B-160130, OCTOBER 20, 1966, 46 COMP. GEN. 346

B-160130: Oct 20, 1966

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SALARY AND COMPENSATION ARE DETERMINED UNDER THE CONFERENCE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT MAY NOT BE INTERPRETED AS 52 WEEKS INSTEAD OF A CALENDAR YEAR IN ORDER TO OVERCOME THE ADMINISTRATIVE PROBLEMS CREATED BY THE DIFFERENT WAITING PERIODS USED BY THE GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE IN DETERMINING THE ENTITLEMENT OF OTHER THAN EMPLOYEES UNDER THE KIESS ACT TO PAY INCREASES. COMPENSATION UNDER THE ACT IS NOT SUBJECT TO CHANGE PRIOR TO THE EXPIRATION OF 1 YEAR FROM THE DATE RATES WERE LAST DETERMINED. COMPENSATION EITHER PARTY IS HEREBY GRANTED THE RIGHT OF APPEAL TO THE JOINT COMMITTEE ON PRINTING. YOU STATE: SO FAR AS WE ARE AWARE. OR OF THE DECISION OF THE JOINT COMMITTEE ON PRINTING WHEN AN APPEAL IS TAKEN.

B-160130, OCTOBER 20, 1966, 46 COMP. GEN. 346

GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE - EMPLOYEES - PROMOTIONS UNDER KIESS ACT - EFFECTIVE DATE. THE 1-YEAR INTERVAL BETWEEN WAGE INCREASES PROVIDED BY THE KIESS ACT (44 U.S.C. 40) FOR EMPLOYEES IN THE PRINTING TRADES WHOSE WAGES, SALARY AND COMPENSATION ARE DETERMINED UNDER THE CONFERENCE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT MAY NOT BE INTERPRETED AS 52 WEEKS INSTEAD OF A CALENDAR YEAR IN ORDER TO OVERCOME THE ADMINISTRATIVE PROBLEMS CREATED BY THE DIFFERENT WAITING PERIODS USED BY THE GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE IN DETERMINING THE ENTITLEMENT OF OTHER THAN EMPLOYEES UNDER THE KIESS ACT TO PAY INCREASES, THE TERM "YEAR" COVERING THE PERIOD FROM A GIVEN DATE IN 1 YEAR TO THE CLOSE OF THE IMMEDIATELY PRECEDING DATE IN THE FOLLOWING YEAR, IN THE ABSENCE OF AN INDICATION TO THE CONTRARY, COMPENSATION UNDER THE ACT IS NOT SUBJECT TO CHANGE PRIOR TO THE EXPIRATION OF 1 YEAR FROM THE DATE RATES WERE LAST DETERMINED.

TO THE PUBLIC PRINTER, UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE, OCTOBER 20, 1966:

YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 23, 1966, REQUESTS OUR DECISION ON A MATTER INVOLVING APPLICATION OF THE ACT OF JUNE 7, 1924 (THE KIESS ACT), 43 STAT. 658, 44 U.S.C. 40, WHICH PROVIDES IN PERTINENT PART, AS FOLLOWS:

* * * THE RATES OF WAGES, INCLUDING COMPENSATION FOR NIGHT AND OVERTIME WORK, FOR MORE THAN TEN EMPLOYEES OF THE SAME OCCUPATION SHALL BE DETERMINED BY A CONFERENCE BETWEEN THE PUBLIC PRINTER AND A COMMITTEE SELECTED BY THE TRADES AFFECTED, AND THE RATES AND COMPENSATION SO AGREED UPON SHALL BECOME EFFECTIVE UPON APPROVAL BY THE JOINT COMMITTEE ON PRINTING; IF THE PUBLIC PRINTER AND THE COMMITTEE REPRESENTING ANY TRADE FAIL TO AGREE AS TO WAGES, SALARIES, AND COMPENSATION EITHER PARTY IS HEREBY GRANTED THE RIGHT OF APPEAL TO THE JOINT COMMITTEE ON PRINTING, AND THE DECISION OF SAID COMMITTEE SHALL BE FINAL; THE WAGES, SALARIES, AND COMPENSATION DETERMINED AS PROVIDED HEREIN SHALL NOT BE SUBJECT TO CHANGE OFTENER THAN ONCE A YEAR THEREAFTER. * * * (ITALICS SUPPLIED.)

WITH RESPECT TO THE LANGUAGE UNDERSCORED ABOVE, YOU STATE:

SO FAR AS WE ARE AWARE, THIS LANGUAGE HAS NOT BEEN CONSTRUED BY YOU OR YOUR PREDECESSORS. HOWEVER, IT HAS CONSISTENTLY BEEN INTERPRETED BY THE PUBLIC PRINTERS AS FIXING THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF WAGE INCREASE AGREEMENTS FOR JOURNEYMEN AND APPRENTICES TO THE ANNIVERSARY DATE OF THE PRIOR AGREEMENT, OR OF THE DECISION OF THE JOINT COMMITTEE ON PRINTING WHEN AN APPEAL IS TAKEN. THESE ANNIVERSARY DATES VARY AS BETWEEN THE DIFFERENT TRADES AFFECTED, AND, SINCE THEY WILL ONLY ACCIDENTLY COINCIDE WITH THE BEGINNING OF A BIWEEKLY PAY PERIOD, REPEATED DISRUPTIONS OF PAYROLL ROUTINES ARE NECESSARY TO ACCOMMODATE THE CHANGES.

