B 209327 Request for Decision Concerning Compensatory

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Title 5 United States Code and there fore is not subject to aggregate salary limitations imposed by statute The issue presented is whether certain Government employees whose pay has reached the aggregate pay limitation imposed by 5 U S C S 5547 may be granted compensatory time off for religious observances despite the fact that they

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S e r v i c e S C S and I G e n e r a l S c h e d u l e G S a n d Merit P a y. GM e m p l o y e e s who h a v e r e a c h e d t h e aggregate p a y l i m i t a t i o n. or p a y c a p imposed 3y 5 U S C S 5547 T h e G e n e r a l S e r v i c e s. A d m i n i s t r a t i o n b r o u l j h t t h i s matter t o o u r a t t e n t i o n. b e c a u s e of c o n f l i c t i n g s t a t u t o r y a n d r e g u l a t o r y p r o v i s i o n s. and previocls C o m p t r o l l e r G e n e r a l d e c i s i o n s which d i s a l l o w e d. t h e e a r n i n g a n d u s e of c o m p e n s a t o r y t i m e b y s u c h e m p l o y e e s. S p e c i f i c a l l y GSA b e l i e v e s t h a t a s a p p l i e d t o Government. e m p l o y e e s at t h e s t a t u t o r y p a y cap T i t l e I V o f t h e F e d e r a l. Employees F l e x i b l e a n d Compressed Work S c h e d u l e s A c t o f. 1978 P u b l i c Law 95 390 S e p t e m b e r 2 9 1978 9 2 S t a t 755. 762 w h i c h a u t h o r i z e d t h e g r a n t i n g o f c o m p e n s a t o r y t i m e o f f. t o employees f o r r e l i g i o u s o b s e r v a n c e s may b e i n c o n s i s t e n t. w i t h c e r t 3 i n p r o v i s i o n s o f t h e C i v i l S e r v i c e Reform A c t o f. 1978 P u b l i c Law 95 454 October 13 1 9 7 8 9 2 S t a t 1 1 1 1. w h i c h p r o v i d e t h a t members of t h e S e n i o r E x e c u t i v e S e r v i c e. SES a r e t o b e e x c l u d e d f r o m r e c e i v i n g a n y f o r m o f premium. p a y u n d e r 5 U S C C h a p t e r 55 s u b c h a p t e r V I n i t s submis. s i o n t h e a g e n c y s t a t e s as follows, f I t is o u r i n t e r p r e t a t i o n b a s e d upon t h e. s p e c i f i c e x c l u s i o n o f SES members f r o m c o v e r. age u n d e r t h i s s u b c h a p t e r t h a t t h e y were n o t. e l i g i b l e t o u s e t h e p r o v i s i o n s of s e c t i o n. 5550 a for compensatory t i m e o f f f o r reli,gious observances In addition we believe. t h a t employees a t o r above t h e s t a t u t o r y pay. cap of 5 7 5 0 0 f o r G S a n d GM e m p l o y e e s a n d. 5 8 5 0 0 f o r SES members s h o u l d be e x c l u d e d. b a s e d o n t h e r u l e e s t a b l i s h e d i n 37 Comp. t r o l l e r G e n e r a l C G 362 a n d f u r t h e r a m p l i f i e d. in CG D e c i s i o n B 200058 d a t e d J a n u a r y 28. I n e s s e n c e t h e a g e n c y q u e s t i o n s how F e d e r a l e m p l o y e e s who. h a v e r e a c h e d t h e s t a t u t o r y p a y c a p may be a u t h o r i z e d t o e a r n. and u s e compensatory t i m e o f f f o r r e l i g i o u s o b s e r v a n c e s. s i n c e w e h a v e p r e v i o u s l y h e l d t h a t c o m p e n s a t o r y time w h i c h. may b e g r a n t e d t o e n p l o y e e s i n l i e u of m o n e t a r y c o m p e n s a t i o n. f o r i r r e g u l a r o r o c c a s i o n a l o v e r t i m e work i s s u b j e c t t o the. a g g r e g a t e s a l a r y l i m i t a t i o n s set i n 5 U S C S 5547. A c c o r d b n g t o t h e s u b m i s s i o n t h e J f f i c e of e r s o l n e l. Management CPM h a s i n f o r m a l l y a d v i s e d G S A t n a c 2 m p i o y e e s. who a r e now b e i n g p a i d a t t n e s t a t u t o r y maximlim