Thursday, February 10, 2005

Some federal employees will now receive "Compensatory Time Off for Travel"

Yup. After years of waiting, some of us will get comp time when we travel outside our normal work hours. That is, if you can figure out the new rules. My favorite on the OPM website is the examples:
On a workday, an employee is required to travel to a temporary duty station for an afternoon meeting. The employee's regular working hours are 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. In total, the employee spends 13 hours (6:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.) traveling to and from the worksite. However, the time between 8:00 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. is compensable as part of the employee's regular working hours. Also, an employee's time spent traveling outside of regular working hours to or from a transportation terminal (e.g., an airport or train station) within the limits of his or her official duty station is considered to be equivalent to commuting time and is not creditable travel time. (See 5 CFR 550.1404(d).) In this case, the employee spends 2 hours traveling to and from an airport within the limits of his official duty station. Finally, bona fide meal periods during actual travel or waiting time are not considered to be creditable travel time. (See 5 CFR 550.1404(b)(2).) Therefore, the 30 minutes the employee spends having dinner while waiting at the airport on the return trip home is not creditable travel time.
It reads like a nightmare word problem from Algebra II.

Quick. What's the answer?

Did you get 6 hours of comp time earned?

Okay, try this one:
On a Friday (workday), an employee is required to travel from a temporary duty station to home. However, due to severe weather, the employee's connecting flight is cancelled until Saturday morning (nonworkday). On Friday, the employee's regular working hours are 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. In total, the employee spends 16 hours (5:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and 6:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.) traveling from the worksite. However, the time between 8:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. is compensable as part of the employee's regular working hours. The extended waiting period from 3:00 p.m. until the employee returned to the airport on Saturday morning is not creditable travel time, since the employee was free to use the time for his or her own purposes. (See 5 CFR 550.1404(b)(3).) An employee's time spent traveling outside of regular working hours to or from a transportation terminal (e.g., an airport or train station) within the limits of his or her official duty station is considered to be equivalent to commuting time and is not creditable travel time. (See 5 CFR 550.1404(d).) In this case, the employee spent 1 hour traveling from an airport within the limits of his official duty station.
In case you were wondering, the answer is 8 hours of comp time earned.

The Coast Guard, in an attempt to make this all easily understood, published the following:
R 081245Z FEB 05 ZUI ASN-A00039000004
FM COMDT COGARD WASHINGTON DC//G-WPC//
TO ALCGCIV
BT
UNCLAS //N12630//
ALCGCIV 001/05
COMDTNOTE 12531
SUBJ: COMPENSATORY TIME OFF FOR TRAVEL
A. OPM CPM DTD 1/27/05
B. DHS MEMO DTD 1/27/05
1. SECTION 203 OF THE FEDERAL WORKFORCE FLEXIBILITY ACT (P.L. 108-401, DATED 30 OCT 2004) ADDED A NEW SECTION TO THE LAW (5 U.S.C. 5550B). THE CHANGE CREATED A NEW CATEGORY OF COMPENSATORY TIME OFF FOR EMPLOYEES TRAVELING AWAY FROM THEIR OFFICIAL DUTY STATION. THE TIME CREDITED CANNOT INCLUDE WORK PERIODS OTHERWISE COMPENSABLE SUCH AS NORMAL WORK HOURS. EFFECTIVE 28 JANUARY 2005, THE OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT (OPM) ISSUED INTERIM REGULATIONS BASED ON THE NEW PROVISIONS.
2. BASED ON DHS REVIEW OF THE INTERIM OPM REGULATIONS, EMPLOYEES INELIGIBLE TO EARN COMPENSATORY TIME OFF FOR TRAVEL INCLUDE FEDERAL WAGE SYSTEM (FWS) EMPLOYEES AND SENIOR EXECUTIVE SERVICE MEMBERS. FOR CRIMINAL INVESTIGATORS RECEIVING LAW ENFORCEMENT AVAILABILITY PAY (LEAP), OTHER CONSIDERATIONS FOR CREDITING POTENTIALLY COVERED TIME APPLY. PLEASE CONTACT YOUR SERVICING HUMAN RESOURCE SPECIALIST FOR ADDITIONAL GUIDANCE.
3. ACCORDING TO SUPPLEMENTAL GUIDANCE ISSUED BY OPM, THE NEW CATEGORY OF COMPENSATORY TIME OFF WILL BE SUBJECT TO OTHER LIMITS. SOME OF THE OPM LIMITS DISCUSSED INCLUDE: DEDUCTING MEAL PERIODS AND NORMAL COMMUTE TIME BETWEEN HOME TO WORK; PROHIBITING A DOLLAR PAYOUT FOR COMPENSATORY TIME EARNED FOR TRAVEL; AND FORFEITING UNUSED COMPENSATORY TIME FOR TRAVEL IF NOT USED WITHIN A YEAR. A COPY OF THE OPM GUIDANCE (CPM-2005-03) MAY BE FOUND AT THE FOLLOWING INTERNET SITE. CERTAIN AREAS ADDRESSED BY THE OPM GUIDANCE ARE STILL SUBJECT TO A DETERMINATION BY DHS AND/OR THE COAST GUARD.
4. THE DHS INITIAL GUIDANCE REQUIRES U.S. COAST GUARD SUPERVISORS AND EMPLOYEES TO DOCUMENT INSTANCES OF POTENTIAL ELIGIBILITY FOR COMPENSATORY TIME OFF FOR TRAVEL OCCURRING AFTER 27 JANUARY 2005. THIS INFORMATION MUST BE RETAINED UNTIL A SYSTEM IS IN PLACE FOR CREDITING TIME OFF TO THE INDIVIDUALS PAYROLL ACCOUNT AND/OR ELIGIBILITY CAN BE ESTABLISHED. THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION MUST BE RECORDED:
(1) EMPLOYEE NAME
(2) DATE TRAVEL ORDERS WERE APPROVED
(3) DATE(S) OF TRAVEL
(4) TRAVEL ITINERARY AS REQUIRED BY DD FORM 1351-2, TRAVEL VOUCHER FORM. THE TIME OF EACH EVENT THAT OCCURS DURING TIME IN A TRAVEL STATUS MUST BE INCLUDED, AS DEFINED IN 5 CFR 550.140(B).
(5) INDICATION OF EMPLOYEES RECEIPT OF LAW ENFORCEMENT AVAILABILITY PAY (LEAP) AS APPLICABLE.
(6) EMPLOYEES PAY PLAN (E.G., GS, SL/ST ETC.)
5. DHS PLANS TO ISSUE INTERIM GUIDANCE IN THE NEAR FUTURE, ALLOWING DHS EMPLOYEES TO USE THE NEW TYPE OF COMPENSATORY TIME OFF FOR TRAVEL. DHS ALSO INTENDS TO ISSUE FINAL POLICY DIRECTION REGARDING THIS TOPIC IN AN UPCOMING MANAGEMENT DIRECTIVE.
6. IF YOU HAVE ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS, PLEASE CONTACT YOUR SERVICING COMMAND STAFF ADVISOR OR HUMAN RESOURCE SPECIALIST.
7. INTERNET RELEASE AUTHORIZED.
8. RELEASED BY RONALD R. KOGUT, CHIEF, OFFICE OF CIVILIAN PERSONNEL.
BT
NNNN
Oh, right, that makes it all crystal clear. For sure.

Now, what time was it I got to the airport this past Sunday?

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