B-82542, APRIL 21, 1949, 28 COMP. GEN. 599

B-82542: Apr 21, 1949

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COMPENSATION - POSTAL SERVICE - AUTOMATIC PROMOTIONS - SERVICE CREDITS - PERIOD OF SUSPENSION WITHOUT CAUSE A POSTAL SERVICE EMPLOYEE WHO IS RESTORED TO DUTY AFTER A PERIOD OF UNWARRANTED SEPARATION FROM THE SERVICE DUE TO AN ADMINISTRATIVE DOUBT AS TO HIS LOYALTY IS NOT ENTITLED TO COUNT THE PERIOD OF SEPARATION AS SERVICE FOR AUTOMATIC PROMOTION PURPOSES. PROVIDING THAT A PERSON IMPROPERLY REMOVED AND SUBSEQUENTLY REINSTATED IS TO BE DEEMED AS HAVING RENDERED SERVICE DURING THE PERIOD OF HIS REMOVAL. IT IS STATED ON YOUR LETTER THAT THE PARTICULAR EMPLOYEE HERE INVOLVED WAS SUSPENDED FROM DUTY WITHOUT PAY EFFECTIVE MAY 4. AS A RESULT OF A RECOMMENDATION BY THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT LOYALTY BOARD BASED UPON ITS CONCLUSION THAT REASONABLE GROUNDS EXISTED FOR THE BELIEF THAT THE EMPLOYEE WAS DISLOYAL TO THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT.

B-82542, APRIL 21, 1949, 28 COMP. GEN. 599

COMPENSATION - POSTAL SERVICE - AUTOMATIC PROMOTIONS - SERVICE CREDITS - PERIOD OF SUSPENSION WITHOUT CAUSE A POSTAL SERVICE EMPLOYEE WHO IS RESTORED TO DUTY AFTER A PERIOD OF UNWARRANTED SEPARATION FROM THE SERVICE DUE TO AN ADMINISTRATIVE DOUBT AS TO HIS LOYALTY IS NOT ENTITLED TO COUNT THE PERIOD OF SEPARATION AS SERVICE FOR AUTOMATIC PROMOTION PURPOSES, WHERE THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE SUSPENSION OCCURRED PRIOR TO THE ENACTMENT OF THE ACT OF JUNE 10, 1948, PROVIDING THAT A PERSON IMPROPERLY REMOVED AND SUBSEQUENTLY REINSTATED IS TO BE DEEMED AS HAVING RENDERED SERVICE DURING THE PERIOD OF HIS REMOVAL.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE POSTMASTER GENERAL, APRIL 21, 1949:

THERE HAS BEEN CONSIDERED YOUR UNDATED LETTER, REFERENCE 12, RECEIVED IN THIS OFFICE DECEMBER 31, 1948, REQUESTING A DECISION RESPECTING THAT EFFECTIVE DATE OF AN AUTOMATIC PROMOTION FOR A CITY LETTER CARRIER UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES SET FORTH BELOW.

IT IS STATED ON YOUR LETTER THAT THE PARTICULAR EMPLOYEE HERE INVOLVED WAS SUSPENDED FROM DUTY WITHOUT PAY EFFECTIVE MAY 4, 1948, AS A RESULT OF A RECOMMENDATION BY THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT LOYALTY BOARD BASED UPON ITS CONCLUSION THAT REASONABLE GROUNDS EXISTED FOR THE BELIEF THAT THE EMPLOYEE WAS DISLOYAL TO THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT. IT FURTHER APPEARS THAT, EFFECTIVE DECEMBER 9, 1948, THE EMPLOYEE WAS RESTORED TO DUTY UPON HIS FINAL CLEARANCE BY THE LOYALTY BOARD. WITH RESPECT TO THE EMPLOYEE'S ELIGIBILITY TO AUTOMATIC WITHIN-GRADE PROMOTION UNDER THE APPLICABLE LAW GOVERNING THE POSTAL SERVICE, IT IS REPORTED THAT THE EMPLOYEE RECEIVED HIS LAST AUTOMATIC PROMOTION EFFECTIVE JANUARY 1, 1948, AND, HAD IT NOT BEEN FOR THE PERIOD OF SUSPENSION, HE WOULD HAVE BEEN ENTITLED, UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF LAW AUTHORIZING PROMOTION TO THE NEXT HIGHER SALARY STEP WITHIN THE GRADE AT THE BEGINNING OF THE QUARTER FOLLOWING "ONE YEAR'S SATISFACTORY SERVICE," TO AN AUTOMATIC PROMOTION EFFECTIVE JANUARY 1, 1949.

IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT YOUR QUESTION PRIMARILY IS DIRECTED TO THE MATTER OF THE EMPLOYEE'S RIGHT TO COUNT THE PERIOD OF SUSPENSION AS SERVICE FOR AUTOMATIC PROMOTION PURPOSES WHERE, AS IN THE INSTANT CASE, THE SUSPENSION WAS CAUSED BY AN ADMINISTRATIVE DOUBT OF HIS LOYALTY, BUT WHICH LATER WAS RESOLVED IN FAVOR OF THE EMPLOYEE. OTHERWISE, IT APPEARS FROM YOUR LETTER THAT THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE EMPLOYEE'S NEXT AUTOMATIC PROMOTION ADMINISTRATIVELY WILL BE FIXED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE EXISTING PRACTICE OF YOUR DEPARTMENT RESPECTING PERIODS OF ABSENCE WITHOUT PAY AS ILLUSTRATED BY INSTRUCTIONS CONTAINED IN THE POSTAL GUIDE, JULY 1943, PAGE 93, ARTICLE 61, AS FOLLOWS:

WHEN ABSENT WITHOUT PAY.--- THE AUTOMATIC PROMOTION OF EMPLOYEE, EXCEPTING THOSE DRAWING DISABILITY COMPENSATION FROM THE UNITED STATES EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION COMMISSION, WILL BE DEFERRED FOR ABSENCE WITHOUT PAY IN THE FOLLOWING MANNER: WHEN ABSENT FOR 90 DAYS OR MORE DURING THE YEAR FOLLOWING HIS APPOINTMENT OR HIS LAST PROMOTION, HE SHOULD NOT BE RECOMMENDED FOR FURTHER PROMOTION UNTIL THE COMPLETION OF ANOTHER QUARTER'S SERVICE; 180 DAYS OR MORE, 2 MORE QUARTERS' SERVICE; 270 DAYS OR MORE, THREE MORE QUARTERS' SERVICE. * * *

WITH RESPECT TO THE MATTER OF COUNTING THE PERIOD OF SUSPENSION WITHOUT PAY AS SERVICE FOR AUTOMATIC SALARY INCREASE, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT I AM NOT AWARE OF ANY AUTHORITY OF LAW EXISTING AT THE TIME OF THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE SUSPENSION HERE CONSIDERED WHICH WOULD PERMIT CREDIT FOR SUCH PERIOD DURING WHICH NO SERVICES WERE RENDERED. SINCE THE SUSPENSION IN THE INSTANT CASE WAS MADE EFFECTIVE MAY 4, 1948, THE EMPLOYEE IS NOT ENTITLED TO THE BENEFITS OF PUBLIC LAW 623, APPROVED JUNE 10, 1948, 62 STAT. 354, AMENDING THE ACT OF AUGUST 24, 1912, AND AUTHORIZING, INTER ALIA, THAT UPON RESTORATION TO DUTY AFTER AN UNJUSTIFIED OR UNWARRANTED SUSPENSION, THE EMPLOYEE IS ENTITLED TO COUNT THE PERIOD OF SUSPENSION WITHOUT PAY AS SERVICE FOR ALL PURPOSES EXCEPT FOR THE ACCUMULATION OF LEAVE.

FROM THE FOREGOING, IT WILL BE SEEN THAT THE SAID EMPLOYEE IS NOT ENTITLED TO AN AUTOMATIC SALARY INCREASE EFFECTIVE JANUARY 1, 1949--- HE HAVING BEEN IN A LEAVE-WITHOUT-PAY STATUS APPROXIMATELY SEVEN MONTHS OF THE REQUIRED "ONE YEAR'S SATISFACTORY SERVICE.' HOWEVER, UNDER THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT POLICY IN SUCH MATTERS, AS SET FORTH IN THE PORTION OF THE POSTAL GUIDE QUOTED ABOVE, THE EMPLOYEE--- HAVING BEEN IN A LEAVE- WITHOUT-PAY STATUS FOR AS MUCH AS 180 DAYS BUT LESS THAN 290 DAYS--- WILL BE ENTITLED TO AN AUTOMATIC SALARY INCREASE EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 1949.