[Question Concerning Payment of Physical Fitness Program Expenses]

B-218840: Sep 6, 1985

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The National Park Service requested an advance decision on whether: (1) four billings should be certified for payment for the operation of a physical fitness program; (2) late payment penalty charges must be paid on the billings; and (3) it is proper to grant excused absences for employees to participate in physical exercise programs. GAO noted that appropriated funds may not be used to pay the costs of medical or health care for civilian government employees unless provided for by statute. GAO found that: (1) the agency may certify the billings for physical fitness evaluations, laboratory tests, and health hazard appraisals, but regulations do not permit the use of appropriated funds to pay for employee physical exercise activities; (2) appropriated funds could be used if a physical fitness program was mandatory for all employees in designated positions; and (3) late payment penalties, under the Prompt Payment Act, must be paid on these billings. GAO also found that, since executive branch regulations exclude physical exercise from the health services which agencies may provide to employees, the Park Service may not grant excused absences to employees for physical exercise activities.

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