B-169938, JUN. 24, 1970

B-169938: Jun 24, 1970

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

IT IS CONTEMPLATED THAT POST OFFICES WILL BE OPEN ON FRIDAY BUT CLOSED ON JULY 4. YOUR OBJECTIVE IS LIMITED TO HAVING THE DEPARTMENTAL INSTRUCTIONS FOR HOLIDAY LEAVE STATE. POSTMASTERS ARE EXCUSED FROM DUTY ON THE FRIDAY IMMEDIATELY PRECEDING THE SAID HOLIDAY WITHOUT CHARGE TO THEIR ANNUAL OR SICK LEAVE CREDITS.". NOT FOR SERVICE REASONS BUT SOLELY TO CORRECT WHAT IS SAID TO BE AN INEQUITY. WOULD BE TANTAMOUNT TO GRANTING POSTMASTERS HOLIDAY BENEFITS WHICH CONGRESS DID NOT INTEND THEY SHOULD HAVE.". A POSTMASTER APPOINTED BY THE PRESIDENT WITH A MONDAY THROUGH FRIDAY WORKWEEK IS ENTITLED TO BE EXCUSED FROM DUTY WITHOUT CHARGE TO LEAVE IF HIS SERVICES ARE NOT NEEDED ON THE FRIDAY. (2) THAT IN SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES THE POSTMASTER WOULD DECIDE WHETHER HIS SERVICES ARE NEEDED.

B-169938, JUN. 24, 1970

TO MR. EDWARD V. DORSEY:

WE REFER FURTHER TO YOUR LETTER OF MAY 28, 1970, WHICH RAISES CERTAIN QUESTIONS AS TO THE APPLICABILITY TO POSTMASTERS OF THE HOLIDAY PROVISIONS OF 5 U.S.C. 6103(B) WHICH UNDER CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES REQUIRE A HOLIDAY FALLING ON SATURDAY BE OBSERVED ON FRIDAY FOR PAY AND LEAVE PURPOSES OF FEDERAL EMPLOYEES.

WE UNDERSTAND THAT ON FRIDAY, JULY 3, 1970, IT IS CONTEMPLATED THAT POST OFFICES WILL BE OPEN ON FRIDAY BUT CLOSED ON JULY 4.

YOU CONTEND THAT THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT MISINTERPRETS THE HOLIDAY PROVISIONS WITH RESPECT TO PRESIDENTIALLY APPOINTED POSTMASTERS- POSTMASTERS OF THE FIRST, SECOND, AND THIRD CLASS. YOUR OBJECTIVE IS LIMITED TO HAVING THE DEPARTMENTAL INSTRUCTIONS FOR HOLIDAY LEAVE STATE, "THAT WHENEVER A LEGAL PUBLIC HOLIDAY OCCURS ON A SATURDAY, POSTMASTERS ARE EXCUSED FROM DUTY ON THE FRIDAY IMMEDIATELY PRECEDING THE SAID HOLIDAY WITHOUT CHARGE TO THEIR ANNUAL OR SICK LEAVE CREDITS." YOU CONCEDE THAT NO ENTITLEMENT EXISTS TO HOLIDAY PAY, OR COMPENSATORY TIME IN THOSE SITUATIONS WHERE A POSTMASTER WORKS ON A HOLIDAY BECAUSE OF 39 U.S.C. 3575, EXCEPTING POSTMASTERS FROM THE PROVISIONS OF 39 U.S.C. 3573, WHICH OTHERWISE AUTHORIZES COMPENSATORY TIME OR HOLIDAY PAY FOR EMPLOYEES IN THE POSTAL SERVICE.

YOU QUOTE FROM A LETTER OF THE ASSISTANT POSTMASTER GENERAL FOR THE BUREAU OF OPERATIONS, WHICH STATES, CONCERNING THE SITUATION ON MAY 29, 1970, THAT "EXCUSING POSTMASTERS FROM DUTY ON MAY 29 WITHOUT A CHARGE TO LEAVE, NOT FOR SERVICE REASONS BUT SOLELY TO CORRECT WHAT IS SAID TO BE AN INEQUITY, WOULD BE TANTAMOUNT TO GRANTING POSTMASTERS HOLIDAY BENEFITS WHICH CONGRESS DID NOT INTEND THEY SHOULD HAVE."