a r e e t i t l e d. t o e a r n and use c o r n 2 e n s a t o r y time o f f for r I i i i s 3 s e r v. a n c e s s i i c e i n O P s v i e w Zongress d i a n o t i n t e n c j a. B 20 9 3 27, e x c l u d e s u c h cagped e m p l o y e e s f r o m t h e c o v e r a g e of 5 U S C. S 5550a The G S A now q u e s t i o n s OPM s i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of. C o n g r e s s i n t e n t i n t h i s matter T h e a g e n c y n o t e s t h a t. w h i l e t h e l a n g u a g e of 5 U S C S 5550a d o e s n o t i n d i c a t e any. i n t e n t i o n o n t h e p a r t of t h e C o n g r e s s t o s p e c i f i c a l l y. e x c l u d e a n y g r o u p o f e m p l o y e e s f r o m e n t i t l e m e n t t o compensa. t o r y t i m e o f f f o r r e l i g i o u s observances n e i t h e r does it. show a c l e a r i n t e n t t o i n c l u d e e m p l o y e e s a t t h e s t a t u t o r y. p a y c a p who a r e o t h e r w i s e n o t e n t i t l e d t o e a r n a n d u s e. c o m p e n s a t o r y t i m e i n l i e u of o v e r t i m e p a y F u r t h e r m o r e GSA. p o i n t s t o l a n g u a g e i n t h e C i v i l S e r v i c e Reform A c t o f 1978. w h i c h s p e c i f i c a l l y e x c l u d e s members of t h e SES from r e c e i v. i n g a n y f o r m of premium p a y The a g e n c y m a i n t a i n s t h a t. s i n c e t h e C i v i l S e r v i c e Reform A c t of 1 9 7 8 w h i c h w a s. e n a c t e d a f t e r t h e p a s s a g e o f P u b l i c L a w 95 390 made n o. r e f e r e n c e t o u s e of c o m p e n s a t o r y t i m e f o r r e l i g i o u s o b s e r v. a n c e s by c a p p e d SES e m p l o y e e s i t i s d o u b t f u l t h a t C o n g r e s s. i n t e n d e d f o r s u c h employees to b e able t o e a r n and u s e. compensatory t i m e f o r r e l i g i o u s p u r p o s e s as an e x c e p t i o n t o. t h e g e n e r a l r u l e a l l o w i n g n o premium p a y. T i t l e I V of t h e F e d e r a l Employees F l e x i b l e and. Compressed Work S c h e d u l e s A c t o f 1978 a d d e d s e c t i o n 5 5 5 0 a t o. T i t l e 5 o f t h e U n i t e d S t a t e s Code a u t h o r i z i n g G o v e r n m e n t. a g e n c i e s t o g r a n t compensatory t i m e o f f f o r t h e i r employees. r e l i g i o u s observances That s e c t i o n provides i n part as. a t h e O f f i c e o f P e r s o n n e l Management. s h a l l p r e s c r i b e r e g u l a t i o n s p r o v i d i n g f o r work. s c h e d u l e s u n d e r w h i c h a n e m p l o y e e whose. personal r e l i g i o u s b e l i e f s r e q u i r e t h e absten. t i o n f r o m work d u r i n g c e r t a i n p e r i o d s o f t i m e. may e l e c t t o e n g a g e i n o v e r t i m e work f o r t i n e. l o s t f o r m e e t i n g those r e l i g i o u s r e q u i r e. m e n t s Any e m p l o y e e who so e l e c t s s u c h o v e r. t i m e work s h a l l b e g r a n t e d e q u a l c o m p e n s a t o r y. t i m e o f f from h i s s c h e d u l e d t o u r of d u t y i n. l i e u o f o v e r t i n e p a y for s u c h r e l i g i o u s. r e a s o n s n o t w i t h s t a n d i n n 2 2 o t h e r p r o v i s i o n. of l a w E m p h a s i s added, I n a c c o r d a n c e w i t h t h e a b o v e s t a t u t e o n October 6. 1 9 7 8 t h e O f f ice of P e r s o n n e l Ianagenent OPM p r o m u l g a t e d. r e g u l a t i o n s co i r n p l e m e n t 5 U S C S 5550a Those r e g u l a. t i o n s w iic5 3 r e m n t a i n e d i n 5 C F R P a r t 550 S u b p a r t J. A y L 2 1 y LO eacn employee i n o r u n d e r a n. executive agency as defined by section 105 of title 5. United States Code Section 105 in turn defines an, executive agency as an Executive department a Government.
