B-164005, JUL. 11, 1968

B-164005: Jul 11, 1968

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SECRETARY: REFERENCE IS MADE TO THE LETTER OF APRIL 10. WHICH WERE DERIVED FROM SECTION 407 (B). THE PROVISIONS OF 5 U.S.C. 5902 ARE AS FOLLOWS: "NOTWITHSTANDING SECTION 5901 OF THIS TITLE. FOR THE RESPECTIVE CATEGORIES OF EMPLOYEES TO WHOM UNIFORM ALLOWANCES ARE PAID UNDER SECTION 5901 OF THIS TITLE ARE INCREASED. AS FOLLOWS: "/1) IF THE MAXIMUM UNIFORM ALLOWANCE IS $100 OR MORE. IT IS INCREASED BY 25 PERCENT. "/2) IF THE MAXIMUM UNIFORM ALLOWANCE IS $75 OR MORE BUT LESS THAN $100. IT IS INCREASED BY 30 PERCENT. "/3) IF THE MAXIMUM UNIFORM ALLOWANCE IS $50 OR MORE BUT LESS THAN $75. IT IS INCREASED BY 35 PERCENT. "/4) IF THE MAXIMUM UNIFORM ALLOWANCE IS LESS THAN $50. IT IS INCREASED BY 40 PERCENT.

B-164005, JUL. 11, 1968

TO MR. SECRETARY:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO THE LETTER OF APRIL 10, 1968, FROM YOUR ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR ADMINISTRATION, REQUESTING OUR DECISION ON CERTAIN QUESTIONS CONCERNING UNIFORM ALLOWANCES OR THE FURNISHING OF UNIFORMS TO EMPLOYEES OF THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE IN VIEW OF THE PROVISIONS OF 5 U.S.C. 5902, WHICH WERE DERIVED FROM SECTION 407 (B), PUBLIC LAW 89-504, 80 STAT. 299.

THE PROVISIONS OF 5 U.S.C. 5902 ARE AS FOLLOWS:

"NOTWITHSTANDING SECTION 5901 OF THIS TITLE, EACH OF THE RESPECTIVE MAXIMUM UNIFORM ALLOWANCES IN EFFECT ON APRIL 1, 1966, FOR THE RESPECTIVE CATEGORIES OF EMPLOYEES TO WHOM UNIFORM ALLOWANCES ARE PAID UNDER SECTION 5901 OF THIS TITLE ARE INCREASED, SUBJECT TO THE MAXIMUM ALLOWANCE AUTHORIZED BY SECTION 5901 OF THIS TITLE, AS FOLLOWS:

"/1) IF THE MAXIMUM UNIFORM ALLOWANCE IS $100 OR MORE, IT IS INCREASED BY 25 PERCENT.

"/2) IF THE MAXIMUM UNIFORM ALLOWANCE IS $75 OR MORE BUT LESS THAN $100, IT IS INCREASED BY 30 PERCENT.

"/3) IF THE MAXIMUM UNIFORM ALLOWANCE IS $50 OR MORE BUT LESS THAN $75, IT IS INCREASED BY 35 PERCENT.

"/4) IF THE MAXIMUM UNIFORM ALLOWANCE IS LESS THAN $50, IT IS INCREASED BY 40 PERCENT.

THE MAXIMUM UNIFORM ALLOWANCES, AS IN EFFECT ON APRIL 1, 1966, AND AS INCREASED BY THIS SECTION, MAY NOT BE REDUCED.'

THE QUESTIONS YOU PRESENT ARE AS FOLLOWS:

(1)IF THE GOVERNMENT IS CURRENTLY FURNISHING UNIFORM ITEMS SUCH AS EIGHT PAIRS OF HOSE, DOES THE ACT PERMIT THE REDUCING THE ALLOWANCE TO FOUR PAIRS OR DISCONTINUING THIS ITEM ENTIRELY?

(2) IF THE GOVERNMENT IS CURRENTLY FURNISHING (PAYING) A UNIFORM ALLOWANCE, DOES THE ACT PERMIT THE GOVERNMENT TO FURNISH UNIFORM ITEMS RATHER THAN THE UNIFORM ALLOWANCE EVEN THOUGH THE FAIR MARKET VALUE OF THE UNIFORM ITEMS IS LESS THAN THE CURRENT ALLOWANCE?

IN OUR DECISION B-160751, FEBRUARY 15, 1967, COPY HEREWITH, CONCERNING THE MANDATORY INCREASES AUTHORIZED BY THE ABOVE PROVISIONS, WE RULED THAT IF AN AGENCY HEAD DETERMINES TO CONTINUE TO PAY UNIFORM ALLOWANCES INSTEAD OF FURNISHING UNIFORMS IN KIND, THE ALLOWANCES IN EFFECT ON APRIL 1, 1966, MUST BE INCREASED BY THE PERCENTAGES PRESCRIBED THEREIN, NOT TO EXCEED $125 PER YEAR, REGARDLESS OF WHETHER THERE BE INVOLVED AN INITIAL OR REPLACEMENT ALLOWANCE. WE ALSO NOTED THAT, AS POINTED OUT IN SUBSECTION "D" OF SECTION 6 OF BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-30, REVISED AUGUST 20, 1966, PUBLIC LAW 89-504 DOES NOT DIVEST AN AGENCY HEAD OF DISCRETION TO FURNISH UNIFORMS IN KIND AS OTHERWISE PRESCRIBED IF DETERMINED TO BE IN THE INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT.

IN VIEW OF THE ABOVE, BOTH OF YOUR QUESTIONS ARE ANSWERED IN THE AFFIRMATIVE.