B-62806, FEBRUARY 3, 1947, 26 COMP. GEN. 548

B-62806: Feb 3, 1947

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MAY BE COMPUTED AT THE HIGHER SALARY RATE WHICH HE WOULD HAVE RECEIVED HAD HE REMAINED IN THE SERVICE. A POSTMASTER WHOSE ANNUAL SALARY IS ADJUSTED EFFECTIVE JULY 1 ON THE BASIS OF GROSS POSTAL RECEIPTS FOR THE FOUR QUARTERS ENDING DECEMBER 31 PRECEDING SUCH ADJUSTMENT. WHO IS SEPARATED FROM THE SERVICE BETWEEN THE LAST DAY OF A CALENDAR YEAR AND JULY 1 NEXT FOLLOWING SHOULD BE PAID A LUMP SUM UNDER THE ACT OF DECEMBER 21. THE YEAR'S SATISFACTORY SERVICE IS COMPLETED ON THE LAST DAY OF THE QUARTER. WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THE YEAR'S SERVICE UPON WHICH THE FIRST PROMOTION IS BASED. IT IS OBVIOUS THAT CASES WILL ARISE INVOLVING LUMP-SUM LEAVE PAYMENTS TO EMPLOYEES WHO SEPARATE FROM THE SERVICE AT THE CLOSE OF A QUARTER AND ON THE DATE OF COMPLETION OF ONE YEAR'S SATISFACTORY SERVICE IN A GRADE LOWER THAN THE NEXT HIGHER SALARY GRADE TO WHICH AUTOMATIC PROMOTION HAS BEEN EARNED.

B-62806, FEBRUARY 3, 1947, 26 COMP. GEN. 548

LEAVES OF ABSENCE - LUMP-SUM PAYMENTS - RATE AT WHICH PAYABLE - POSTAL SERVICE EMPLOYEES THE LUMP SUM AUTHORIZED TO BE PAID UNDER THE ACT OF DECEMBER 20, 1944, FOR ACCRUED ANNUAL LEAVE OF A POSTAL SERVICE SEPARATION FROM THE SERVICE AT THE CLOSE OF BUSINESS OF THE LAST DAY OF A QUARTER WHEN HE COMPLETES THE REQUISITE ONE YEAR'S SATISFACTORY SERVICE IN ONE GRADE AND MEETS ALL THE OTHER REQUIREMENTS FOR AUTOMATIC PROMOTION TO THE NEXT HIGHER GRADE ON THE FOLLOWING DAY (THE BEGINNING OF THE NEXT QUARTER) PURSUANT TO THE POSTAL SERVICE PAY STATUTE OF JULY 6, 1945, MAY BE COMPUTED AT THE HIGHER SALARY RATE WHICH HE WOULD HAVE RECEIVED HAD HE REMAINED IN THE SERVICE. A POSTMASTER WHOSE ANNUAL SALARY IS ADJUSTED EFFECTIVE JULY 1 ON THE BASIS OF GROSS POSTAL RECEIPTS FOR THE FOUR QUARTERS ENDING DECEMBER 31 PRECEDING SUCH ADJUSTMENT, PURSUANT TO SECTION 8 (A) OF THE POSTAL SERVICE PAY STATUTE OF JULY 6, 1945, AND THE POSTAL LAWS AND REGULATIONS OF 1940, AS AMENDED, AND WHO IS SEPARATED FROM THE SERVICE BETWEEN THE LAST DAY OF A CALENDAR YEAR AND JULY 1 NEXT FOLLOWING SHOULD BE PAID A LUMP SUM UNDER THE ACT OF DECEMBER 21, 1944, FOR THAT PORTION OF HIS ACCRUED ANNUAL LEAVE EXTENDING BEYOND JULY 1 AT THE ADJUSTED SALARY RATE EFFECTIVE ON SUCH DATE FOR THE OFFICE FROM WHICH SEPARATED.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE POSTMASTER GENERAL, FEBRUARY 3, 1947:

THERE HAS BEEN CONSIDERED YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 26, 1946, REFERENCE 50, AS FOLLOWS:

IN YOUR DECISION OF AUGUST 8, 1946 (26 COMP. GEN. 102) YOU STATED, IN EFFECT, THAT AN EMPLOYEE COULD BE GIVEN THE BENEFIT OF A WITHIN GRADE SALARY ADVANCE IN THE COMPUTATION OF LUMP-SUM LEAVE PAYMENT WHERE, PRIOR TO THE DATE OF SEPARATION, THE REQUISITE PERIOD OF ACTUAL SERVICE HAD BEEN COMPLETED AND ALL OTHER CONDITIONS FOR THE ADVANCE IN SALARY HAD BEEN MET.

UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF PUBLIC LAW 134 ( SECTION 12 (A) AND OTHER SIMILAR SECTIONS THEREIN), MOST OF THE EMPLOYEES IN THE FIELD SERVICE OF THIS DEPARTMENT RECEIVE AUTOMATIC PROMOTIONS AT THE BEGINNING OF THE QUARTER FOLLOWING ONE YEAR'S SATISFACTORY SERVICE IN EACH GRADE UNTIL THEY REACH THE MAXIMUM AUTOMATIC GRADE SPECIFIED IN THE STATUTE. UNDER THIS FORMULA, THE YEAR'S SATISFACTORY SERVICE IS COMPLETED ON THE LAST DAY OF THE QUARTER, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THE YEAR'S SERVICE UPON WHICH THE FIRST PROMOTION IS BASED. FOR EXAMPLE, AN EMPLOYEE WHO ENTERS THE SERVICE APRIL 15 MAY COMPLETE HIS FIRST YEAR'S SATISFACTORY SERVICE AT THE CLOSE OF BUSINESS APRIL 14 OF THE FOLLOWING YEAR, ENTITLING HIM TO PROMOTION ON JULY 1 NEXT FOLLOWING. THEREAFTER, EACH YEAR'S SATISFACTORY SERVICE, UNDER NORMAL CONDITIONS, WOULD BE COMPLETED AT THE CLOSE OF BUSINESS JUNE 30.

MANY OF THE EMPLOYEES IN THE FIELD SERVICE RETIRE OR TERMINATE THEIR EMPLOYMENT ON THAT LAST DAY OF A QUARTER. IT IS OBVIOUS THAT CASES WILL ARISE INVOLVING LUMP-SUM LEAVE PAYMENTS TO EMPLOYEES WHO SEPARATE FROM THE SERVICE AT THE CLOSE OF A QUARTER AND ON THE DATE OF COMPLETION OF ONE YEAR'S SATISFACTORY SERVICE IN A GRADE LOWER THAN THE NEXT HIGHER SALARY GRADE TO WHICH AUTOMATIC PROMOTION HAS BEEN EARNED. THE USE OF THE WORD "PRIOR" IN YOUR DECISION OF AUGUST 8, 1946, CREATES DOUBT AS TO THE RATE OF COMPENSATION WHICH PROPERLY MAY BE USED IN COMPUTING LUMP-SUM LEAVE PAYMENTS UNDER SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES. REVIEW OF YOUR SUBSEQUENT DECISION OF AUGUST 19, 1946 (26 COMP. GEN. 119), CONTAINING THE WORDS "HAD BEEN MET ON OR BEFORE THE DATE OF SEPARATION," DOES NOT RESOLVE THE QUESTION IN THE DEGREE OF CERTAINTY CONSIDERED DESIRABLE.

PLEASE INFORM ME WHETHER THE LUMP-SUM LEAVE PAYMENT TO AN EMPLOYEE WHO SEPARATES FROM THE SERVICE AT THE CLOSE OF BUSINESS ON THE LAST DAY OF A QUARTER AND THE SAME DATE HE COMPLETES THE REQUISITE ONE YEAR'S SATISFACTORY SERVICE AND MEETS ALL OTHER REQUIREMENTS FOR PROMOTION PROPERLY MAY BE COMPUTED AT THE HIGHER SALARY RATE TO WHICH PROMOTION HAD BEEN EARNED AND WOULD BE EFFECTED ON THE FOLLOWING DAY, EXCEPT FOR THE SEPARATION.

YOUR DECISION ALSO IS REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER AN INCREASE OR DECREASE IN A SALARY RATE, EFFECTIVE JULY 1 AND BASED UPON THE GROSS POSTAL RECEIPTS FOR THE PRECEDING CALENDAR YEAR, IS PROPER FOR APPLICATION IN COMPUTING THE LUMP-SUM PAYABLE FOR THAT PORTION OF A PERIOD OF ACCRUED ANNUAL LEAVE EXTENDING BEYOND JULY 1 TO A POSTMASTER OR SUPERVISORY EMPLOYEE WHO SEPARATES FROM THE SERVICE BETWEEN THE LAST DAY OF THE CALENDAR YEAR AND THE NEXT FOLLOWING JULY 1.

