[Request for Retroactive Administrative Leave]

B-208406: Oct 6, 1982

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Shirley Jones
(202) 512-8156


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

The Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) requested a decision as to whether MSPB has the authority to grant retroactive administrative leave with pay to its employees who were ordered not to report for work during an administratively declared partial shutdown. The shutdown was initiated by MSPB in an effort to stretch 1982 appropriations in the face of funding cuts. However, passage of the Urgent Supplemental Appropriations Act of 1982 provided sufficient funds for MSPB to resume work with a full staff and made funds available to pay the employees for the period of the partial closing. Although the Office of Personnel Management did not issue any general regulations which granted excused absences, and no general statutory authority existed under which Federal employees could be excused from official duties without loss of pay or charge to leave, excused absences with pay have been authorized in specific situations. Agency heads can also excuse an employee for brief periods. Further, the Federal Personnel Manual states that closing an activity for brief periods is within the administrative authority of an agency. GAO believes that the partial closing of the MSPB offices under these circumstances falls within that agency's administrative scope and that MSPB has the authority to grant excused absences with pay to its employees under these circumstances. Accordingly, GAO held that the MSPB could retroactively grant administrative leave to the affected employees for the period in question.

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