corporation and an independent establishment, Subpart J specifically provides as follows at section. b To the extent that such modifica,tions in work schedules do not interfere with. the efficient accomplishment of an agency s,mission the agency shall in each instance. afford the employee the opportunity to work,compensatory overtime and shall in each. instance grant compensatory time off to an,employee requesting such time off for.
religious observances when the employee s,personal religious beliefs require that the. employee abstain from work during certain,periods of the workday or workweek. a The premium pay provisions for over,time work in Subpart A of Part 550 of Title 5. Code of Federal Regulations and section 7 of,the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 as. amended do not apply to compensatory overtime,work performed by an employee for this.
We believe that the language and the legislative history. of section 5550a show an intent on the part of Congress to. provide all Federal employees including those at the statu. tory pay cap with the opportunity to earn and use compensa. tory time o f f for religious observances The language of. the statute itself is rather compelling in t h i s regard. since it ap ears to einbrace any employee who elects to work. overtime hours to compensate for time l o s t in meeting his. religious requirements notwithstanding any other provision. of law Furthermore the regulations implementing the. statute specifically p r 0 v i J t tnat 5 U S C S 5550a is to be. appli2 d to z l i c h tlnployee of 3i 1 exscutive de arLnent Govern. inent corporation or indepezdent e s t a b l i s h m e n t a s defined. by 5 V 3 2 5 1 0 5 above Like ti statute itself these. regulations ap ear broad ia coverage Subpart J directs. 1 21 2t instance aff 2r l I R en lcy e the,B 2 0 9 3 27. o p p o r t u n i t y t o wo c o m p e n s a t o r y overtime when t h e employ. e e s personal r e l i g i o u s b e l i e f s r e q u i r e h i s a b s t e n t i o n f r o m I. work I n a d d i t i o x t h e above s t a t u t e and its implementing. regulations provide only one s p e c i f i c limitation on Federal. e m p l o y e e s e n t i t l e m e n t t o c o m p e n s a t o r y time o f f or r e l i. gious purgoses T h a t r e s t r i c t i o n states t h a t a n employee s. r e q u e s t f o r r e l i g i o i l s c o m p e n s a t o r y t i m e may p r o p e r l y be. d e n i e d u n d e r s u c h e x c e p t i o n s a s may b e n e c e s s a r y t o. e f f i c i e n t l y c a r r y o u t t h e m i s s i o n of t h e a g e n c y or a g e n c i e s. involved 5 U S C S 5550a c I n n o place h o w e v e r do. t h e s t a t u t e or r e g u l a t i o n s s t a t e t h a t compensatory t i m e off. f o r r e l i g i o u s p u r p o s e s is n o t t o be g r a n t e d t o e m p l o y e e s who. are o t h e r w i s e n o t e n t i t l e d t o a c c r u e and u s e compensatory. t i m e o f f under t h e premium pay p r o v i s i o n s o f s u b c h a p t e r V o f. C h a p t e r 5 5 T i t l e 5 U n i t e d S t a t e s Code. I n t h i s r e g a r d t h e r e g u l a t i o n s a t S u b p a r t J w h i c h were. p r o m u l g a t e d t o i n p l e m e n t s e c t i o n 5 5 5 0 a s p e c i f i c a l l y provide. t h a t t h e premium p a y p r o v i s i o n s c o n t a i n e d i n S u b p a r t A of. 5 C F R P a r t 5 5 0 w h i c h i m p l e m e n t 5 U S C C h a p t e r 5 5 sub. c h a p t e r V a o o v e d o n o t a p p l y t o c o m p e n s a t o r y t i m e o f f f o r. r e l i g i o u s p a r p o s e s u n d e r t h a t t i t l e T h u s OPM is c l e a r l y. t r e a t i n g c c r e n s a t o r y t i m e o f f f o r r e l i g i o u s o b s e r v a n c e s as. a d i f f e r e n t c i n d o f e n t i t l e m e n t t h a n c o