B-172138, APR 15, 1971, 50 COMP GEN 735

B-172138: Apr 15, 1971

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IF THE CARRIERS WERE NOT SCHEDULED TO WORK ON THOSE DAYS AND SO NOTIFIED IN ADVANCE. TO THE EFFECT THE ALLOWANCE IS PAYABLE "IN THE SAME MANNER AS PAYMENT FOR REGULAR COMPENSATION" AND ON THE BASIS OF MILES "SCHEDULED. " IT FOLLOWS THE UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE IS NOT REQUIRED TO PAY THE ALLOWANCE IF THE RURAL MAIL CARRIERS ARE NOTIFIED IN ADVANCE THAT THEY WILL NOT BE SCHEDULED OR REQUIRED TO DELIVER MAIL ON THEIR ROUTES ON A PARTICULAR DAY WHEN THEY OTHERWISE NORMALLY WOULD DO SO. WILL BE OBSERVED ON MONDAY EACH YEAR. ALTHOUGH NO DECISIONS HAVE BEEN MADE TO CHANGE ANY BASIC SERVICES PROVIDED ON OR AROUND HOLIDAYS. IT IS APPROPRIATE TO REVIEW EMPLOYEE SCHEDULING DURING SUCH PERIODS. IN THE LATTER DECISION WE SAID THAT UNDER THE STATUTE THE EQUIPMENT MAINTENANCE ALLOWANCE IS PAYABLE "IN THE SAME MANNER AS PAYMENTS FOR REGULAR COMPENSATION" AND ON THE BASIS OF MILES "SCHEDULED.

B-172138, APR 15, 1971, 50 COMP GEN 735

POSTAL SERVICE, UNITED STATES - RURAL MAIL CARRIERS - EQUIPMENT MAINTENANCE ALLOWANCE - "SCHEDULED" WORK REQUIREMENT THE EQUIPMENT MAINTENANCE ALLOWANCE TO RURAL MAIL CARRIERS AUTHORIZED UNDER 39 U.S.C. 3543(F) WOULD NOT BE PAYABLE TO CARRIERS ON THE FIVE MONDAY NATIONAL HOLIDAYS ESTABLISHED BY PUBLIC LAW 90-363, APPROVED JUNE 28, 1968, IF THE CARRIERS WERE NOT SCHEDULED TO WORK ON THOSE DAYS AND SO NOTIFIED IN ADVANCE. APPLYING THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 28, 1925, THE FORMER SIMILAR AUTHORITY FOR PAYING THE ALLOWANCE, TO THE EFFECT THE ALLOWANCE IS PAYABLE "IN THE SAME MANNER AS PAYMENT FOR REGULAR COMPENSATION" AND ON THE BASIS OF MILES "SCHEDULED," IT FOLLOWS THE UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE IS NOT REQUIRED TO PAY THE ALLOWANCE IF THE RURAL MAIL CARRIERS ARE NOTIFIED IN ADVANCE THAT THEY WILL NOT BE SCHEDULED OR REQUIRED TO DELIVER MAIL ON THEIR ROUTES ON A PARTICULAR DAY WHEN THEY OTHERWISE NORMALLY WOULD DO SO.

TO THE POSTMASTER GENERAL, APRIL 15, 1971:

A LETTER OF MARCH 2, 1971, FROM THE ASSISTANT POSTMASTER GENERAL, BUREAU OF OPERATIONS, REQUESTS A DECISION CONCERNING PAYMENT OF EQUIPMENT MAINTENANCE ALLOWANCE TO RURAL MAIL CARRIERS ON FIVE NATIONAL HOLIDAYS WHICH, BY REASON OF PUBLIC LAW 90-363, APPROVED JUNE 28, 1968, 5 U.S.C. 6103, WILL BE OBSERVED ON MONDAY EACH YEAR.

THE LETTER STATES THAT, ALTHOUGH NO DECISIONS HAVE BEEN MADE TO CHANGE ANY BASIC SERVICES PROVIDED ON OR AROUND HOLIDAYS, IT IS APPROPRIATE TO REVIEW EMPLOYEE SCHEDULING DURING SUCH PERIODS.

