B-165779, JANUARY 21, 1969, 48 COMP. GEN. 486

B-165779: Jan 21, 1969

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EVEN THOUGH THIS INTENT IS DIRECTED TOWARDS MOVEMENT IN ONLY ONE DIRECTION. THERE IS NOTHING TO INDICATE THAT CONGRESS INTENDED TO BAR THE MOVEMENT OF LEAVE FOR USDA EMPLOYEES MOVING TO ASCS COUNTY POSITIONS. THE EMPLOYEE WOULD SUFFER A SEVERE PENALTY IF HE WAS UNABLE TO TRANSFER HIS SICK AND ANNUAL LEAVE BALANCES BACK WITH HIM TO HIS COUNTY EMPLOYMENT. 2. IT IS OUR BELIEF THAT THE SICK AND ANNUAL LEAVE TRANSFERRED WITH AN EMPLOYEE MOVING FROM AN ASCS COUNTY OFFICE TO A USDA FEDERAL POSITION BECOMES FEDERAL EMPLOYEE LEAVE FOR ALL PURPOSES. THE EMPLOYEE WILL TRANSFER WITH HIM ALL LEAVE ACCRUALS INCLUDING LEAVE WHICH MAY HAVE BEEN EARNED IN A COUNTY OFFICE. THE CONFUSION AND ADDITIONAL WORK RELATED TO MAINTAINING DUAL LEAVE RECORDS WAS NOT.

B-165779, JANUARY 21, 1969, 48 COMP. GEN. 486

AGRICULTURE DEPARTMENT - EMPLOYEES - TRANSFERS - LEAVE ACCRUALS AN EMPLOYEE TRANSFERRING WITHOUT A BREAK IN SERVICE WHETHER BETWEEN FEDERAL SERVICE EMPLOYMENT IN THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE AND AGRICULTURAL STABILIZATION AND CONSERVATION SERVICE COUNTRY COMMITTEE EMPLOYMENT OR FROM COUNTY COMMITTEE EMPLOYMENT TO THE DEPARTMENT'S FEDERAL SERVICE MAY TRANSFER HIS ANNUAL AND SICK LEAVE ACCRUALS TO THE NEW POSITION, PUBLIC LAW 90-367, APPROVED JUNE 20, 1968, PERMITTING THE RECIPROCAL TRANSFER OF LEAVE BETWEEN THE COUNTY COMMITTEE AND DEPARTMENTAL SERVICES. AGRICULTURE DEPARTMENT - EMPLOYEES - COUNTY COMMITTEE PERSONNEL - TRANSFERS AN AGRICULTURAL STABILIZATION AND CONSERVATION SERVICE COUNTY COMMITTEE EMPLOYEE MOVING TO A UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE FEDERAL SERVICE POSITION, UPON SUBSEQUENT TRANSFER TO OTHER FEDERAL EMPLOYMENT MAY TRANSFER HIS ANNUAL AND SICK LEAVE ACCRUALS, INCLUDING THE LEAVE EARNED IN A COUNTY COMMITTEE OFFICE. THE LEAVE ACCRUALS TRANSFERRED FROM THE COUNTY COMMITTEE SERVICE TO THE DEPARTMENT'S FEDERAL SERVICE UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF PUBLIC LAW 90-367, APPROVED JUNE 29, 1968, MAY BE TREATED AS EARNED IN FEDERAL EMPLOYMENT FOR TRANSFER PURPOSES TO OTHER FEDERAL EMPLOYMENT.

TO THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE, JANUARY 21, 1969:

THE LETTER OF DECEMBER 9, 1968, FROM YOUR ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR ADMINISTRATION REQUESTS OUR DECISION ON TWO QUESTIONS CONCERNING LEAVE BENEFITS OF EMPLOYEES TRANSFERRING BETWEEN EMPLOYMENT WITH ASC COUNTY COMMITTEES AND FEDERAL EMPLOYMENT WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE AND VICE VERSA UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF PUBLIC LAW 90-367. THE QUESTIONS PRESENTED WITH THE ADMINISTRATIVE DISCUSSION OF THE PROBLEMS INVOLVED READ AS FOLLOWS:

1. DOES SICK AND ANNUAL LEAVE TRANSFER WITH A USDA FEDERAL EMPLOYEE WHEN HE MOVES WITHOUT A BREAK IN SERVICE TO AGRICULTURAL STABILIZATION AND CONSERVATION SERVICE COUNTY EMPLOYMENT?

THE LEGISLATIVE HISTORY OF PL 90-367 CLEARLY REFLECTS CONGRESSIONAL INTENT TO CORRECT INEQUITIES RELATING TO THE MOVEMENT OF ASCS COUNTY EMPLOYEES TO USDA FEDERAL POSITIONS. EVEN THOUGH THIS INTENT IS DIRECTED TOWARDS MOVEMENT IN ONLY ONE DIRECTION, THERE IS NOTHING TO INDICATE THAT CONGRESS INTENDED TO BAR THE MOVEMENT OF LEAVE FOR USDA EMPLOYEES MOVING TO ASCS COUNTY POSITIONS. THE LAW PROVIDES THAT TRANSFER OF LEAVE BETWEEN LEAVE SYSTEMS PROVIDED BY SECTION 6308 OF TITLE 5, U.S.C. SHALL APPLY TO THE LEAVE SYSTEM ESTABLISHED FOR THESE EMPLOYEES. SINCE THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 6308 PERMIT TRANSFER OF LEAVE IN BOTH DIRECTIONS, THIS WOULD INDICATE THAT CONGRESS INTENDED A RECIPROCAL SYSTEM OF TRANSFERS. FURTHERMORE, TO RESTRICT LEAVE TRANSFER ONLY FROM THE ASCS COUNTY LEAVE SYSTEM WOULD CREATE HARDSHIPS AND INEQUITIES NOT INTENDED BY THE CONGRESS. FOR EXAMPLE: AN ASCS COUNTY EMPLOYEE WHO MOVES WITHOUT A BREAK IN SERVICE TO A USDA LEAVE EARNING POSITION WOULD TRANSFER HIS SICK AND ANNUAL LEAVE. IN SOME SUCH CASES THE EMPLOYEE, BECAUSE OF PERSONAL OR OFFICIAL REASONS, FINDS IT NECESSARY AFTER A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME TO RETURN TO ASCS COUNTY EMPLOYMENT. IN SUCH AN EVENT, THE EMPLOYEE WOULD SUFFER A SEVERE PENALTY IF HE WAS UNABLE TO TRANSFER HIS SICK AND ANNUAL LEAVE BALANCES BACK WITH HIM TO HIS COUNTY EMPLOYMENT.

