B-16589, JULY 5, 1941, 21 COMP. GEN. 4

B-16589: Jul 5, 1941

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IN WHICH CASE THE QUARTER-DAY PERIODS ARE COMPUTED FROM THE TIME OF DEPARTURE. 1941: REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER DATED APRIL 28. MAKING RECLAIM OF PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE WHICH WAS ADMINISTRATIVELY DEDUCTED FROM HIS ACCOUNT FOR THE MONTH OF JANUARY 1941. IS RETURNED FOR FURTHER CONSIDERATION. SMITH'S HOME IS IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AND IT HAS BEEN INFORMALLY UNDERSTOOD BETWEEN HIMSELF AND THE CONCILIATION SERVICE THAT NO CLAIM FOR PER DIEM WOULD BE MADE WHILE IN WASHINGTON. WHICH SHOWS THAT WHILE HE WAS AWAY FROM HIS OFFICIAL STATION DURING THE ENTIRE MONTH HE CLAIMED PER DIEM ONLY WHILE ABSENT FROM WASHINGTON. THE VOUCHER IN QUESTION RECLAIMS PER DIEM WHICH WAS DEDUCTED FOR ABSENCES ON JANUARY 10 AND 13.

B-16589, JULY 5, 1941, 21 COMP. GEN. 4

SUBSISTENCE - PER DIEMS - FRACTIONAL DAYS AN EMPLOYEE IN A TRAVEL STATUS AWAY FROM HIS PERMANENT HEADQUARTERS FOR AN EXTENDED PERIOD OF MORE THAN 24 HOURS WHO HAD AGREED THAT NO PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE WOULD BE PAYABLE AT A CERTAIN TEMPORARY DUTY STATION MAY BE PAID ONE-FOURTH OF A PER DIEM FOR ANY PART OF THE FOUR QUARTERS OF THE CALENDAR DAY--- BEGINNING AT MIDNIGHT--- SPENT IN A TRAVEL STATUS AWAY FROM THE TEMPORARY DUTY STATION. COMPUTATION OF PER DIEM FOR CONTINUOUS TRAVEL OF LESS THAN 24 HOURS AWAY FROM A PERMANENT OFFICIAL STATION, IN WHICH CASE THE QUARTER-DAY PERIODS ARE COMPUTED FROM THE TIME OF DEPARTURE, DISTINGUISHED.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE SECRETARY OF LABOR, JULY 5, 1941:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER DATED APRIL 28, 1941, FROM THE CHIEF, DIVISION OF BUDGETS AND ACCOUNTS, DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, AS FOLLOWS:

THE ATTACHED VOUCHER OF MR. L. J. SMITH, IN THE SUM OF $2.50, MAKING RECLAIM OF PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE WHICH WAS ADMINISTRATIVELY DEDUCTED FROM HIS ACCOUNT FOR THE MONTH OF JANUARY 1941, AND WHICH HAS BEEN CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT BY YOUR OFFICE, IS RETURNED FOR FURTHER CONSIDERATION, ATTENTION BEING INVITED TO THE FOLLOWING FACTS:

MR. SMITH'S HOME IS IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AND IT HAS BEEN INFORMALLY UNDERSTOOD BETWEEN HIMSELF AND THE CONCILIATION SERVICE THAT NO CLAIM FOR PER DIEM WOULD BE MADE WHILE IN WASHINGTON, D.C. THIS FACT CAN READILY BE NOTED BY AN EXAMINATION OF HIS ACCOUNT FOR THE MONTH OF JANUARY 1941, WHICH SHOWS THAT WHILE HE WAS AWAY FROM HIS OFFICIAL STATION DURING THE ENTIRE MONTH HE CLAIMED PER DIEM ONLY WHILE ABSENT FROM WASHINGTON, D.C., AMOUNTING TO 6 3/4 DAYS. THIS ARRANGEMENT WOULD PLACE HIM IN A PER DIEM STATUS ONLY WHILE AWAY FROM HIS OFFICIAL STATION, AMARILLO, TEXAS, AND WASHINGTON, D.C.

THE VOUCHER IN QUESTION RECLAIMS PER DIEM WHICH WAS DEDUCTED FOR ABSENCES ON JANUARY 10 AND 13, 1941. ON JANUARY 10TH MR. SMITH LEFT WASHINGTON, D.C., AT 9:00 A.M., AND RETURNED THERETO AT 8:05 P.M. AND CLAIMED THREE- FOURTHS DAY. HE AGAIN WAS ALLOWED ONE-HALF DAY.

IN EACH CASE HE WAS IN A PER DIEM STATUS LESS THAN TWELVE HOURS AND IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PRACTICE WHICH HAS BEEN FOLLOWED BY THIS DEPARTMENT IN THE AUDIT AND APPROVAL OF TRAVEL VOUCHERS ONE-HALF DAY WAS ALLOWED.

