Overtime Compensation for Traveltime

B-193127: May 31, 1979

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An official of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Department of Labor, requested an advance decision as to whether five employees, who traveled outside regular working hours to attend training courses, might be paid overtime compensation. Grievances were filed on behalf of the employees, charging a violation of their collective bargaining agreement with OSHA. The grievances cited the pertinent agreement governing the employees, which required OSHA to schedule all official employee travel within the standard workweek and specified that travel resulting from an event which could not be administratively scheduled or controlled should be considered hours of employment for pay purposes. The Department of Labor denied the grievances, suggesting that OSHA should have scheduled the training courses to allow employee travel during normal duty hours because the classes were for the sole benefit of OSHA employees. The general Federal rule is that traveltime outside of regular duty hours is not considered hours of employment and is not compensable, except when scheduling is not administratively controllable. GAO decided that the Federal overtime statute and implementing regulations precluded treating the weekend travel as an uncontrollable event justifying overtime compensation or compensatory time and the employees' claim was denied.