B-160490, DEC. 23, 1966

B-160490: Dec 23, 1966

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WHEN YOU WERE CARRIED IN AN ABSENT WITHOUT LEAVE STATUS (AWOL). YOUR CLAIM WAS DISALLOWED BECAUSE OF INFORMATION FROM THE PERSONNEL OFFICIALS OF PICATINNY ARSENAL THAT PRIOR TO MARCH 13. YOU HAD BEEN REQUESTED TO CALL IN WHEN YOU WERE GOING TO BE ABSENT AND WERE ADVISED THAT FUTURE FAILURE TO FOLLOW THIS REQUEST WOULD RESULT IN YOUR BEING CARRIED IN AN AWOL STATUS. YOU WERE REQUESTED TO FURNISH A DOCTOR'S CERTIFICATION TO SUPPORT YOUR STATEMENT BUT FAILED TO DO SO AND WERE PLACED IN AN AWOL STATUS FOR MARCH 13. IN YOUR LETTER YOU SAY THAT UNDER THE CIVIL SERVICE REGULATIONS CERTIFICATION FROM PHYSICIANS ARE NOT REQUIRED FOR ILLNESSES OF THREE DAYS OR LESS. IT IS A LONG ESTABLISHED RULE OF THE GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTING OFFICES THAT IN THE ABSENCE OF SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE TO OVERCOME THE PRESUMPTION OF THE CORRECTNESS OF THE FACTS AS ADMINISTRATIVE REPORTED.

B-160490, DEC. 23, 1966

TO MR. JOHN J. RYZNER, JR.:

THIS REFERS TO YOUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 20, 1966, CERTIFIED MAIL NO. 781465, REQUESTING RECONSIDERATION OF OUR OFFICE SETTLEMENT OF NOVEMBER 9, 1966, WHICH DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM FOR ONE DAY'S PAY FOR MARCH 13, 1963, WHEN YOU WERE CARRIED IN AN ABSENT WITHOUT LEAVE STATUS (AWOL), AS AN EMPLOYEE OF THE PYROTECHNICS LABORATORY, PICATINNY ARSENAL, DOVER, NEW JERSEY.

YOUR CLAIM WAS DISALLOWED BECAUSE OF INFORMATION FROM THE PERSONNEL OFFICIALS OF PICATINNY ARSENAL THAT PRIOR TO MARCH 13, 1963, YOU HAD BEEN REQUESTED TO CALL IN WHEN YOU WERE GOING TO BE ABSENT AND WERE ADVISED THAT FUTURE FAILURE TO FOLLOW THIS REQUEST WOULD RESULT IN YOUR BEING CARRIED IN AN AWOL STATUS. ON MARCH 13, 1963, YOU FAILED TO REPORT FOR DUTY AND DID NOT CALL IN. ON MARCH 14, 1963, YOU ADVISED YOUR OFFICE THAT YOU HAD BEEN ILL THE DAY BEFORE AND HAD VISITED A DOCTOR. YOU WERE REQUESTED TO FURNISH A DOCTOR'S CERTIFICATION TO SUPPORT YOUR STATEMENT BUT FAILED TO DO SO AND WERE PLACED IN AN AWOL STATUS FOR MARCH 13, 1963.

IN YOUR LETTER YOU SAY THAT UNDER THE CIVIL SERVICE REGULATIONS CERTIFICATION FROM PHYSICIANS ARE NOT REQUIRED FOR ILLNESSES OF THREE DAYS OR LESS. YOU ALSO SAY THAT YOU HAD NO SUCH INFORMATION AS REPORTED BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE AND CITED IN OUR OFFICE SETTLEMENT OF NOVEMBER 9, 1966.

