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Dear Ms. [xxx]:
This replies to your letter of February 8, 1997, appealing the January 8, 1997 decision denying your claim for standby duty pay. The basis for that denial was that the requirement to carry a pager after normal working hours did not meet the criteria of title 5 CFR Part 550 for standby duty pay.
It is your contention that your claim meets the criteria of title 5 CFR 551.431 (a)(1) in that an employee will be considered on duty and time spent on standby duty shall be considered hours of work if the employee is restricted to an agencys premises, or so close thereto that the employee cannot use the time effectively for his or her own purposes. You state that your agencys restrictions on your off-duty time has substantially limited the use of your time for private purposes. Specifically, the agencys five minute requirement to respond to an electronic pager and to hold yourself in readiness to respond immediately to accidents and incidents severely restricts your off-duty activities.
Upon review of the record, we find no error of law or fact in our determination. Title 5 CFR Part 550, covers regularly scheduled standby duty and the criteria that must be met to be entitled to standby by duty pay. (1) An employee regularly remains at, or within the confines of, his station. (2) The employee must be officially ordered to remain at his station. (3) The hours during which the requirement is operative must be included in the employees tour of duty. (4) The requirement must be associated with the regularly assigned duties of the employees job, either as a continuation of his regular work which includes standby time, or as a requirement to stand by at his post to perform his regularly assigned duties if the necessity arises. Although you may have to respond to your pager within five minutes this does not mean you have to report to the office. As an Emergency Response Officer, you are required to hold yourself in readiness to perform actual work when needed or when called. Responding by telephone does not limit your off-duty activities to the immediate area of your office, you are free to attend off-duty activities as usual. Not to be able to go boating or fishing is not the same as being confined to ones duty station, and is therefore, not compensable. Accordingly, we must sustain the denial of your claim.