IN VIEW OF THE FACTS STATED AND THE DIFFICULTIES THAT WILL BE EXPERIENCED IN ADJUSTING THE ACCOUNTS OF MANY OTHER EMPLOYEES WHOSE CLAIMS FOR PER DIEM FOR SIMILAR PERIODS HAVE BEEN HANDLED IN A LIKE MANNER, IT IS RESPECTFULLY REQUESTED THAT THIS VOUCHER BE AGAIN CAREFULLY CONSIDERED.

IF IT IS STILL YOUR OPINION THAT THIS VOUCHER SHOULD BE PAID, I WOULD APPRECIATE YOUR ADVISING ME, IN DETAIL, JUST WHERE THIS ACCOUNT DIFFERS FROM THOSE IN WHICH YOUR OFFICE HAS CONSISTENTLY HELD THAT PER DIEM FOR ABSENCES OF MORE THAN SIX HOURS AND LESS THAN TWELVE HOURS MUST BE LIMITED TO ONE-HALF DAY.

PARAGRAPH 51 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PROVIDES, IN PERTINENT PART, AS FOLLOWS:

51.DAY DEFINED.--- IN COMPUTING THE PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE FOR CONTINUOUS TRAVEL OF MORE THAN 24 HOURS THE CALENDAR DAY (MIDNIGHT TO MIDNIGHT) WILL BE THE UNIT, AND FOR FRACTIONAL PARTS OF A DAY AT THE COMMENCEMENT OR ENDING OF SUCH CONTINUOUS TRAVEL, CONSTITUTING A TRAVEL PERIOD, ONE-FOURTH OF THE RATE FOR A CALENDAR DAY WILL BE ALLOWED FOR EACH PERIOD OF SIX HOURS OR FRACTION THEREOF. FOR CONTINUOUS TRAVEL OF LESS THAN 24 HOURS, CONSTITUTING A TRAVEL PERIOD, SUCH PERIOD WILL BE REGARDED AS COMMENCING WITH THE BEGINNING OF THE TRAVEL AND ENDING WITH THE COMPLETION THEREOF, AND FOR EACH SIX-HOUR PORTION OF THE PERIOD OR FRACTION THEREOF ONE-FOURTH OF THE RATE FOR A CALENDAR DAY WILL BE ALLOWED: * * *

BY TRAVEL ORDER NO. 41-61, DATED JULY 1, 1940, L. J. SMITH WAS AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL FROM AMARILLO, TEX., TO " TAMPA, FLA., AND OTHER POINTS IN THE UNITED STATES NECESSARY TO CARRY OUT HIS ASSIGNMENTS FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1941" AND THERE WAS AUTHORIZED THEREIN A PER DIEM OF $5 "WHILE AWAY FROM HIS OFFICIAL STATION ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS.' AMARILLO, TEX., NOT WASHINGTON, D.C., IS SHOWN TO HAVE BEEN THE OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS OF MR. SMITH DURING THE PERIOD INVOLVED. SEE D.O. VOUCHER 1278198, COVERING DECEMBER 1940 EXPENSES; ALSO, D.O. VOUCHER 1465563 COVERING JANUARY 1941 EXPENSES, IN THE JANUARY 1941 AND FEBRUARY 1941 ACCOUNTS RESPECTIVELY OF G. F. ALLEN, CHIEF DISBURSING OFFICER, SYMBOL 1-100.

IN THE AUDIT OF THE RECLAIM VOUCHER HERE IN QUESTION THIS OFFICE TOOK INTO CONSIDERATION THE INFORMAL UNDERSTANDING BETWEEN MR. SMITH AND THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE THAT PER DIEM WOULD NOT BE PAYABLE WHILE HE WAS IN WASHINGTON, D.C.

THERE ARE TWO RULES STATED IN THAT PART OF PARAGRAPH 51 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, ABOVE QUOTED, FOR COMPUTING FRACTIONAL PER DIEMS: (1) COVERING CONTINUOUS TRAVEL OF MORE THAN 24 HOURS AWAY FROM THE EMPLOYEE'S OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS--- NOT WHILE AWAY FROM A TEMPORARY DUTY STATION, IN THIS CASE WASHINGTON, D.C., WHERE IT HAS BEEN AGREED NO PER DIEM WOULD BE PAYABLE--- AND (2) COVERING CONTINUOUS TRAVEL OF LESS THAN 24 HOURS AWAY FROM THE EMPLOYEE'S OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS. UNDER RULE (1) THE DAY IS DIVIDED INTO FOUR QUARTERS, VIZ, (A) FROM MIDNIGHT TO 6 A.M., (B) FROM 6 A.M. TO 12 NOON, (C) FROM 12 NOON TO 6 P.M. AND (D) FROM 6 P.M. TO MIDNIGHT. AN EMPLOYEE WHO HAS BEEN ABSENT FROM HIS OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS IN A CONTINUOUS TRAVEL STATUS FOR MORE THAN 24 HOURS IS ENTITLED TO ONE FOURTH OF THE PER DIEM ALLOWANCE FOR ABSENCE DURING ALL OR ANY FRACTION OF EACH OF THE FOUR QUARTERS OF THE CALENDAR DAY. UNDER RULE (2) THE PERIOD OF ABSENCE OF LESS THAN 24 HOURS FROM OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS IS DIVIDED INTO 6-HOUR PERIODS BEGINNING WITH THE TIME OF DEPARTURE AND ENDING WITH THE TIME OF RETURN TO OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS, AND AN EMPLOYEE IS ENTITLED TO ONE-FOURTH OF A PER DIEM FOR ABSENCE DURING EACH SUCH 6-HOUR PERIOD OR FRACTION THEREOF.

