B-175151, APR 27, 1972

B-175151: Apr 27, 1972

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CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES - CHAPLAIN SERVICE - CALL BACK DUTY - PROPOSED 2-HOUR MINIMUM COMPENSATION CONCERNING A PROPOSAL FOR PROVIDING COMPENSATION TO MEMBERS OF THE CHAPLAIN SERVICE WHO ARE CALLED BACK FOR BRIEF PERIODS OF TIME TO PROVIDE URGENT SERVICE TO A PATIENT. SINCE THAT REGULATION IS ONLY APPLICABLE TO THE PERFORMANCE OF OVERTIME WORK. IS NOT AWARE OF ANY AUTHORITY WHEREBY THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION COULD ADMINISTRATIVELY ESTABLISH A 2- HOUR MINIMAL PAYMENT FOR CHAPLAINS EMPLOYED ON A PART TIME OR INTERMITTENT BASIS. CONCERNING THE COMPENSATION FOR MEMBERS OF THE CHAPLAIN SERVICE OF YOUR AGENCY WHEN THEY ARE CALLED FOR BRIEF PERIODS OF TIME. MOST OF THESE EMPLOYEES HAVE LOCAL PASTORAL DUTIES WHILE THEIR PRIMARY DUTY FOR THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION IS TO PROVIDE URGENT SERVICE TO A PATIENT ON CALL.

B-175151, APR 27, 1972

CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES - CHAPLAIN SERVICE - CALL BACK DUTY - PROPOSED 2-HOUR MINIMUM COMPENSATION CONCERNING A PROPOSAL FOR PROVIDING COMPENSATION TO MEMBERS OF THE CHAPLAIN SERVICE WHO ARE CALLED BACK FOR BRIEF PERIODS OF TIME TO PROVIDE URGENT SERVICE TO A PATIENT. THE PROPOSED COMPENSATION COULD NOT BE PROVIDED UNDER 5 U.S.C. 5542(B)(1), SINCE THAT REGULATION IS ONLY APPLICABLE TO THE PERFORMANCE OF OVERTIME WORK. FURTHERMORE, THE COMP. GEN. IS NOT AWARE OF ANY AUTHORITY WHEREBY THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION COULD ADMINISTRATIVELY ESTABLISH A 2- HOUR MINIMAL PAYMENT FOR CHAPLAINS EMPLOYED ON A PART TIME OR INTERMITTENT BASIS.

TO MR. DONALD E. JOHNSON:

WE REFER FURTHER TO YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 4, 1972, CONCERNING THE COMPENSATION FOR MEMBERS OF THE CHAPLAIN SERVICE OF YOUR AGENCY WHEN THEY ARE CALLED FOR BRIEF PERIODS OF TIME, INCLUDING CALLS AT NIGHT OR ON WEEKENDS OR HOLIDAYS, TO PROVIDE URGENT SERVICE TO A PATIENT.

YOU STATE THAT IN PROVIDING A COMPLETE MEDICAL AND HOSPITAL SERVICE FOR ELIGIBLE VETERANS, AS DIRECTED BY 38 U.S.C. 4101, YOU EMPLOY SOME 500 CHAPLAINS ON A PART-TIME OR INTERMITTENT BASIS AT THE GS-11 OR GS 12 LEVEL. APPARENTLY, MOST OF THESE EMPLOYEES HAVE LOCAL PASTORAL DUTIES WHILE THEIR PRIMARY DUTY FOR THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION IS TO PROVIDE URGENT SERVICE TO A PATIENT ON CALL. YOU INDICATE THAT THE WORK TIME FOR EACH "CALL-BACK" IS LESS THAN AN HOUR AND, ACCORDINGLY, THEIR COMPENSATION PER CALL IS LIMITED TO ONE HOUR OF COMPENSATION.

YOU INQUIRE AS TO WHETHER YOU MAY COMPENSATE CHAPLAINS ON A BASIS OF 2 HOURS REGULAR STRAIGHT-TIME PAY EITHER UNDER 5 U.S.C. 5542(B)(1) OR, IN THE ALTERNATIVE, TO ESTABLISH A POLICY AS A MATTER OF ADMINISTRATIVE NECESSITY TO MEET THE DEMANDS OF EQUITY, TO COMPENSATE THEM FOR A MINIMUM OF 2 HOURS FOR EACH CALL TO DUTY.

WITH RESPECT TO CALL-BACK OVERTIME FOR EMPLOYEES, 5 U.S.C. 5542(B)(1) PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

"(B) FOR THE PURPOSE OF THIS SUBCHAPTER -

"(1) UNSCHEDULED OVERTIME WORK PERFORMED BY AN EMPLOYEE ON A DAY WHEN WORK WAS NOT SCHEDULED FOR HIM, OR FOR WHICH HE IS REQUIRED TO RETURN TO HIS PLACE OF EMPLOYMENT, IS DEEMED AT LEAST 2 HOURS IN DURATION *** "

SENATE REPORT NO. 1992, 83RD CONG., 2ND SESS. 9, IN EXPLAINING THE ABOVE SECTION STATES THAT IT "PROVIDES A MINIMUM OF TWO HOURS' PAY AT THE OVERTIME RATE FOR ANY EMPLOYEE CALLED BACK TO PERFORM OVERTIME WORK AFTER HE HAS GONE HOME OR ON ONE OF HIS DAYS OFF DUTY." THIS PROVISION RELATES ONLY TO OVERTIME AND THEREFORE HAS NO APPLICATION TO THE SITUATION EXPLAINED IN YOUR LETTER. AS TO YOUR ALTERNATIVE SUGGESTION, WE KNOW OF NO AUTHORITY WHEREBY YOU COULD ADMINISTRATIVELY ESTABLISH A 2-HOUR MINIMAL PAYMENT FOR CHAPLAINS EMPLOYED ON A PART-TIME OR INTERMITTENT BASIS.

ALTHOUGH NOT MENTIONED IN YOUR SUBMISSION, WE NOTE THAT YOU HAVE SPECIAL AUTHORITY UNDER 38 U.S.C. 4114(A)(1)(B) TO EMPLOY, WITHOUT REGARD TO CIVIL SERVICE OR CLASSIFICATION LAWS, RULES, OR REGULATIONS, "PHYSICIANS, DENTISTS, NURSES, AND OTHER PROFESSIONAL AND TECHNICAL PERSONNEL ON A FEE BASIS."