Ask the Lawyer received the following question (paraphrased for easier reading and clarity) from a reader on a legal matter that might be of interest to the entire audience.
Is an employee entitled to compensatory time off for travel when she uses annual leave on TDY? Some employees in my office are traveling for business, and then, after completing their business, using several days of annual leave before returning to their duty stations. Are they entitled to compensatory time off for travel during their travel home?
I believe your employees are entitled to compensatory time off. I am aware of no provision which precludes them from earning compensatory time off for travel simply because they used annual leave while away, when they would otherwise have been able to earn compensatory time off for the return travel. See 5 C.F.R. § 550, subpart N. However, “[i]n the case of an employee who is offered one mode of transportation and who is permitted to use an alternative mode of transportation, or who travels at a time or by a route other than that selected by the agency, the agency must determine the estimated amount of time in a travel status the employee would have had if the employee had used the mode of transportation offered by the agency or traveled at the time or by the route selected by the agency. In determining time in a travel status under this subpart, the agency must credit the employee with the lesser of the estimated time in a travel status or the actual time in a travel status” See 5 C.F.R. § 550.1404(c)(2). Thus, you should credit the employee with either the amount of compensatory time off he or she would have received had they utilized the agency’s travel plans, or the compensatory time off they would have received under the travel route plan they actually used – whichever is less.
Bill Bransford is managing partner of Shaw Bransford & Roth PC.
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