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WHEN THE USUAL 8 HOURS OF EXCUSED ABSENCE ADMINISTRATIVELY GRANTED FOR A MEDICAL EXAMINATION IS INSUFFICIENT TO COMPLETE THE EXAMINATION ROUTINE IT IS WITHIN ADMINISTRATIVE DISCRETION TO EXCUSE EMPLOYEES FOR A SOMEWHAT LONGER PERIOD THAN 8 HOURS. A CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE HOSPITALIZED FOR 10 DAYS FOLLOWING A PHYSICAL EXAMINATION FOR WHICH HE HAD BEEN ADMINISTRATIVELY GRANTED THE USUAL EXCUSED ABSENCE FOR 8 HOURS WHO IS SUBSEQUENTLY FOUND FIT FOR CONTINUED EMPLOYMENT MAY NOT BE GRANTED LEAVE FOR THE ENTIRE PERIOD OF ABSENCE. THERE IS NO BASIS FOR CHANGING THE LONG ESTABLISHED ADMINISTRATIVE PRACTICE OF EXCUSING EMPLOYEES FOR BRIEF PERIODS OF TIME WITHOUT CHARGE TO LEAVE OR LOSS OF PAY FOR REQUIRED PHYSICAL EXAMINATIONS TO GRANT THEM EXTENDED PERIODS OF TIME NECESSITATED BY THE RESULT OF THE INITIAL EXAMINATION.

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B-155580, DEC. 8, 1964, 44 COMP. GEN. 333

LEAVES OF ABSENCE - ADMINISTRATIVE LEAVE - MEDICAL EXAMINATIONS, ETC. LEAVES OF ABSENCE - ADMINISTRATIVE LEAVE - MEDICAL EXAMINATIONS, ETC. LEAVES OF ABSENCE - ADMINISTRATIVE LEAVE - MEDICAL EXAMINATIONS, ETC. WHEN THE USUAL 8 HOURS OF EXCUSED ABSENCE ADMINISTRATIVELY GRANTED FOR A MEDICAL EXAMINATION IS INSUFFICIENT TO COMPLETE THE EXAMINATION ROUTINE IT IS WITHIN ADMINISTRATIVE DISCRETION TO EXCUSE EMPLOYEES FOR A SOMEWHAT LONGER PERIOD THAN 8 HOURS; HOWEVER, THE ADDITIONAL TIME TO HOSPITALIZE AN EMPLOYEE OR TO REQUIRE ADDITIONAL AND MORE EXTENSIVE TESTS AND EXAMINATIONS, IN THE ABSENCE OF LEGISLATION, MAY NOT BE REGARDED AS EXCUSED ABSENCE WITHOUT CHARGE TO LEAVE OR LOSS OF PAY, EVEN THOUGH PERIODS OF DUTY MAY INTERVENE BETWEEN THE INITIAL EXAMINATION OF AN EMPLOYEE AND THE ADDITIONAL TESTS, EXAMINATIONS OR HOSPITALIZATION THAT MAY BE NECESSARY AS A RESULT OF THE INITIAL EXAMINATION. ALTHOUGH REQUIRED TO TAKE PERIODICAL PHYSICAL EXAMINATIONS, A CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE HOSPITALIZED FOR 10 DAYS FOLLOWING A PHYSICAL EXAMINATION FOR WHICH HE HAD BEEN ADMINISTRATIVELY GRANTED THE USUAL EXCUSED ABSENCE FOR 8 HOURS WHO IS SUBSEQUENTLY FOUND FIT FOR CONTINUED EMPLOYMENT MAY NOT BE GRANTED LEAVE FOR THE ENTIRE PERIOD OF ABSENCE, NO STATUTORY AUTHORITY PERMITTING THE GRANTING OF EXCUSED ABSENCES TO EMPLOYEES OF THE GOVERNMENT, THERE IS NO BASIS FOR CHANGING THE LONG ESTABLISHED ADMINISTRATIVE PRACTICE OF EXCUSING EMPLOYEES FOR BRIEF PERIODS OF TIME WITHOUT CHARGE TO LEAVE OR LOSS OF PAY FOR REQUIRED PHYSICAL EXAMINATIONS TO GRANT THEM EXTENDED PERIODS OF TIME NECESSITATED BY THE RESULT OF THE INITIAL EXAMINATION. A CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE WHO FOLLOWING A RECOMMENDED PHYSICAL EXAMINATION TO DETERMINE HIS FITNESS FOR CONTINUED EMPLOYMENT RETURNED ON SUCCESSIVE OCCASIONS, SEPARATED BY SUBSTANTIAL PERIODS OF RETURN TO DUTY, FOR FURTHER EXAMINATION AND HOSPITALIZATION RESULTING IN HIS DISABILITY RETIREMENT MAY NOT HAVE HIS LEAVE RECORD CORRECTED TO RECREDIT THE LEAVE CHARGED IN EXCESS OF THE 8 HOURS EXCUSED ABSENCE ADMINISTRATIVELY GRANTED, NOTWITHSTANDING THE EMPLOYEE WAS NOT REQUIRED TO UNDERTAKE PERIODIC PHYSICAL EXAMINATIONS, AND THAT PERIODS OF DUTY INTERVENED BETWEEN THE INITIAL EXAMINATION AND ADDITIONAL TESTS, EXAMINATIONS, OR HOSPITALIZATION, THE ADMINISTRATIVE DISCRETION TO EXCUSE EMPLOYEES FOR MEDICAL EXAMINATION BEING LIMITED TO BRIEF PERIODS OF TIME ABSENT STATUTORY AUTHORITY.