m p e n s a t o r y time o f f. w h i c h may be a f f o r d e d t o a n e m p l o y e e f o r i r r e g u l a r o r. o c c a s i o n a l o v e r t i m e work i n l i e u of m o n e t a r y c o m p e n s a t i o n. u n d e r 5 U S C S 5543 We believe that the legislative. h i s t o r y a n d t h e u n i q u e s u b j e c t matter o f s e c t i o n 5 5 5 0 a. support such a determination, S e c t i o n S 5 5 0 a is s p e c i f i c a l l y c o n c e r n e d w i t h t h e amount. of f r e e d o m e n j o y e d b y F e d e r a l e m p l o y e e s i n e x e r c i s i n g t h e i r. religious beliefs The f r e e e x e r c i s e o f s u c h b e l i e f s is a. f u n d a m e n t a l r i g h t g u a r a n t e e d u n d e r t h e F i r s t Amendment o f. t h e U n i t e d S t a t e s C o n s t i t u t i o n An i n d i v i d u a l s f r e e d o m. b o t h t o h o l d a p a r t i c u l a r s e t of r e l i g i o u s b e l i e f s a n d t o. practice i n accordance w i t h t h o s e b e l i e f s h a s t r a d i t i o n a l l y. b e e n o n e o t h e h i g h e s t v a l u e s of o u r s o c i e t y See Marsh v. Alabama 3 2 6 U S 501 1 9 4 6 a n d Murdock v P e n n s y l v a n i a. 319 U S 1 0 5 1 9 4 3 T h e r e f o r e a s t h e U n i t e d S t 3 t e s. Supreme C o u r t s t a t e d i n B r a u n f e l d v Brown 3 6 6 U S 5 9 9. 606 1 9 6 1 when e n t e r i n g t h e a r e a of r e l i q i c u s f r e e d o m w e. m u s t be f i l l l y c o g n i z a n t of t h e 2 a r t l c u l 3 r p r o t c l c t i o r t h a t. t h e C o n s c i t i t i o n h a s accorded i t i. The l e g i s l a t i v e h i s t o r y o f s e c t i o n 5 5 5 0 a shows t h a t t h e. p r o v i s i o n was i n t e n d e d t o c o v e r a l l e nplayees I 3. B 20 9 3 2 7, i n t r o d u c i n t h i s t i o n o n t h e House f l o o r a s a n amendment. t o t h e r l e x i t i m e E R e p r e s e n t a t i v e S o l a r z t h e s p o n s o r of. s e c t i o n 5550a s t a t e d t h a t t h e s e c t i o n i s d e s i g n e d t o. g u a r a n t e e t a t a l l S e d e r a l employees a r e t r e a t e d e q u a l l y. r e g a r d l e s s o f t h e i r r e l i g i o n and t o make s u r e t h a t n o. F e d e r a l employee is d i s c r i m i n a t o r i l y o r u n n e c e s s a r i l y. p e n a l i z e d c s c a u s e of t h e i r d e v o t i o n t o t h e i r f a i t h 124. Cong Rec 15435 1 9 7 8 R e p r e s e n t a t i v e S o l a r z a l s o s t a t e d. t h a t e m p l o y e e s who e l e c t e d to work o v e r t i m e t o make up f o r. t i m e l o s t f o r r e l i g i o u s o b s e r v a n c e s would waive t h e i r. r i g h t t o premium o v e r t i m e pay r a t e s f o r s u c h work and are. o n l y t o be g r a n t e d e q u a l c o m p e n s a t o r y t i m e o f f from t h e i r. s c h e d u l e s s i c tours o f duty I d a t 15435 15436 1. F i n a l l y R e p r e s e n t a t i v e Solarz s t z e d t h a t. The s o l e p u r p o s e of t h i s l e g i s l a t i o n is. t o r e q u i r e t h e F e d e r a l Government a s a n. e m p l o y e r t o make r e a s o n a b l e accommodation t o. t h e r e l i g i o u s n e e d s o f i t s employees who. because of t h e i r r e l i g i o u s f a i t h a r e u n a b l e. t o work d u r i n g c e r t a i n p e r i o d s o f t h e normal. workday o r workweek Id a t 1 5 4 3 6, The e m p h a s i s o f T i t l e XV t h u s is c l e a r l y t o p r o v i d e f o r. f l e x i b i l i t y n F e d e r a l p e r s o n n e l p r a c t i c e s i n o r d e r t o. permit a l l F e d e r a l e m p l o y e e s t o e x e r c i s e t h e t e n e t s o f t h e i r. f a i t h s withocit b e i n g f o r c e d to lose a p o r t i o n of t h e i r pay. or annual leave, T h i s l e g i s l a t i v e h i s t o r y o f s e c t i o n 5550a d o e s n o t.
