Authorization of Double Overtime for Power Plant Employees

B-194401: Jul 3, 1980

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A request was made for the authorization of double overtime pay for wage board employees of the Army Corps of Engineers covered by the special Pacific Northwest Regional Power Rate Schedule. The schedule was based on the wage rates and pay practices of the electric power industry in that area which provided for an overtime rate of double time for hours worked in excess of 40 hours per week and on holidays. The Department of Defense (DOD) Wage Fixing Authority terminated payment of double overtime previously authorized for these employees because of a decision in which it was held that overtime payments in excess of one and a half times the basic rates was precluded by 5 U.S.C. 5545. Subsequently, legislation was enacted which provided that overtime could continue to be negotiated for these employees without regard to 5 U.S.C. 5544. The DOD Wage Fixing Authority did not rescind its order prohibiting double overtime, so that these Corps employees were the only hydro-electric employees working in the Pacific Nothwest Region who were not being paid double overtime. It was the GAO view that there was no proper basis for distinguishing Corps of Engineers wage board employees from those involved in the decision which was overturned by the congressional action insofar as the double overtime issue is concerned. Therefore, Corps of Engineers wage board employees of the Pacific Northwest Region were entitled to be paid double overtime. Since the legislation permitted the continuation of double overtime, it was concluded that these employees were entitled to corrective overtime pay for the period when their pay was reduced pursuant to the DOD Wage Fixing Authority's directive.

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