNDER WHICH SICK LEAVE MAY BE ADVANCED TO EMPLOYEES. AN ADVANCE OF SICK LEAVE WILL NOT BE GRANTED IF IT IS KNOWN THAT THE EMPLOYEE WILL BE SEPARATED OR WILL RETIRE BEFORE HE CAN EARN IT. OR IF IT IS CONSIDERED LIKELY THAT THE EMPLOYEE WILL NOT RETURN TO DUTY.'.

B-153003, DEC. 12, 1963

TO MRS. MAE H. BEACH, AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER, DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE:

THIS REFERS TO YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 2, 1963, YOUR REFERENCE AFESSMA-5, WITH ENCLOSURES, WHEREIN YOU REQUEST OUR DECISION WHETHER YOU MAY CERTIFY FOR PAYMENT A VOUCHER IN FAVOR OF MRS. MARCELLE WARREN FOR LUMP-SUM LEAVE PAYMENT AS WIDOW OF EDWARD D. WARREN, A FORMER CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE.

THE INFORMATION FURNISHED SHOWS THAT MR. WARREN HAD BEEN ON CONTINUOUS SICK LEAVE FROM THE EARLY PART OF SEPTEMBER 1963 THROUGH THE DATE OF HIS DEATH NOVEMBER 17, 1963. WHEN HIS SICK LEAVE WAS EXHAUSTED, THE LEAVE WAS CHARGED AGAINST ANNUAL LEAVE, ALLOWING THE 4 HOURS OF SICK LEAVE WHICH ACCRUED EACH PAY PERIOD. ON NOVEMBER 9, 1963, MR. WARREN SUBMITTED A WRITTEN REQUEST FOR AN ADVANCEMENT OF THIRTY DAYS SICK LEAVE BEGINNING 1300 HOURS, SEPTEMBER 27, 1963. THIS REQUEST WAS ACCOMPANIED BY A RECOMMENDATION FROM THE EMPLOYEE'S PHYSICIAN WHICH FAILED TO INDICATE THE NATURE OF THE EMPLOYEE'S ILLNESS, BUT WAS APPROVED BY THE PROPER OFFICIAL AND TRANSMITTED TO YOUR OFFICE ON NOVEMBER 15, 1963. YOU SAY YOU INTENDED TO ASK FOR A BETTER CERTIFICATE TO SHOW THE NATURE OF THE ILLNESS AS REQUIRED BY A LOCAL REGULATION BUT BEFORE THIS COULD BE DONE THE EMPLOYEE DIED ON NOVEMBER 17, 1963.

THE ADVANCE OF SICK LEAVE BACK TO SEPTEMBER 11, 1963, WOULD MEAN RESTORING 240 HOURS CHARGED TO ANNUAL LEAVE, AND THE SETTLEMENT OF LUMP- SUM PAYMENT TO THE WIDOW WOULD BE FOR 346 HOURS OF ANNUAL LEAVE PLUS 3 HOLIDAYS FOR THE PERIOD NOVEMBER 18, 1963, THROUGH 2 HOURS ON JANUARY 21, 1964, INSTEAD OF 106 HOURS OF ANNUAL LEAVE PLUS 1 HOLIDAY FOR THE PERIOD NOVEMBER 18, 1963, THROUGH 2 HOURS ON DECEMBER 6, 1963.

WE NOTE THAT THE DEPARTMENTAL REGULATION CONTAINED IN AFM 40-1 PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS WITH RESPECT TO THE ADVANCE OF SICK LEAVE:

"COMMANDERS WILL DETERMINE THE CONDITIONS UNDER WHICH SICK LEAVE MAY BE ADVANCED TO EMPLOYEES, WITHIN THE LIMITATIONS OUTLINED IN CHAPTER L1, FEDERAL PERSONNEL MANUAL. GENERALLY, AN ADVANCE OF SICK LEAVE WILL NOT BE GRANTED IF IT IS KNOWN THAT THE EMPLOYEE WILL BE SEPARATED OR WILL RETIRE BEFORE HE CAN EARN IT, OR IF IT IS CONSIDERED LIKELY THAT THE EMPLOYEE WILL NOT RETURN TO DUTY.'

APPARENTLY, THE LOCAL REGULATION REFERRED TO WAS ISSUED IN IMPLEMENTATION OF THE DEPARTMENTAL REGULATION QUOTED ABOVE, THE PURPOSE THEREOF BEING TO OBTAIN INFORMATION TO ENABLE AN OFFICIAL TO DETERMINE WHETHER AN ADVANCE OF SICK LEAVE SHOULD BE GRANTED. WE NOTE THAT EVEN WHERE INFORMATION OF THE NATURE OF AN ILLNESS IS OBTAINED FROM WHICH ORDINARILY A CONCLUSION MIGHT BE DRAWN THAT AN EMPLOYEE PROBABLY WOULD NOT BE ABLE TO RETURN TO WORK THERE IS NO REQUIREMENT IN THE REGULATION THAT AN ADVANCE OF SICK LEAVE BE DENIED. YOUR DOUBT AS TO THE PROPRIETY OF THE ADVANCE OF SICK LEAVE IN THE INSTANT CASE APPEARS TO ARISE BECAUSE OF YOUR UNDERSTANDING THAT THE EMPLOYEE DIED OF LEUKEMIA. WE POINT OUT THAT SUCH UNDERSTANDING IS AT VARIANCE WITH THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THE DEATH CERTIFICATE WHICH SHOWS HEMOCHROMATOSIS AS THE UNDERLYING CAUSE OF DEATH. OUR INFORMATION IS THAT THE DISEASES OF LEUKEMIA AND HEMOCHROMATOSIS ARE DISSIMILAR. IN ANY EVENT OUR VIEW IS THAT THE APPROVAL OF THE ADVANCE OF SICK LEAVE WAS NOT PRECLUDED BECAUSE OF THE FAILURE OF THE PHYSICIAN TO INDICATE THE NATURE OF THE EMPLOYEE'S ILLNESS. AS A MATTER OF FACT THERE IS NO INDICATION THAT THE APPROVING OFFICER WAS NOT AWARE OF THE NATURE OF THE ILLNESS.

THEREFORE, THE VOUCHER, WHICH IS RETURNED HEREWITH, PROPERLY MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT, IF OTHERWISE CORRECT.