IN THE DECISION OF AUGUST 6, 1946, 26 COMP. GEN. 102, IT WAS HELD THAT AN EMPLOYEE WHO IS SEPARATED FROM THE SERVICE PRIOR TO THE COMPLETION OF THE PERIOD OF SERVICE REQUIRED FOR A WITHIN-GRADE SALARY ADVANCEMENT HAD NOT MET THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE STATUTE "AT THE DATE OF SEPARATION WHEN HIS RIGHTS IN THE MATTER BECOME FIXED" AND, THEREFORE, WOULD NOT BE ENTITLED TO CREDIT FOR A WITHIN-GRADE ADVANCEMENT IN COMPUTING PAYMENT FOR HIS ACCRUED LEAVE. IN THE LATER DECISION, 26 COMP. GEN. 119, THERE WAS CONSIDERED THE CASE OF AN EMPLOYEE WHOSE LAST DAY IN A PAY STATUS WAS MARCH 31, 1946, AND IT WAS HELD THEREIN THAT IF ALL CONDITIONS PRECEDENT TO A WITHIN-GRADE ADVANCEMENT HAD BEEN MET ON MARCH 31, 1946, SUCH ADVANCEMENT MAY BE CREDITED IN THE COMPUTATION OF THE LUMP-SUM PAYMENT FOR ACCRUED LEAVE (UNDER THE ACT OF DECEMBER 21, 1944, 58 STAT. 845) FROM THE DATE SUCH ADVANCEMENT WOULD HAVE BECOME EFFECTIVE HAD THE EMPLOYEE REMAINED IN THE SERVICE, THAT IS, THE BEGINNING OF THE NEXT PAY PERIOD AFTER MARCH 31, 1946.

THE POSTAL EMPLOYEES' PAY ACT OF 1945, PUBLIC LAW 134, 59 STAT. 443, 444, PROVIDES, GENERALLY, THAT THE EMPLOYEE "SHALL BE PROMOTED SUCCESSIVELY AT THE BEGINNING OF THE QUARTER FOLLOWING ONE YEAR'S SATISFACTORY SERVICE IN EACH GRADE.' APPLYING THE PRINCIPLE OF THE ABOVE-CITED DECISIONS TO THE FIRST TYPE OF EMPLOYEES DISCUSSED IN YOUR LETTER, THE QUESTION POSED IN THE PENULTIMATE PARAGRAPH THEREIN IS FOR ANSWERING IN THE AFFIRMATIVE.

SECTION 8 (A) OF THE POSTAL EMPLOYEES' PAY ACT OF 1945, PUBLIC LAW 134, 59 STAT. 437, CONTAINS THE FOLLOWING PROVISION:

THE COMPENSATION OF POSTMASTERS SHALL BE ANNUAL SALARIES TO BE FIXED BY THE POSTMASTER GENERAL FROM THEIR RESPECTIVE QUARTERLY RETURNS FOR THE CALENDAR YEAR IMMEDIATELY PRECEDING THE ADJUSTMENT, BASED ON GROSS POSTAL RECEIPTS AT THE FOLLOWING RATES: PROVIDED, THAT SUBSECTION (C) OF SECTION 1001 OF THE REVENUE ACT OF 1932 (47 STAT. 285), AS AMENDED, IS HEREBY REPEALED, RETROACTIVE TO JANUARY 1, 1944, AND THEREAFTER THE GROSS POSTAL RECEIPTS SHALL BE COUNTED FOR THE PURPOSE OF DETERMINING THE CLASS OF THE POST OFFICE OR THE COMPENSATION OR ALLOWANCES OF POSTMASTER OR OTHER EMPLOYEES, WHOSE COMPENSATION OR ALLOWANCES ARE BASED ON THE ANNUAL RECEIPTS OF SUCH OFFICES * * *.

PARAGRAPH 2 OF SECTION 425 OF THE POSTAL LAWS AND REGULATIONS, 1940, AS AMENDED, PROVIDES:

READJUSTMENTS OF SALARIES OF POSTMASTER * * * SHALL BE MADE ANNUALLY TO TAKE EFFECT AT THE BEGINNING OF THE ENSUING FISCAL YEAR ( JULY 1) UPON THE BASIS OF RETURNS FOR THE FOUR QUARTERS ENDING DECEMBER 31 PRECEDING SUCH ADJUSTMENTS.

ACCORDINGLY, REFERRING TO THE QUESTION POSED IN THE CONCLUDING PARAGRAPH OF YOUR LETTER, THERE APPEARS REQUIRED THE CONCLUSION THAT A POSTMASTER, WHEN SEPARATED FROM THE SERVICE BETWEEN DECEMBER 31 OF ONE CALENDAR YEAR AND JULY 1 OF THE FOLLOWING YEAR WITH ACCRUED LEAVE TO HIS CREDIT WHICH WOULD EXTEND BEYOND JULY 1, SHOULD BE COMPENSATED FOR THAT PORTION OF THE LEAVE EXTENDING BEYOND JULY 1 AT THE RATE EFFECTIVE JULY 1 FOR THAT OFFICE.