2. IF AN ASCS COUNTY EMPLOYEE MOVES TO A USDA FEDERAL POSITION AND SUBSEQUENTLY TRANSFERS TO ANOTHER DEPARTMENT, MAY SICK AND ANNUAL LEAVE BE TRANSFERRED AS A RESULT OF THE SUBSEQUENT TRANSFER?

IT IS OUR BELIEF THAT THE SICK AND ANNUAL LEAVE TRANSFERRED WITH AN EMPLOYEE MOVING FROM AN ASCS COUNTY OFFICE TO A USDA FEDERAL POSITION BECOMES FEDERAL EMPLOYEE LEAVE FOR ALL PURPOSES. THUS, UPON SUBSEQUENT TRANSFER, THE EMPLOYEE WILL TRANSFER WITH HIM ALL LEAVE ACCRUALS INCLUDING LEAVE WHICH MAY HAVE BEEN EARNED IN A COUNTY OFFICE. IF THE LEAVE EARNED DURING COUNTY OFFICE EMPLOYMENT CANNOT BE TRANSFERRED WITH THE EMPLOYEE, IT WOULD CREATE HARDSHIPS AND INEQUITIES PREVIOUSLY STATED AND PLACE AN UNUSUAL ADMINISTRATIVE PROBLEM UPON THIS DEPARTMENT. IT WOULD BE NECESSARY TO MAINTAIN DUAL LEAVE ACCOUNTS SO LONG AS THE COUNTY LEAVE EARNINGS REMAINED TO THE CREDIT OF THE EMPLOYEE. IN THE CASE OF SICK LEAVE, THIS SITUATION COULD CONTINUE FOR MANY YEARS. THE CONFUSION AND ADDITIONAL WORK RELATED TO MAINTAINING DUAL LEAVE RECORDS WAS NOT, IN OUR OPINION, INTENDED BY CONGRESS BY THE ENACTMENT OF PL 90-367.

SECTION 2 (A) OF PUBLIC LAW 90-367, APPROVED JUNE 29, 1968, AMENDED SUBCHAPTER I OF CHAPTER 63 OF TITLE 5, U.S.C. BY ADDING THE FOLLOWING NEW SECTION: SEC. 6312. ACCRUAL AND ACCUMULATION FOR FORMER ASCS COUNTY OFFICE EMPLOYEES

SERVICE RENDERED AS AN EMPLOYEE OF A COUNTY COMMITTEE ESTABLISHED PURSUANT TO SECTION 8 (B) OF THE SOIL CONSERVATION AND DOMESTIC ALLOTMENT ACT (16 U.S.C. 590H (B) (, OR OF A COMMITTEE OR AN ASSOCIATION OF PRODUCERS DESCRIBED IN SECTION 10 (B) OF THE AGRICULTURAL ADJUSTMENT ACT OF MAY 12, 1933 (48 STAT. 37), SHALL BE INCLUDED IN DETERMINING YEARS OF SERVICE FOR THE PURPOSE OF SECTION 6303 (A) OF THIS TITLE IN THE CASE OF ANY OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE IN OR UNDER THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE. THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 6308 OF THIS TITLE FOR TRANSFER OF ANNUAL AND SICK LEAVE BETWEEN LEAVE SYSTEMS SHALL APPLY TO THE LEAVE SYSTEM ESTABLISHED FOR SUCH EMPLOYEES.

IN THE ABSENCE OF ANY INDICATION IN THE LEGISLATIVE HISTORY OF THE ENACTMENT TO THE CONTRARY WE AGREE THAT THE LANGUAGE OF 5 U.S.C. 6308, AS AMENDED BY THAT ENACTMENT NOW AUTHORIZES THE TRANSFER OF ANNUAL AND SICK LEAVE TO COUNTY COMMITTEE EMPLOYEMNT FROM DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE (FEDERAL) EMPLOYMENT AS WELL AS IN GOING FROM COUNTY COMMITTEE EMPLOYMENT TO FEDERAL EMPLOYMENT BY THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE. QUESTION 1 IS ANSWERED IN THE AFFIRMATIVE.

WITH RESPECT TO QUESTION 2 WE SEE NO REASON WHY THE LEAVE AUTHORIZED TO BE TRANSFERRED BY THE FOREGOING LEGISLATION UPON FEDERAL EMPLOYMENT MAY NOT BE TREATED AS THOUGH EARNED IN FEDERAL EMPLOYMENT FOR TRANSFER PURPOSES TO OTHER FEDERAL EMPLOYMENT. QUESTION 2 IS ALSO ANSWERED IN THE AFFIRMATIVE.