YOU POINT OUT THAT THE GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE EMPLOYS MANY INDIVIDUALS WHOSE COMPENSATION IS NOT DETERMINED UNDER THE CONFERENCE PROVISIONS OF THE KIESS ACT. WITH RESPECT TO SUCH EMPLOYEES, ALL INCREASES IN COMPENSATION ARE MADE EFFECTIVE AT THE BEGINNING OF THE FIRST PAY PERIOD FOLLOWING COMPLETION OF THE REQUIRED PERIOD OF SERVICE WHICH FOR SOME EMPLOYEES IS A FULL CALENDAR YEAR, AND FOR OTHER EMPLOYEES A MINIMUM OF 52 WEEKS. ALSO, THERE ARE OTHER EMPLOYEES WHO RECEIVE SALARY INCREASES IN A MANNER SIMILAR TO THAT PRESCRIBED BY THE CLASSIFICATION ACT, 5 U. S. C. 5101 NOTE---THAT IS, AT THE BEGINNING OF THE NEXT PAY PERIOD FOLLOWING THE COMPLETION OF 52, 104 OR 156 WEEKS OF SERVICE.

YOUR LETTER CONTINUES AS FOLLOWS:

THE USE OF DIFFERENT WAITING PERIODS IN DETERMINING ENTITLEMENT TO PAY INCREASES, AND PARTICULARLY THE PRACTICE OF EFFECTING INCREASES WITHIN PAY PERIODS, COMPLICATES AND INCREASES THE COSTS OF PERSONNEL ADMINISTRATION AND PAYROLLING. WE ALSO THINK THAT DISPARITIES ARE CREATED WHICH ARE DEMORALIZING TO EMPLOYEES ADVERSELY AFFECTED. WE RECOGNIZE THAT IT MAY BE POSSIBLE TO EFFECT PARTIAL CORRECTION OF THESE DEFICIENCES THROUGH CHANGES IN FUTURE AGREEMENTS WITH THE TRADES GROUPS AND BY DELAYING INCREASES TO THE BEGINNING OF THE NEXT PAY PERIOD. THIS, HOWEVER, WOULD RESULT IN SERIOUS EMPLOYEE MANAGEMENT RELATIONS PROBLEMS WITH THE CRAFTSMEN INVOLVED AND THE UNIONS WHICH REPRESENT THEM. WE BELIEVE THAT OPTIMUM BENEFIT IN TERMS OF A MORE EFFICIENT PAYROLLING OPERATION AND COST REDUCTION WILL BE REALIZED ONLY BY INTERPRETING THE ONE-YEAR INTERVAL BETWEEN WAGE INCREASES AS BEING 52 WEEKS INSTEAD OF A CALENDAR YEAR. ACCORDINGLY, WITH YOUR APPROVAL, WE PROPOSE TO RECOMMEND THE ADOPTION OF THIS INTERPRETATION TO THE JOINT COMMITTEE ON PRINTING. WE DO NOT ANTICIPATE THAT THERE WILL BE ANY APPRECIABLE EFFECT ON PAYROLL COSTS.

OUR OFFICE PREVIOUSLY HAS RENDERED A DECISION INVOLVING CONSTRUCTION OF THE STATUTORY LANGUAGE HERE INVOLVED. IN OUR DECISION B 37664, OCTOBER 26, 1943, WE ADVISED THE PUBLIC PRINTER AS FOLLOWS:

* * * THE ONLY REASONABLE CONSTRUCTION OR INTERPRETATION OF THE LANGUAGE USED IN THE STATUTE IS THAT WHEN A FINAL DETERMINATION IS MADE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT, THE WAGES, SALARIES, AND COMPENSATION AS THUS DETERMINED SHALL NOT BE SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHIN ONE YEAR THEREAFTER.

THE TERM "YEAR" IN THE ABSENCE OF AN INDICATION TO THE CONTRARY, NORMALLY IS CONSTRUED AS COVERING THE PERIOD FROM A GIVEN DATE IN ONE YEAR TO THE CLOSE OF THE IMMEDIATELY PRECEDING DATE IN THE FOLLOWING YEAR.

WHILE WE APPRECIATE THAT THERE ARE ADMINISTRATIVE PROBLEMS INVOLVED UNDER THE CURRENT PROCEDURE WE, NEVERTHELESS, BELIEVE THAT THE DECISION OF OCTOBER 26, ABOVE, CORRECTLY INTERPRETS THE LANGUAGE USED IN THE ACT. THEREFORE, WE CANNOT SANCTION THE ADOPTION OF A PROPOSAL WHICH WOULD PERMIT RATES OF WAGES, SALARY, AND COMPENSATION DETERMINED UNDER THE CONFERENCE PROVISION OF THE KIESS ACT TO BE SUBJECT TO CHANGE PRIOR TO THE EXPIRATION OF 1 YEAR FROM THE DATE SUCH RATES WERE LAST DETERMINED.