Claim for Overtime Compensation

B-201084,B-201085: Oct 9, 1981

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Two Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) employees appealed a Claims Group action which disallowed their claims for additional overtime compensation. The employees claimed compensation for overtime spent in a standby duty status at a remote long-range radar facility and were compensated for the actual overtime spent on standby duty. On appeal, they claimed additional compensation for the time spent traveling in Government-owned vehicles from the pickup site to the work site and return during the period from January 1967 to December 1974. The employees at this duty station are required to use a Government vehicle because of the severe road conditions in the area. They must report to a designated point to pick up the vehicle and return it to that point. This is an inherent part of the employees' work, and the pickup point, which is a check-in point, is designated as part of their duty station. FAA recommended denial of the claims because: (1) official determination as to when tours of duty for long-range radar sites began and ended was not made until 1974; (2) the employees' duty station was not designated as an official pickup point until 1975; (3) the employee's duty station did not qualify for a remote worksite allowance; and (4) all due entitlement was paid the claimants in August 1975. GAO disagreed. Under applicable legislation, there is no doubt that an employee having a regularly scheduled workweek must be compensated for the time spent in travel on official business which is within regularly scheduled work hours. The principle followed in previous decisions, where compensable travel time was an inherent part of and inseparable from the work, was applicable to the instant case. The record showed that in 1965, employees were using Government vehicles to travel to and from the duty station in this case. Thus, the official determination as to when the tour began in 1974 and the designation of the station as an official pickup point merely clarified a situation which had been a standard practice for many years. GAO held that the traveltime was an inherent part of and inseparable from the work itself. Hence, it is compensable under the applicable legislation. Therefore, the FAA computation based on the exclusion of the traveltime was in error. Accordingly, the claims were returned for a determination of the amounts due.