B-63379, FEBRUARY 21, 1947, 26 COMP. GEN. 627

B-63379: Feb 21, 1947

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THE SALARY OF A TEMPORARY RURAL CARRIER WHO WAS PAID AT THE SAME RATE PAID THE REGULAR CARRIER ON LEAVE WITHOUT PAY PENDING ACTION ON HIS APPLICATION FOR DISABILITY RETIREMENT SHOULD BE ADJUSTED TO GRADE 1 AS FOR A TEMPORARY RURAL CARRIER SERVING A ROUTE "FOR WHICH THERE IS NO REGULAR CARRIER. - THE DATE NOTICE AUTHORIZING HIS RETIREMENT WAS RECEIVED IN THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE. PROVIDES THAT A TEMPORARY RURAL CARRIER SERVING IN LIEU OF A REGULAR RURAL CARRIER SHALL BE PAID AT THE SAME RATE OF PAY THAT THE REGULAR CARRIER IS ENTITLED TO. IT FREQUENTLY HAPPENS THAT RURAL CARRIERS BECOME DISABLED AND AFTER EXHAUSTING ALL ANNUAL AND SICK LEAVE TO THEIR CREDIT AUTOMATICALLY ARE PLACED IN A LEAVE WITHOUT PAY STATUS.

B-63379, FEBRUARY 21, 1947, 26 COMP. GEN. 627

COMPENSATION - TEMPORARY RURAL CARRIER - EFFECT OF DISABILITY RETIREMENT OF REGULAR CARRIER FOLLOWING LEAVE WITHOUT PAY UNDER SECTION 17 (F) OF THE POSTAL SERVICE PAY STATUTE OF JULY 6, 1945, THE SALARY OF A TEMPORARY RURAL CARRIER WHO WAS PAID AT THE SAME RATE PAID THE REGULAR CARRIER ON LEAVE WITHOUT PAY PENDING ACTION ON HIS APPLICATION FOR DISABILITY RETIREMENT SHOULD BE ADJUSTED TO GRADE 1 AS FOR A TEMPORARY RURAL CARRIER SERVING A ROUTE "FOR WHICH THERE IS NO REGULAR CARRIER," EFFECTIVE THE DAY FOLLOWING THE REGULAR CARRIER'S SEPARATION--- THE DATE NOTICE AUTHORIZING HIS RETIREMENT WAS RECEIVED IN THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE--- RATHER THAN AT THE BEGINNING OF THE PAY PERIOD FOLLOWING THE DATE OF THE REGULAR CARRIER'S SEPARATION.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE POSTMASTER GENERAL, FEBRUARY 21, 1947:

THERE HAS BEEN CONSIDERED YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 27, 1947, REFERENCE 15, AS FOLLOWS:

SECTION 17 (F) OF THE ACT OF JULY 6, 1945, PUBLIC LAW 134, PROVIDES THAT A TEMPORARY RURAL CARRIER SERVING IN LIEU OF A REGULAR RURAL CARRIER SHALL BE PAID AT THE SAME RATE OF PAY THAT THE REGULAR CARRIER IS ENTITLED TO. IT FREQUENTLY HAPPENS THAT RURAL CARRIERS BECOME DISABLED AND AFTER EXHAUSTING ALL ANNUAL AND SICK LEAVE TO THEIR CREDIT AUTOMATICALLY ARE PLACED IN A LEAVE WITHOUT PAY STATUS. IN MANY INSTANCES THESE CARRIERS APPLY FOR RETIREMENT. GENERALLY SEVERAL MONTHS ARE REQUIRED BEFORE THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION CAN PROCESS AND MAKE A DETERMINATION WITH RESPECT TO APPROVING OR DISAPPROVING THE CARRIER'S REQUEST FOR RETIREMENT. IF THE REQUEST IS APPROVED IT IS CUSTOMARY TO DATE THE RETIREMENT BACK TO THE CLOSE OF BUSINESS AS OF THE LAST DAY OF THE MONTH IN WHICH THE CARRIER WENT ON LEAVE WITHOUT PAY STATUS. IN SUCH CASES AM I CORRECT IN DIRECTING THAT THE TEMPORARY CARRIER'S RATE OF PAY MUST BE ADJUSTED AT THE BEGINNING OF PAY PERIOD FOLLOWING THAT IN WHICH INFORMATION IS RECEIVED FROM THE COMMISSION TO THE EFFECT THAT THE CARRIER'S REQUEST FOR RETIREMENT HAS BEEN APPROVED?

AN EXAMPLE IS THAT OF A GRADE 9 RURAL CARRIER WHO FORMERLY SERVED ROUTE NO. 1, IN A SOUTHERN POST OFFICE. ON AUGUST 15, 1946, THE REGULAR CARRIER WENT ON LEAVE BECAUSE OF ILLNESS. HIS TOTAL LEAVE EXPIRED AUGUST 25, 1946, AND HE WAS IN A LEAVE-WITHOUT-PAY STATUS FROM THAT DAY ON. SHORTLY THEREAFTER HE REQUESTED RETIREMENT. A NOTICE WAS RECEIVED FROM THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION ON DECEMBER 11, 1946, AUTHORIZING THE RETIREMENT OF THE REGULAR CARRIER AS OF AUGUST 31, 1946. IN THIS INSTANCE IT WOULD APPEAR THAT THE PROPER ACTION IS TO READJUST THE TEMPORARY CARRIER'S PAY FROM GRADE 9 TO GRADE 1 AS OF DECEMBER 16, 1946.