AS WE UNDERSTAND YOUR POSITION, IT MAY BE SUMMARIZED AS FOLLOWS: (1) WHERE A HOLIDAY OCCURS ON A SATURDAY, A POSTMASTER APPOINTED BY THE PRESIDENT WITH A MONDAY THROUGH FRIDAY WORKWEEK IS ENTITLED TO BE EXCUSED FROM DUTY WITHOUT CHARGE TO LEAVE IF HIS SERVICES ARE NOT NEEDED ON THE FRIDAY; (2) THAT IN SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES THE POSTMASTER WOULD DECIDE WHETHER HIS SERVICES ARE NEEDED; AND (3) THAT IF THE POSTMASTER IS OTHERWISE UNDER A GRANT OF SICK OR ANNUAL LEAVE FOR THE FRIDAY NO LEAVE WOULD BE CHARGED.

WE ARE ADVISED THAT THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT HAS DETERMINED THAT SERVICE ON FRIDAY, JULY 3, 1970--AS DISTINGUISHED FROM MAY 29, 1970, WHEN FULL SERVICE WAS PROVIDED--CAN BE REDUCED BELOW NORMAL FRIDAY LEVELS IN CERTAIN AREAS AND FOR CERTAIN TYPES OF SERVICES. IT IS STATED THAT THE EXTENT OF REDUCED SERVICE AND THE AREAS OF SUCH REDUCTION ARE NOT PRECISELY KNOWN. THE DEPARTMENT, HOWEVER, BELIEVES THAT THE REDUCTION IN SERVICE WILL NOT CAUSE THE SERVICES OF POSTMASTERS TO BE LESS NECESSARY ON JULY 3 THAN THEY WERE ON MAY 29, 1970.

5 U.S.C. 6103(B) IN PERTINENT PART STATES:

"FOR THE PURPOSE OF STATUTES RELATING TO PAY AND LEAVE OF EMPLOYEES, WITH RESPECT TO A LEGAL PUBLIC HOLIDAY AND ANY OTHER DAY DECLARED TO BE A HOLIDAY BY FEDERAL STATUTE OR EXECUTIVE ORDER, THE FOLLOWING RULES APPLY:

"(1) INSTEAD OF A HOLIDAY THAT OCCURS ON A SATURDAY, THE FRIDAY IMMEDIATELY BEFORE IS A LEGAL PUBLIC HOLIDAY FOR--

"(A) EMPLOYEES WHOSE BASIC WORKWEEK IS MONDAY THROUGH FRIDAY *** "

UNDER THE ABOVE STATUTE ELIGIBLE EMPLOYEES ARE PAID THEIR NORMAL COMPENSATION FOR THE FRIDAY IF THEY ARE NOT REQUIRED TO WORK; IF THEY ARE REQUIRED TO WORK THEY RECEIVE EITHER EXTRA COMPENSATION FOR SUCH WORK OR COMPENSATORY TIME OFF; AND NO ANNUAL OR SICK LEAVE WOULD BE CHARGEABLE FOR ABSENCE ON THE FRIDAY.

APPARENTLY, PRIOR TO THE ENACTMENT OF 5 U.S.C. 6103(B) NO PROBLEM AROSE SINCE POST OFFICES WERE CLOSED ON HOLIDAYS, INCLUDING THOSE OBSERVED ON MONDAY WHERE HOLIDAYS OCCURRED ON SUNDAY, AND POSTMASTERS WHO DID NOT WORK ON SUCH DAYS WERE NOT CHARGED LEAVE.

UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES DESCRIBED OUR VIEW IS THAT THE DETERMINATION OF WHETHER A POSTMASTER SHOULD WORK ON A HOLIDAY, BE IT FRIDAY, JULY 3, 1970, OR ANY OTHER HOLIDAY, IS AN ADMINISTRATIVE MATTER FOR DETERMINATION BY THE POSTMASTER GENERAL OR THE OFFICIAL TO WHOM SUCH AUTHORITY HAS BEEN DELEGATED. WE FIND NO STATUTE WHICH RESTRICTS THAT AUTHORITY. HOWEVER, WE DO POINT OUT THAT UNDER THE ANNUAL AND SICK LEAVE PROVISIONS OF 5 U.S.C. 6302, LEAVE IS NOT CHARGEABLE FOR ABSENCE ON HOLIDAYS AND NONWORKDAYS ESTABLISHED BY FEDERAL STATUTE, EXECUTIVE ORDER OR ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER.

IF A PARTICULAR POST OFFICE IS REQUIRED TO BE OPEN ON A HOLIDAY IT WOULD SEEM TO FOLLOW THAT THE POSTMASTER IS EXPECTED TO BE AT WORK THE SAME AS ANY OTHER DAY UNLESS EXCUSED BY PROPER AUTHORITY.

WE BELIEVE THE FOREGOING ADEQUATELY COVERS THE QUESTIONS YOU PROPOUND.

A COPY OF THIS DECISION IS BEING FURNISHED TO THE POSTMASTER GENERAL.