B-173815, AUG 29, 1973

B-173815: Aug 29, 1973

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THE PROPER METHOD OF COMPUTING THE PAY OF AN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE IS TO DIVIDE THE ANNUAL BASIC RATE OF PAY BY 2080. THE HOURLY RATE IS THEN MULTIPLIED BY 80 TO DERIVE A BIWEEKLY RATE. YOU ALLEGE THAT THE METHOD USED BY YOUR EMPLOYING AGENCY WAS INCORRECT AND RESULTED IN AN UNDERPAYMENT TO YOU IN THE AMOUNT OF $1. 1967 WHILE YOU WERE EMPLOYED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE - AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT (AID). WERE STATIONED AT DESSIE. THE PER ANNUM POST DIFFERENTIAL RATE AT WHICH PAYMENT IS MADE SHALL BE REDUCED. DOES NOT EXCEED AN AMOUNT WHICH IS ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS LESS THAN THE PER ANNUM SALARY AUTHORIZED FOR THE CHIEF OF MISSION POSITION. YOU WERE ADVISED BY THE ACTING AREA CONTROLLER.

B-173815, AUG 29, 1973

METHOD OF COMPUTATION OF POST DIFFERENTIAL ALLOWANCE. THE PROPER METHOD OF COMPUTING THE PAY OF AN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE IS TO DIVIDE THE ANNUAL BASIC RATE OF PAY BY 2080, COUNTING ANY FRACTION OF A CENT AS THE NEXT HIGHER CENT IN ORDER TO DERIVE AN HOURLY RATE. THE HOURLY RATE IS THEN MULTIPLIED BY 80 TO DERIVE A BIWEEKLY RATE. SEE B-177694, MARCH 7, 1973. CORRECT METHOD HAS BEEN USED FOR THIS CLAIMANT, NO ADDITIONAL PAYMENT DUE.

TO JOHN D. FOUTS:

WE REFER TO YOUR LETTERS OF JULY 26, 1973, AND DECEMBER 7, 1972, WITH ENCLOSURES, FOR DETERMINATION BY THIS OFFICE OF THE PROPER METHOD OF COMPUTATION OF YOUR POST DIFFERENTIAL ALLOWANCE. YOU ALLEGE THAT THE METHOD USED BY YOUR EMPLOYING AGENCY WAS INCORRECT AND RESULTED IN AN UNDERPAYMENT TO YOU IN THE AMOUNT OF $1,317.67 FOR THE YEARS 1965, 1966, AND 1967 WHILE YOU WERE EMPLOYED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE - AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT (AID), AND WERE STATIONED AT DESSIE, ETHIOPIA.

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT YOU QUESTIONED THE METHOD OF COMPUTATION OF YOUR SALARY AND POST DIFFERENTIAL ALLOWANCE UNDER SECTION 552 OF THE STANDARDIZED REGULATIONS (GOVERNMENT CIVILIANS, FOREIGN AREAS), ON SEVERAL OCCASIONS AND RECEIVED CONFLICTING ANSWERS AS TO THE PROPER METHOD OF COMPUTING THE POST DIFFERENTIAL ALLOWANCE. SECTION 552 PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

"552 CEILING ON PAYMENTS

"NOTWITHSTANDING THE RATE OF DIFFERENTIAL PRESCRIBED FOR THE DIFFERENTIAL POST, IF THE COUNTRY INDICATED IN COLUMN 1, SECTION 920, AS APPLICABLE TO THE EMPLOYEE'S POST HAS A CHIEF OF MISSION POSITION CLASSIFIED PURSUANT TO 22 U.S.C. 866, THE PER ANNUM POST DIFFERENTIAL RATE AT WHICH PAYMENT IS MADE SHALL BE REDUCED, IF NECESSARY, SO THAT THE COMBINED PER ANNUM POST DIFFERENTIAL AND BASIC COMPENSATION (SEC. 040K) OR POST DIFFERENTIAL AND SALARY (SEC. 040 1) AUTHORIZED FOR THE EMPLOYEE, DOES NOT EXCEED AN AMOUNT WHICH IS ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS LESS THAN THE PER ANNUM SALARY AUTHORIZED FOR THE CHIEF OF MISSION POSITION. (SEE MODIFICATION FOR VIET-NAM IN SECTION 920.)"

BY LETTER DATED FEBRUARY 28, 1968, YOU WERE ADVISED BY THE ACTING AREA CONTROLLER, AID, REGIONAL OFFICE, CENTRAL AMERICA AND PANAMA AFFAIRS, GUATEMALA CITY, GUATEMALA, C.A., THAT THE METHOD OF COMPUTATION IN THAT OFFICE WAS AS FOLLOWS:

"*** PRIOR TO THE LAST MONTH OF THE CALENDAR YEAR, THEY REVIEW THE SALARY PAYMENTS TO DATE, PROJECT THE LAST PAYMENTS REQUIRED TO COMPLETE THE YEAR, AND COMPUTE ANY FURTHER ADJUSTMENTS NECESSARY TO MAKE THE SALARY $100 LESS THAN THAT OF THE CHIEF OF MISSION. ***"

YOUR FURTHER PURSUIT OF THE MATTER PRODUCED A MEMORANDUM TO YOU FROM THE GENERAL COUNSEL OF YOUR AGENCY DATED AUGUST 19, 1971, ON THE SUBJECT OF "APPLICATION OF STANDARDIZED REGULATIONS (GOVERNMENT CIVILIANS, FOREIGN AREAS), SECTION 552."

