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The question was raised as to whether security police employees of the Government Printing Office (GPO) were entitled to receive overtime compensation for off-duty time spent acquiring uniforms prescribed by GPO to be worn in the performance of official duties. Prior to January 1979, GPO security police employees were paid a uniform allowance in accordance with Federal regulations. Each employee then purchased the uniform from private vendors on off-duty time without compensation. Subsequently, GPO standardized its uniforms with those of the General Services Administration (GSA). In connection with this, GPO entered into an arrangement with GSA whereby the security police uniform items could be obtained from a GSA store. The employees asserted that the night-shift employees were entitled to be paid for the time they spend including traveltime spent acquiring their uniforms. GPO stated that all of the security employees are on shifts which rotate on a regular basis. Thus, all of the employees are, at some time, on the day shift and as such are entitled to receive administrative leave to acquire uniforms during this time. The question was whether the time spent obtaining uniform items outside regular working hours constituted overtime work within the meaning of a U.S. code. The code does not fully set out the standards as to what constitutes compensable overtime work. However, the courts have applied essentially the same standards to determine whether certain types of activities are compensable overtime under U.S. codes applicable to the employees. GAO did not consider the time spent by employees purchasing clothing to wear to work as hours of work so as to entitle the individual to overtime pay. Therefore, the time spent by GPO employees in acquiring their uniforms was not considered overtime work. Accordingly, the employees were not entitled to payment.


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