TO THE ADMINISTRATOR, FEDERAL AVIATION AGENCY, DECEMBER 8, 1964:

ON NOVEMBER 9, 1964, YOUR ACTING ADMINISTRATOR REQUESTED OUR VIEWS UPON SEVERAL QUESTIONS RELATING TO THE EXCUSING OF EMPLOYEES FROM DUTY FOR THE PURPOSE OF UNDERGOING MEDICAL EXAMINATIONS AND TESTS TO DETERMINE THE FITNESS OF THE EMPLOYEES FOR CONTINUED EMPLOYMENT IN POSITIONS UNDER YOUR AGENCY.

WE UNDERSTAND THAT IT HAS BEEN THE POLICY OF YOUR AGENCY TO EXCUSE EMPLOYEES WITHOUT LOSS OF PAY OR CHARGE TO LEAVE (EXCUSED ABSENCES) FOR PERIODS NOT IN EXCESS OF EIGHT HOURS WHILE UNDERGOING SUCH EXAMINATIONS AND TESTS. YOUR ACTING ADMINISTRATOR DIRECTS OUR ATTENTION TO TWO CASES IN WHICH THE EXAMINATIONS AND TESTS CONSUMED SUBSTANTIAL PERIODS OF TIME IN EXCESS OF THE EIGHT HOURS OF EXCUSED ABSENCE AUTHORIZED UNDER YOUR AGENCY'S POLICY. THE TWO CASES ARE SET FORTH IN HIS LETTER AS FOLLOWS:

EMPLOYEE A.

THE FAA REGIONAL FLIGHT SURGEON RECOMMENDED THAT THE EMPLOYEE BE REFERRED TO THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE FOR MEDICAL EXAMINATION. IN THIS INSTANCE, THE EMPLOYEE IS AN AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL SPECIALIST WHO IS REQUIRED BY THE AGENCY TO TAKE PERIODIC PHYSICAL EXAMINATIONS. THE AGENCY SCHEDULED AN APPOINTMENT FOR APRIL 10, 1964, AT THE PHILADELPHIA OUT-PATIENT CLINIC. UPON EXAMINATION, THE CLINIC INSTRUCTED THE EMPLOYEE TO REPORT TO THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE HOSPITAL, BALTIMORE, MARYLAND FOR FURTHER EVALUATION. HE WAS HOSPITALIZED ON APRIL 14, 1964 FOR THIS MEDICAL EXAMINATION, AND WAS RELEASED AND RETURNED TO DUTY ON APRIL 24, 1964. UNDER AGENCY POLICY, THE EMPLOYEE WAS GRANTED EXCUSED ABSENCE FOR EIGHT HOURS (ONE DAY). THE REMAINDER OF THE ABSENCE WAS CHARGED TO LEAVE. SUBSEQUENT MEDICAL FINDINGS CONCLUDED THAT THE EMPLOYEE WAS FIT FOR CONTINUED EMPLOYMENT. THEREFORE, HE HAS CONTINUED ON DUTY SINCE HIS RELEASE FROM THE HOSPITAL.

EMPLOYEE B.