SECTION 17 (F) OF PUBLIC LAW 134, APPROVED JULY 6, 1945, 59 STAT. 456, REFERRED TO IN YOUR LETTER, SUPRA, PROVIDES:

(F) A SUBSTITUTE RURAL CARRIER WHO PERFORMS SERVICE FOR A REGULAR CARRIER ABSENT WITH PAY SHALL BE PAID AT THE SAME RATE PAID THE REGULAR CARRIER FOR EACH DAY'S SERVICE, EXCLUSIVE OF SUNDAYS AND AUTHORIZED HOLIDAYS. TEMPORARY RURAL CARRIER SERVING A ROUTE IN PLACE OF A REGULAR CARRIER ABSENT WITHOUT PAY SHALL BE PAID AT THE SAME RATE PAID THE REGULAR CARRIER, SUNDAYS AND HOLIDAYS INCLUDED EXCEPT AT THE BEGINNING OR END OF THE PERIOD OF EMPLOYMENT. A TEMPORARY RURAL CARRIER SERVING A ROUTE FOR WHICH THERE IS NO REGULAR CARRIER SHALL BE PAID AT THE RATE OF SALARY PROVIDED FOR A CARRIER OF GRADE 1 FOR THE ROUTE ON WHICH SERVICE IS PERFORMED, INCLUDING SUNDAYS AND AUTHORIZED HOLIDAYS EXCEPT AT THE BEGINNING AND END OF THE PERIOD OF EMPLOYMENT.

REGULATIONS ISSUED BY THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION RESPECTING DISABILITY RETIREMENT, AS SET FORTH IN CHAPTER R-5, FEDERAL PERSONNEL MANUAL, ON PAGES 45 AND 46, PROVIDE:

IF AN EMPLOYEE APPEARS TO BE ELIGIBLE FOR DISABILITY RETIREMENT, THE AGENCY SHOULD GIVE HIM AN OPPORTUNITY TO APPLY FOR IT BEFORE SEPARATING HIM. IF HE APPLIES, THE AGENCY SHOULD CARRY HIM IN A LEAVE STATUS (WITH OR WITHOUT PAY) UNTIL NOTIFIED BY THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION OF THE COMMISSION'S ACTION ON THE CLAIM.

THE COMMISSION WILL NOTIFY THE AGENCY OF THE ACTION OF ALLOWANCE OR DISALLOWANCE OF THE CLAIM. IF DISABILITY RETIREMENT IS DISALLOWED, THE AGENCY IS SO INFORMED BY LETTER. IF DISABILITY RETIREMENT HAS BEEN ALLOWED, CSC FORM 3170 IS FORWARDED TO THE AGENCY, AND UPON ITS RECEIPT THE AGENCY SHOULD TAKE THE FOLLOWING ACTION:

(1) IF THE EMPLOYEE IS THEN ON ANNUAL LEAVE OR LEAVE WITHOUT PAY, IT SHOULD SEPARATE HIM AS OF THE DATE IT RECEIVES THE NOTICE, EXCEPT THAT IF LEAVE WITHOUT PAY BEGAN DURING THE MONTH IN WHICH THE NOTICE IS RECEIVED, THE AGENCY SHOULD CARRY THE EMPLOYEE ON LEAVE WITHOUT PAY UNTIL THE END OF THE MONTH.

THE ACTION TAKEN BY THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT IN CARRYING THE EMPLOYEE HERE INVOLVED ON THE ROLLS IN A LEAVE-WITHOUT-PAY STATUS AFTER THE EXHAUSTION OF HIS ANNUAL AND SICK LEAVE UNTIL NOTICE WAS RECEIVED OF THE FINAL ACTION TAKEN BY THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION UPON HIS APPLICATION FOR DISABILITY RETIREMENT WAS IN ACCORD WITH THE ABOVE QUOTED REGULATIONS. IN THAT CONNECTION SEE, ALSO, 11 COMP. GEN. 1; 21 ID. 135, AND THE DECISIONS CITED THEREIN. HOWEVER, SINCE THE LEAVE WITHOUT-PAY STATUS OF THE REGULAR RURAL CARRIER HERE CONSIDERED BEGAN IN AUGUST, 1946, AND NOT IN DECEMBER, 1946, DURING WHICH MONTH THE NOTICE FROM THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION WAS RECEIVED, UNDER THE SAID REGULATIONS, THE DATE OF HIS SEPARATION SHOULD HAVE BEEN FIXED AS DECEMBER 11, 1946--- THE DATE UPON WHICH THE NOTICE OF THE ACTION OF THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION WAS RECEIVED IN YOUR DEPARTMENT.

THE LAST SENTENCE OF SECTION 17 (F) OF THE 1945 STATUTE, SUPRA, EXPRESSLY PROVIDES THAT A TEMPORARY RURAL CARRIER SERVING A ROUTE "FOR WHICH THERE IS NO REGULAR CARRIER" SHALL BE PAID AT THE RATE OF SALARY PROVIDED FOR A CARRIER OF GRADE 1 FOR THE ROUTE ON WHICH SERVICE IS PERFORMED. CONSEQUENTLY, SINCE SUBSEQUENT TO DECEMBER 11, 1946, THERE WAS WITHIN THE PURVIEW OF THE REGULATIONS, SUPRA, NO REGULAR CARRIER FOR THE ROUTE SERVED BY THE TEMPORARY CARRIER HERE CONSIDERED, HIS SALARY SHOULD HAVE BEEN ADJUSTED TO GRADE 1, EFFECTIVE DECEMBER 12, 1946, RATHER THAN AS OF DECEMBER 16, 1946, AS SUGGESTED IN YOUR LETTER.