IN THAT MEMORANDUM YOU WERE ADVISED THAT IN APPLYING SECTION 552, THE AGENCY HAS ESTABLISHED A PRACTICE OF CONVERTING THE CEILING ESTABLISHED BY THAT SECTION INTO BIWEEKLY RATES IN ORDER TO CONFORM TO BIWEEKLY PAY PERIODS AND HAS USED THE FOLLOWING METHOD:

"1. ESTABLISH AN ANNUAL AMOUNT BY SUBTRACTING $100 FROM THE SALARY RATE OF THE CHIEF OF MISSION. (THIS WILL VARY ACCORDING TO THE CLASS ESTABLISHED FOR A PARTICULAR COUNTRY.)

"2. DIVIDE THE REMAINDER BY 2,080 HOURS FOR AN HOURLY RATE.

"3. MULTIPLY THE HOURLY RATE TIMES 80 TO ARRIVE AT A BIWEEKLY RATE."

IT WAS POINTED OUT THAT THIS METHOD WAS A DERIVATIVE FROM THE STATUTORY METHOD FOR CONVERTING THE ANNUAL RATE OF BASIC PAY TO A BASIC HOURLY, DAILY, WEEKLY OR BIWEEKLY RATE AS PROVIDED BY 5 U.S.C. 5504(B).

THE MATTER WAS THEN BROUGHT BY YOU IN THE FORM OF A GRIEVANCE TO THE ATTENTION OF THE FOREIGN SERVICE GRIEVANCE BOARD, DEPARTMENT OF STATE, WHICH FOUND IN RECORD OF PROCEEDINGS NUMBER 71-21-AID-F6, DATED FEBRUARY 8, 1972, THAT BOTH THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE AND AID ARE CONSISTENT IN INTERPRETING SECTION 552 AS APPLYING TO THE RATE OF PAY IN EFFECT FOR A PARTICULAR PAY PERIOD RATHER THAN TO THE ACTUAL TOTAL ANNUAL COMPENSATION AND THAT ALL COMPUTATION OF SALARY, DIFFERENTIAL ALLOWANCES, ETC., ARE MADE ON THAT BASIS. THE BOARD FOUND NO ERRORS IN COMPUTATION OF YOUR COMPENSATION UNDER THE ESTABLISHED PRACTICE OF YOUR AGENCY BUT REFUSED TO DECIDE WHICH METHOD OF COMPUTATION, RATE OF PAY OR ACTUAL TOTAL ANNUAL COMPENSATION IS THE CORRECT ONE. IT WAS SUGGESTED THAT SUCH RULING MUST COME FROM THE UNITED STATES GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE.

BY LETTER DATED JULY 26, 1972, YOU WERE ADVISED BY THE BOARD THAT ITS REGULATIONS DO NOT PERMIT THE TRANSFER OF THE RECORD OF PROCEEDINGS TO THIS OFFICE AND THAT YOU INITIATE YOUR CLAIM ON AN INDIVIDUAL BASIS.

BECAUSE OF THE INCONSISTENCY OF PRACTICE OF SOME PAYROLL UNITS IN THE METHOD OF COMPUTING THE PAY OF CERTAIN OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES, THIS OFFICE ISSUED A MEMORANDUM TO THE HEADS OF DEPARTMENTS AND INDEPENDENT ESTABLISHMENTS, B-50870, NOVEMBER 17, 1958, IN WHICH THEY WERE INSTRUCTED THAT THE PROPER METHOD OF COMPUTING THE PAY OF AN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE IS TO DIVIDE THE ANNUAL BASIC RATE OF PAY BY 2080, COUNTING ANY FRACTION OF A CENT AS THE NEXT HIGHER CENT IN ORDER TO DERIVE AN HOURLY RATE. THE HOURLY RATE IS THEN MULTIPLIED BY 80 TO DERIVE A BIWEEKLY RATE.

THE MEMORANDUM FURTHER INSTRUCTED THAT THIS METHOD IS ALSO TO BE APPLIED:

"*** IN THE COMPUTATION OF AGGREGATE COMPENSATION PAYMENTS TO OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES ASSIGNED TO POSTS OF DUTY OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES WHO ARE AUTHORIZED BY LAW TO BE PAID ADDITIONAL COMPENSATION BASED UPON A PERCENTAGE OF THEIR BASIC COMPENSATION RATES."

IN A RECENT DECISION WE HAD THE OCCASION TO REAFFIRM THE INSTRUCTIONS OF THIS MEMORANDUM. SEE B-177694, MARCH 7, 1973, COPY HEREWITH.

UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES, AS RELATED HERETOFORE, WE FIND THAT THE METHOD OF COMPUTATION OF BASIC PAY AND POST DIFFERENTIAL ALLOWANCES UNDER SECTION 552 BY THE REGIONAL OFFICE IN GUATEMALA CITY WAS INCORRECT AND THAT THE PRACTICE IN THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE AND AID WAS IN ACCORDANCE WITH OUR INSTRUCTIONS OF NOVEMBER 17, 1958.

ACCORDINGLY THE METHOD USED IN COMPUTING YOUR SALARY AND POST DIFFERENTIAL ALLOWANCE BY AID WAS THE PROPER ONE.