THE FAA REGIONAL FLIGHT SURGEON RECOMMENDED THAT AN EMPLOYEE BE REFERRED TO THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE FOR MEDICAL EXAMINATION ON NOVEMBER 1, 1963 IN ORDER TO DETERMINE HIS FITNESS FOR CONTINUED EMPLOYMENT. IN THIS INSTANCE, THE EMPLOYEE IS AN ENGINEERING DRAFTSMAN, WHO IS NOT REQUIRED BY THE AGENCY TO TAKE PERIODIC PHYSICAL EXAMINATIONS. THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE REQUESTED THE EMPLOYEE TO RETURN FOR FURTHER EXAMINATION ON NOVEMBER 4, 12, 15, 20, AND 27, ON DECEMBER 3, 12, 19, AND ON JANUARY 16, 1964. HE WAS THEN HOSPITALIZED FOR 22 DAYS, FROM JANUARY 27TH THROUGH FEBRUARY 19, 1964, FOR FURTHER MEDICAL EXAMINATION. THE EMPLOYEE WAS INSTRUCTED TO RETURN TO THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE ON FEBRUARY 26, MARCH 2, MAY 4, AND JUNE 22, FOR MEDICAL EXAMINATION. THE EMPLOYEE WAS GRANTED EXCUSED ABSENCE FOR ONE DAY (8 HOURS). THE REMAINDER OF THE ABSENCE WAS CHARGED TO LEAVE. PRIOR TO RECEIPT OF FINAL MEDICAL DETERMINATION THAT THE EMPLOYEE WAS NOT FIT FOR CONTINUED EMPLOYMENT, THE EMPLOYEE PERFORMED SATISFACTORILY WHILE ON DUTY. CLAIM FOR DISABILITY RETIREMENT WAS FILED UPON RECEIPT OF FINAL MEDICAL DETERMINATION, AND HAS BEEN APPROVED BY THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION.

YOUR ACTING ADMINISTRATOR SAYS ALSO THAT:

WE RECOGNIZE THAT EACH AGENCY HAS CONSIDERABLE DISCRETION IN DETERMINING THE EXTENT TO WHICH IT WILL GRANT EXCUSED LEAVE FOR NECESSARY MEDICAL EXAMINATIONS, BUT INASMUCH AS SUCH LEAVE IS GENERALLY FOR RELATIVELY SHORT PERIODS, THE LIMITS OF SUCH DISCRETION DO NOT APPEAR TO BE CLEARLY DEFINED. ACCORDINGLY, THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS ARE SUBMITTED WITH REGARD TO THE SITUATIONS DESCRIBED ABOVE:

1. MAY THE AGENCY ADMINISTRATIVELY EXCUSE THE EMPLOYEE WITHOUT CHARGE TO LEAVE FOR THE ENTIRE PERIOD OF ABSENCE?

2. IF YOUR ANSWER IS IN THE AFFIRMATIVE,

(A) MAY THE EMPLOYEE'S LEAVE RECORD BE CORRECTED TO RECREDIT THE LEAVE CHARGED FOR SUCH ABSENCES?

(B) MAY BACK PAY BE ALLOWED FOR ANY PERIOD CHARGED TO LEAVE WITHOUT PAY?

3. IF YOUR ANSWER TO QUESTION NO. 1 IS IN THE NEGATIVE, MAY THE AGENCY ADMINISTRATIVELY EXCUSE THE EMPLOYEES WITHOUT CHARGE TO LEAVE FOR A REASONABLE PERIOD OF TIME IN EXCESS OF ONE DAY. IF SO, WHAT MIGHT BE CONSIDERED A REASONABLE PERIOD IN THE SITUATIONS DESCRIBED ABOVE?

4. IF YOUR ANSWER TO QUESTION NO. 3 IS IN THE AFFIRMATIVE,

(A) MAY THE AGENCY ADMINISTRATIVELY EXCUSE AN EMPLOYEE FOR REASONABLE PERIODS OF TIME ON SUCCESSIVE OCCASIONS RELATED TO THE SAME EXAMINATION BUT SEPARATED BY SUBSTANTIAL PERIODS OF RETURN TO DUTY? IN OTHER WORDS, CAN A SINGLE ABSENCE IN A SERIES OF RELATED ABSENCES BE CONSIDERED SEPARATELY UNDER SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES?