s p e c i f i c a l l y a d d r e s s t h e u s e of r e l i g i o u s compensatory t i m e. by e m p l o y e e s who a r e a t t h e s t a t u t o r y pay cap and a r e t h u s. not e n t i t l e d t o r e c e i v e c o m p e n s a t o r y t i m e o f f i n l i e u o f. o v e r t i m e pay u n d e r 5 U S C S 5 5 4 3 However w e b e l i e v e. t h a t s e c t i o n 5550a was e n a c t e d t o p r o v i d e a mechanism where. by a l l i n d i v i d u a l s e s p e c i a l l y t h o s e o f m i n o r i t y f a i t h s. would b e a b l e t o e x e r c i s e t h e i r b e l i e f s w i t h o u t l o s i n g pay. o r a n n u a l l e a v e u n d e r t h e Federal p e r s o n n e l s y s t e m T h e. g o a l o f t h e s t a t u t e was t o e n c o u r a g e t h e f r e e e x e r c i s e o f. r e l i g i o u s b e l i e f s by Government e m p l o y e e s and t h e a c c r u a l. and u s e of c o m p e n s a t o r y t i m e o f f was s i m p l y a means t o. achieve t h a t goal I n l i g h t o f t h i s purpose ve do n o t. b e l i e v e t h a t C o n g r e s s i n t e n d e d to e tclude a n y g r o u p of. e m p l o y e e s i n c l u d i n g t h o s e a t tils s t a t u t o r y pay c a p from. e x e r c i s i n g t h e i r e n t i t l e m e n t t o r e l i g i o u s compensatory t i m e. u n d e r 5 J S C S 5550a, To the contrary the specific goal of 5 U S C S 5 5 4 3 is. simply to provide a nechanism whereby Federal employees may. request compensatory time off in lieu of monetary compensa. tion for actual overtime work performed Under subchapter V. of Chapter 55 Title 5 of the United States Code an employ. ee may receive such compensatory time off for overtime work. he has performed for which he would otherwise be entitled. to receive Dremium pay This is in marked contrast to. compensatory time off for religious purposes which does not. contemplate or in any way involve the payment of premium pay. for any work performed in excess of an 8 hour workday or a. 40 hour workweek Thus an employee who earns a given. amount of compensatory time for religious observances may. not elect to be paid for that time Rather section 5550a. merely allows an employee to work in excess of the basic. 40 hour workweek and thereby earn and have credited to a. special leave account a given number of hours which he may. use in place of time lost due to fulfillment of his reli. gious obligations Thus the earning and use of compensa. tory time off for religious purposes in essence involves a. mere substitution of time and unlike traditional compensa. tory time off granted under 5 U S C 5 5543 cannot replace. or result in an employee s entitlement to premium,compensation. The GSA has correctly stated that under our decisions in. 37 Comp Gen 362 1957 and Donald Bodine B 200058, January 28 1981 compensatory time off which may be granted. to employees in lieu of monetary compensation for irregular. or occasional overtime work is subject to the aggregate. salary limitation imposed on employees by statute Under. these decisions an employee whose pay is set at the statu. tory ceiling for his position is not entitled to receive. either additional Compensation premium pay f o r his over. t h e work or compensatory time off in lieu of such compensa. tion See also Earl S Barbely B 192839 May 3 1979,In light of the distinctions we have drawn above. between traditional ccnpsnsatory time of i n l e u of premium. pay and con en 3zir time o f f f o r r e l i 4 1 1s G Z vancez IS. do not beli2ve tnat the latter should h 2 treat 3 s nornal. prc nid n ay ini h is s z o j s c t to the a J 2 g a c I J 1 1 7 i. tatian unci2r t h e 9 r c i i s i o n s of subchapc2r V or r. Tit 5 Z n i t e c l S t a t 2 5 Code aatner de o e l i e t l A l tin. enacting s e c t i d n 5 5 5 u a Congress intended to proJide a iz eans. j n r 4 Z ci il d w 9 r 7 h i n x 3 r e free wit nb t. L l i t I d t e I c a v e L IUS d l, the accrual and u 1 of compensatory time for religious.
purposes 5 U S C S 5550a grants employees flexibility in. exercising their beliefs rather than any form of premium. Accordingly since religious compensatory time is not. premium pay which is subject to limitation by statute. Federal agencies may allow all of their employees including. those whose pay has reached the statutory limit to work. overtime hours under 5 U S C 5 5550a to compensate for. time lost when they must abstain from working in fulfillment. of their religious obligations,Comptrolle General,of the United States.

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