IT IS A LONG ESTABLISHED RULE OF THE GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTING OFFICES THAT IN THE ABSENCE OF SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE TO OVERCOME THE PRESUMPTION OF THE CORRECTNESS OF THE FACTS AS ADMINISTRATIVE REPORTED, THOSE FACTS WILL BE ACCEPTED AS CORRECT WHEN THEY CONFLICT WITH THE STATEMENT OF FACTS SUBMITTED BY THE CLAIMANT. 37 COMP. GEN. 568, 570. YOU HAVE NOT SUBMITTED EVIDENCE IN THE PRESENT CASE THAT WOULD OVERCOME THE FACTS AS PRESENTED BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE.

THE ANNUAL AND SICK LEAVE ACT OF 1951, 65 STAT. 679, AS AMENDED, PROVIDES IN PART AS FOLLOWS:

"SEC. 204. (A) OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES TO WHOM THIS TITLE APPLIES SHALL BE ENTITLED TO SICK LEAVE WITH PAY, WHICH SHALL ACCRUE ON THE BASIS ON ONE -HALF DAY FOR EACH FULL BIWEEKLY PAY PERIOD. * * *"

"SEC. 206. THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION IS AUTHORIZED TO PRESCRIBE SUCH RULES AND REGULATIONS AS MAY BE NECESSARY TO PROVIDE FOR THE ADMINISTRATION OF THIS TITLE.'

SECTION 30.401 OF THE ANNUAL AND SICK LEAVE REGULATIONS, DATED JULY 3, 1962, IN EFFECT AT THE TIME OF YOUR ABSENCE PROVIDED, IN PART, AS FOLLOWS:

"SEC. 30.401. GRANT OF SICK LEAVE. SICK LEAVE SHALL BE GRANTED TO EMPLOYEES WHEN THEY ARE INCAPACITATED FOR THE PERFORMANCE OF THEIR DUTIES BY SICKNESS, INJURY, OR PREGNANCY AND CONFINEMENT * * *.'

SECTION 30.403 OF THE ANNUAL AND SICK LEAVE REGULATIONS PROVIDED AS FOLLOWS:

"SEC. 30.403. SUPPORTING EVIDENCE. ANY GRANT OF SICK LEAVE IN EXCESS OF 3 WORK DAYS MUST BE SUPPORTED BY A MEDICAL CERTIFICATE, OR OTHER EVIDENCE ADMINISTRATIVELY ACCEPTABLE. FOR PERIODS OF ABSENCE OF 3 WORK DAYS OR LESS THE AGENCY MAY ACCEPT THE EMPLOYEE'S CERTIFICATION AS TO THE REASON FOR THE ABSENCE.'

WHILE THE ACT AND REGULATIONS REQUIRE THE GRANTING OF SICK LEAVE WHEN EMPLOYEES ARE INCAPACITATED FOR THE PERFORMANCE OF DUTY, IT IS INCUMBENT UPON THE EMPLOYEE TO ESTABLISH THE FACT OF HIS INCAPACITATION. WHEN THE ABSENCE DUE TO INCAPACITATION IS THREE DAYS OR LESS THE REGULATIONS OF THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION PERMIT THE EMPLOYING AGENCY TO ACCEPT THE EMPLOYEE'S CERTIFICATION OF THE FACT OF HIS INCAPACITATION. HOWEVER, NEITHER THE ACT NOR THE REGULATIONS MAKE IT MANDATORY THAT THE EMPLOYING AGENCY ACCEPT AN EMPLOYEE'S CERTIFICATION. ON THE CONTRARY, THE REGULATIONS APPEAR TO CONTEMPLATE THAT IT IS WITHIN THE DISCRETION OF THE EMPLOYING AGENCY TO REQUIRE THE SUBMISSION OF A MEDICAL CERTIFICATE OR OTHER REASONABLE EVIDENCE OF INCAPACITATION FROM AN EMPLOYEE FOR ABSENCE OF LESS THAN THREE DAYS.

ON THE BASIS OF THE FOREGOING WE HAVE NO ALTERNATIVE BUT TO SUSTAIN THE DISALLOWANCE OF YOUR CLAIM.