(B) MAY THE EMPLOYEE'S LEAVE RECORD BE CORRECTED TO RECREDIT THE LEAVE CHARGED FOR SUCH ABSENCES?

(C) MAY BACK PAY BE ALLOWED FOR ANY PERIOD CHARGED TO LEAVE WITHOUT PAY?

THERE IS NO EXPRESS STATUTORY AUTHORITY OF WHICH WE ARE AWARE PERMITTING THE GRANTING OF EXCUSED ABSENCES TO EMPLOYEES OF THE FEDERAL AVIATION AGENCY. OVER THE YEARS IT HAS BEEN RECOGNIZED BY OUR OFFICE, HOWEVER, THAT IN THE ABSENCE OF A STATUTE CONTROLLING THE MATTER, THE HEAD OF AN AGENCY MAY IN CERTAIN SITUATIONS EXCUSE AN EMPLOYEE FOR BRIEF PERIODS OF TIME WITHOUT CHARGE TO LEAVE OR LOSS OF PAY. AMONG SUCH RECOGNIZED EXCUSED ABSENCES IS AN ABSENCE FOR THE PURPOSE OF TAKING AN ADMINISTRATIVELY REQUIRED PHYSICAL EXAMINATION.

IN THE ABSENCE OF ANY STATUTORY GUIDELINES COVERING THE GRANTING OF EXCUSED ABSENCES APPLICABLE TO EMPLOYEES OF YOUR AGENCY WE WOULD NOT BE WARRANTED IN APPROVING A PROPOSAL UNDER WHICH SUCH ABSENCES COULD BE GRANTED FOR EXTENDED PERIODS OF TIME. YOUR FIRST QUESTION IS ANSWERED IN THE NEGATIVE THUS OBVIATING THE NECESSITY FOR ANY REPLY TO YOUR SECOND QUESTION.

CONCERNING YOUR REMAINING QUESTIONS WE UNDERSTAND THAT EMPLOYEE B (THE EMPLOYEE IN THE SECOND EXAMPLE), WHO, WHILE NOT REQUIRED TO UNDERTAKE PERIODIC MEDICAL EXAMINATIONS, WAS REQUIRED BY THE AGENCY TO BE EXAMINED IN THIS PARTICULAR INSTANCE. IF SUCH BE THE CASE HIS SITUATION WOULD NOT APPEAR TO BE MATERIALLY DIFFERENT FROM THAT OF EMPLOYEE A (THE EMPLOYEE IN THE FIRST EXAMPLE), WHO IS REQUIRED TO BE EXAMINED PERIODICALLY.

YOUR AGENCY'S LETTER ACKNOWLEDGES THAT NORMALLY EIGHT HOURS IS SUFFICIENT TIME TO UNDERGO THE MEDICAL EXAMINATION REQUIRED BY YOUR AGENCY TO BE TAKEN BY CERTAIN OF ITS EMPLOYEES. IN CASES IN WHICH THE EXAMINATION IS SOMEWHAT LONGER THAN EIGHT HOURS WE THINK THAT IT IS WITHIN YOUR ADMINISTRATIVE DISCRETION TO EXCUSE THE EMPLOYEE FOR THE ADDITIONAL TIME NECESSARY TO COMPLETE THE EXAMINATION ROUTINE. HOWEVER, WHEN BECAUSE OF CONDITIONS DISCOVERED OR MEDICAL SUSPICIONS AROUSED AS A RESULT OF SUCH EXAMINATION IT BECOMES NECESSARY TO HOSPITALIZE THE EMPLOYEE OR REQUIRE ADDITIONAL AND MORE EXTENSIVE TESTS AND EXAMINATIONS THEN IN THE ABSENCE OF LEGISLATION OTHERWISE PROVIDING THE TIME CONSUMED IN UNDERGOING SUCH ADDITIONAL TESTS AND EXAMINATIONS MAY NOT BE REGARDED AS EXCUSED ABSENCE WITHOUT CHARGE TO LEAVE OR LOSS OF PAY. THIS WOULD BE TRUE EVEN THOUGH PERIODS OF DUTY MAY INTERVENE BETWEEN THE INITIAL EXAMINATION AND THE ADDITIONAL TESTS, EXAMINATIONS OR HOSPITALIZATION THAT MAY BE REQUIRED. YOUR THIRD AND FOURTH QUESTIONS ARE ANSWERED ACCORDINGLY.

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