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OPM Contact: Murray M. Meeker
By memorandum dated June 2, 1997, the claimant, an [employee]
with the [agency], requested compensation ("standby duty pay") for
periods when she was in an "on call status" on weekends and
holidays beginning in 1972.(1) For the reasons
discussed herein, the claim is denied.
The agency reported that between 1986 and January 1998, weekend
and holiday supervision in PLMS was assigned to first line
supervisors, including the claimant. On a rotating basis, first
line PLMS supervisors were assigned to work a regular 8 hour tour
of duty each Saturday, Sunday, and holiday, and the same supervisor
was then expected to assume responsibility for the remaining
off-duty hours within his or her assigned weekend or holiday in
order to handle any problems that could not be resolved by the
staff on duty. While these problems were generally resolved by
telephone, there were occasions when it was necessary for a
supervisor to report to the Medical Center.(2)
While this weekend and holiday duty was included in the
supervisors' position descriptions, Hospital Management never
approved an official "on call policy" during this period. As
explained by the agency, first line supervisors were expected to
handle calls on assigned weekends and holidays, but they were not
in an official "on call" status; the supervisors were not required
to carry beepers, and they were not required to stay by their
As a General Schedule employee, the claimant's entitlement to
premium pay for standby duty is governed by the provisions of
5 U.S.C. 5545(c)(1) which authorizes the head of an agency to
pay premium pay to an employee in a position "requiring him
regularly to remain at, or within the confines of, his duty station
during longer than ordinary periods of duty, a substantial part of
which consists of remaining in a standby status rather than
performing work." Rose J. Reiter and Rayford Guinn,
B-215888, January 24, 1985. The Office of Personnel Management's
(OPM's) implementing regulations, 5 C.F.R. 550.141-550.144, explain
that the words "at, or within the confines, of his station" may
mean the employee's living quarters only:
... when designated by the agency as his duty station and when
his whereabouts is narrowly limited and his activities are
substantially restricted. * * *
5 C.F.R. 550.143(b)(3).
Neither the claimant nor the agency indicates that the
claimant's living quarters had been designated by the agency as the
claimant's duty station or that the claimant's activities were
substantially restricted. See John T. Teske,
B-190369, February 23, 1978, and Glen W. Sellers,
B-182207, January 16, 1975. It is not enough that the claimant was
expected to be available to receive calls on specified weekends and
holidays. See Charles F. Callis, B-205118, March
8, 1982. Indeed, an employee's activities are not considered to be
"substantially restricted" even in instances where the employee is
required to carry a beeper and where the employee is required to
remain within a reasonable call back radius. Allen v.
United States, 1 Cl.Ct. 649, 651-652, affirmed,
723 F.2d 69 (Fed. Cir. 1983), and Richard F. Briggs,
B-215686, December 26, 1984. Accordingly, the claimant's request
for standby duty pay is denied.
This settlement is final. No further administrative review is
available within OPM. Nothing in this settlement limits the
employee's right to bring an action in an appropriate United States
1 The claimant subsequently
amended her claim to begin in March 1978 instead of 1972. However,
all claims for periods prior to June 1991 are barred. OPM has no
authority to disregard the provisions of the Barring Act, 31 U.S.C.
3702(b)(1), or to waive the six-year time limitation that it
imposes. See Alfred L. Lillie, B-209955, May 31,
2 When a supervisor was
required to report to the Medical Center and perform work, the
supervisor was paid overtime.