SUBSECTION 3543(F) OF TITLE 39, U.S. CODE, PROVIDES IN ADDITION TO THE COMPENSATION PROVIDED IN THE RURAL CARRIER SCHEDULE PRESCRIBED IN SUBSECTION (A) OF THAT SECTION, EACH RURAL CARRIER SHALL BE PAID FOR EQUIPMENT MAINTENANCE ON A MILEAGE OR PER DIEM BASIS (PLUS ADDITIONAL COMPENSATION FOR SERVICING HEAVILY PATRONIZED ROUTES), AND THAT PAYMENT FOR EQUIPMENT MAINTENANCE "SHALL BE MADE AT THE SAME PERIODS AND IN THE SAME MANNER AS PAYMENTS OF REGULAR COMPENSATION."

THE LETTER STATES THAT SUCH PROVISION DOES NOT DIFFER IN SUBSTANCE FROM THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 8 OF THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 28, 1925, CH. 368, 43 STAT. 1063, CONSTRUED IN OUR DECISIONS OF MARCH 14, 1925, 4 COMP. GEN. 769, AND MAY 24, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 931.

IN THE LATTER DECISION WE SAID THAT UNDER THE STATUTE THE EQUIPMENT MAINTENANCE ALLOWANCE IS PAYABLE "IN THE SAME MANNER AS PAYMENTS FOR REGULAR COMPENSATION" AND ON THE BASIS OF MILES "SCHEDULED," AND THAT THERE IS NO AUTHORITY TO ESTABLISH ADMINISTRATIVELY ANY OTHER BASIS. SAID FURTHER THAT -

*** IF FOR ANY REASON A CARRIER FAILS TO SERVE A ROUTE OR PORTION OF A ROUTE UNDER CONDITIONS THAT JUSTIFY OR REQUIRE THE DEDUCTION OF THE WHOLE OR ANY PORTION OF HIS COMPENSATION DURING SAID PERIOD, IN ACCORDANCE WITH POSTAL LAW AND REGULATIONS, THERE MUST BE DEDUCTED A CORRESPONDING AMOUNT OF EQUIPMENT MAINTENANCE ALLOWANCE WHICH WOULD HAVE ACCRUED DURING THE SAME PERIOD. ON THE OTHER HAND, IF THE REASON FOR FAILURE TO SERVE THE ROUTE WAS SUCH AS NOT TO JUSTIFY OR REQUIRE A DEDUCTION OF THE WHOLE OR ANY PORTION OF THE REGULAR COMPENSATION, THERE MAY NOT BE DEDUCTED A CORRESPONDING AMOUNT OF EQUIPMENT MAINTENANCE ALLOWANCE WHICH WOULD HAVE ACCRUED DURING THE SAME PERIOD.

IN DECISION 4 COMP. GEN. 769, 772, ANSWER TO QUESTION 8, WE SAID THAT THE BASIS FOR COMPUTING THE MAINTENANCE EQUIPMENT ALLOWANCE SHOULD BE ON THE SERVICE "SCHEDULED," WHICH WAS 306 SCHEDULED DAYS OF SERVICE PER ANNUM: 365 DAYS A YEAR LESS 52 SUNDAYS (MAIL CARRIERS WORKED 6 DAYS A WEEK THEN, INCLUDING SATURDAYS AND 7 HOLIDAYS. WE CONCLUDED IN EFFECT THAT THE EQUIPMENT MAINTENANCE ALLOWANCE WAS NOT PAYABLE FOR HOLIDAYS SINCE SERVICE WAS NOT SCHEDULED ON HOLIDAYS.

SINCE THE STATUTE THERE CONSTRUED IS SUBSTANTIALLY THE SAME AS IN THE CURRENT LAW, 39 U.S.C. 3543(F), IT FOLLOWS THAT THE U.S. POSTAL SERVICE IS NOT REQUIRED TO PAY RURAL CARRIERS THE EQUIPMENT MAINTENANCE ALLOWANCE IF THEY HAVE BEEN NOTIFIED IN ADVANCE THAT THEY WILL NOT BE SCHEDULED OR REQUIRED TO DELIVER MAIL ON THEIR ROUTES ON A PARTICULAR DAY WHEN THEY OTHERWISE NORMALLY WOULD DO SO. ACCORDINGLY, IF THE RURAL MAIL CARRIERS ARE NOT SCHEDULED TO DELIVER MAIL ON THE 5 MONDAY HOLIDAYS, THEY ARE NOT ENTITLED TO THE EQUIPMENT MAINTENANCE ALLOWANCE ON THOSE DAYS.