IN THE CASE OF MR. SMITH THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE APPLIED RULE (2) APPARENTLY ON THE BASIS THAT THE FRACTIONAL DAY'S ABSENCE FROM WASHINGTON, D.C., THE TEMPORARY DUTY STATION OF THE EMPLOYEE, SHOULD BE REGARDED THE SAME AS THOUGH IT WERE A FRACTIONAL DAY'S ABSENCE FROM HIS OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS, AMARILLO, TEX. THIS VIEW OF THE MATTER IS INCORRECT. AS MR. SMITH HAD BEEN IN A TRAVEL STATUS AWAY FROM HIS OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS AT AMARILLO, TEX., FOR AN EXTENDED PERIOD OF MORE THAN 24 HOURS HE WAS ENTITLED TO ONE-FOURTH OF PER DIEM FOR ANY PART OF THE FOUR QUARTERS OF THE CALENDAR DAYS JANUARY 10 AND 13, 1941, HE SPENT IN A TRAVEL STATUS AWAY FROM WASHINGTON, D.C., AT WHICH IT WAS AGREED NO PER DIEM WOULD BE PAYABLE. IN OTHER WORDS, RULE (1) RATHER THAN RULE (2) STATED IN PARAGRAPH 51 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS IS PROPERLY APPLICABLE IN THIS CASE. 18 COMP. GEN. 701, 702. AS HE WAS ABSENT FROM WASHINGTON, D.C., ON JANUARY 10 AND 13 DURING THREE-QUARTERS OF EACH OF THE CALENDAR DAYS, TO WIT, A PART OF THE SECOND QUARTER, 6 A.M. TO 12 NOON, ALL OF THE THIRD QUARTER, 12 NOON TO 6 P.M., AND A PART OF THE FOURTH QUARTER, 6 P.M. TO 12 MIDNIGHT, HE IS ENTITLED TO THREE-FOURTHS OF A PER DIEM FOR EACH OF THOSE DAYS.

THE CASE OF ROBERT C. FOX REFERRED TO BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE IN THE REPLY DATED MARCH 24, 1941, TO PREAUDIT DIFFERENCE STATEMENT DATED FEBRUARY 10, 1941, REGARDING THE PRESENT VOUCHER, IS DIFFERENT. SEE D.O. VOUCHER NO. 702193, IN THE OCTOBER 1940 ACCOUNTS OF G. F. ALLEN, CHIEF DISBURSING OFFICER, SYMBOL 1-100. MR. FOX LEFT HIS OFFICIAL STATION SEPTEMBER 9 AT 10 A.M. AND RETURNED THERETO SEPTEMBER 10, 1940, AT 9:50 A.M., A CONTINUOUS TRAVEL OF LESS THAN 24 HOURS BY 10 MINUTES, FOR WHICH, UNDER RULE (2) STATED IN PARAGRAPH 51 OF THE STANDARDIZED TRAVEL REGULATIONS ABOVE QUOTED, HE WAS PROPERLY PAID ONE FOURTH OF A PER DIEM FOR EACH 6-HOUR PERIOD COMPUTED FROM THE TIME OF DEPARTURE TO THE TIME OF RETURN, OR A TOTAL OF 1 DAY. THE DIFFERENCE LIES IN THE FACT THAT MR. FOX WAS ACTUALLY IN A TRAVEL STATUS FROM HIS OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS FOR LESS THAN 24 HOURS, WHEREAS, MR. SMITH WAS ABSENT FROM HIS OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS, AMARILLO, TEX., IN A TRAVEL STATUS FOR AN EXTENDED PERIOD OF MORE THAN 24 HOURS. WHILE, BECAUSE OF THE INFORMAL AGREEMENT WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, NO PER DIEM WAS CLAIMED BY MR. SMITH FOR THE TIME SPENT IN WASHINGTON, D.C., HIS TEMPORARY DUTY STATION, THAT CIRCUMSTANCE ALONE IS NOT SUFFICIENT TO ESTABLISH THAT HE WAS NOT IN A TRAVEL STATUS MORE THAN 24 HOURS AWAY FROM HIS OFFICIAL STATION AT AMARILLO, TEX.

ACCORDINGLY, THE AUDIT ACTION ON THE RECLAIM VOUCHER IN FAVOR OF MR. SMITH WAS CORRECT. THE VOUCHER WILL BE RETURNED IN DUE COURSE THROUGH THE USUAL CHANNELS, PAYMENT THEREON BEING AUTHORIZED.