oversight

Religious Compensatory Time: Office of Personnel Management Action Needed to Clarify Policies for Agencies

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 2012-10-12.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

               United States Government Accountability Office

GAO            Report to the Chairman, Committee on
               Homeland Security and Governmental
               Affairs, U.S. Senate


October 2012
               RELIGIOUS
               COMPENSATORY
               TIME
               Office of Personnel
               Management Action
               Needed to Clarify
               Policies for Agencies




GAO-13-96
                                               October 2012

                                               RELIGIOUS COMPENSATORY TIME
                                               Office of Personnel Management Action Needed to
                                               Clarify Policies for Agencies
Highlights of GAO-13-96, a report to the
Chairman, Committee on Homeland Security
and Governmental Affairs, U.S. Senate




Why GAO Did This Study                         What GAO Found
Since 1978, federal agencies have              All seven of the agencies in GAO’s review—U.S. Customs and Border Protection
been required to allow employees to            (CBP), Federal Aviation Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Federal
adjust their work schedules to engage          Bureau of Prisons, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Internal
in religious observances, to the extent        Revenue Service (IRS), and Transportation Security Administration—have
that such modifications do not interfere       written policies supporting an employee’s ability to earn and use compensatory
with the efficient accomplishment of an        time off for religious observances. GAO identified several similarities in agency
agency’s mission. As requested, this           policies and supporting documents in the categories of: (1) employee eligibility,
report identifies the similarities and         (2) applicability across geographic locations, (3) schedule planning, and (4)
differences in policies of selected
                                               implementation. These similarities generally support greater flexibility for
agencies concerning compensatory
                                               employees to seek compensatory time off for religious observances. For
time off for religious observances for
law enforcement officers (LEO) and air
                                               example, all agencies have policies that apply to all occupational groups of the
transportation safety and security             agencies’ geographical locations and facilities, regardless of a facility’s size or
(ATSS) personnel and describes their           the number of employees who work there. In most cases, officials said the
rationale for adopting the policies.           agencies followed existing federal rules when developing policies and that they
GAO selected seven agencies for this           wanted to provide their employees with additional scheduling flexibility. However,
review based on their substantial              IRS introduced additional controls to monitor excessive accumulation of unused
concentrations of LEO and ATSS                 compensatory time off for religious observances based on findings by IRS’s
personnel. GAO evaluated the                   Inspector General.
agencies’ policies and interviewed
agency officials.                              GAO identified differences in the way agencies administer their policies on
                                               compensatory time off for religious observances in five different categories: (1)
What GAO Recommends                            caps on the number of pay periods to earn and use compensatory time off for
GAO recommends that OPM (1)                    religious observances, (2) repaying compensatory time off for religious
establish time frames for finalizing           observances that was taken in advance, (3) the forms or other documentation
proposed revised regulations for               required to make the request and providing a reason for request, (4) other types
compensatory time off for religious            of schedule adjustments referenced in the policy, and (5) disposition of unused
observances and (2) work with CBP to           compensatory time off for religious observances. For example, IRS has a 120-
ensure its policies and practices on the       day cap and ICE has a six pay period cap for earning and using compensatory
disposition of unused compensatory             time off for religious observances.
time off for religious observances is in
compliance with statute and OPM’s              Some of the differences are within the discretion of the agency and may reflect
implementing regulations. OPM agreed           individual needs of the agency, but in one area the differences in policy may
with the overall findings and                  reflect a lack of clarity in Office of Personnel Management (OPM) regulations.
recommendations. The Department of             For example, CBP policy states that unused compensatory time off for religious
Homeland Security (DHS) agreed with
                                               observances will be converted to regular compensatory time, which according to
the recommendation and will work with
                                               an OPM official, is not authorized under statute or OPM’s implementing
OPM. OPM, DHS, and the
Departments of Justice,                        regulations. In OPM’s view, compensatory time off for religious observances and
Transportation, and Treasury provided          regular compensatory time are different forms of compensatory time off that are
technical comments that GAO                    separately authorized; serve different purposes; and are subject to differing
incorporated where appropriate.                conditions for earning, using, and retaining, as well as liquidating. OPM officials
                                               stated they are updating regulations that they believe will address the disposition
                                               of unused compensatory time off for religious observances, but have not set a
                                               timetable for completing the proposed revised regulations. Without such
                                               clarification on the disposition of unused compensatory time off for religious
                                               observances in OPM’s regulations, agencies may have policies that are not
View GAO-13-96. For more information,
contact Yvonne D. Jones at (202) 512-2717 or
                                               consistent with OPM’s views on the proper disposition of unused compensatory
jonesy@gao.gov.                                time off for religious observances.

                                                                                        United States Government Accountability Office
Contents


Letter                                                                                    1
               Background                                                                 3
               Some Agency Policies on Compensatory Time off for Religious
                 Observances May Not Be Subject to or Consistent with OPM
                 Regulations or Guidance; Rationales for Policies Vary                   8
               Conclusion                                                               18
               Recommendations for Executive Action                                     18
               Agency Comments                                                          19

Appendix I     Objectives, Scope, and Methodology                                       21



Appendix II    Comments from the Office of Personnel Management                         23



Appendix III   Comments from the Department of Homeland Security                        26



Appendix IV    GAO Contact and Staff Acknowledgment                                     27



Tables
               Table 1: Law Enforcement Officers and Air Transportation Safety
                        and Security Personnel in Selected Agencies                      7
               Table 2: Agency Policies Display Differences in Several Categories       12




               Page i                                     GAO-13-96 Religious Accommodations
Abbreviations

ATSS              air transportation safety and security
BOP               Federal Bureau of Prisons
CBA               collective bargaining agreement
CBP               U.S. Customs and Border Protection
DHS               Department of Homeland Security
DOJ               Department of Justice
EEO               equal employment opportunity
EEOC              U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
FAA               Federal Aviation Administration
FBI               Federal Bureau of Investigation
FLRA              Federal Labor Relations Authority
FLSA              Fair Labor Standards Act
ICE               U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
IRS               Internal Revenue Service
LEO               law enforcement officer
LWOP              leave-without-pay
NTEU              National Treasury Employees Union
OPM               U.S. Office of Personnel Management
TIGTA             Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration
Treasury          Department of Treasury
TSA               Transportation Security Administration




This is a work of the U.S. government and is not subject to copyright protection in the
United States. The published product may be reproduced and distributed in its entirety
without further permission from GAO. However, because this work may contain
copyrighted images or other material, permission from the copyright holder may be
necessary if you wish to reproduce this material separately.




Page ii                                             GAO-13-96 Religious Accommodations
United States Government Accountability Office
Washington, DC 20548




                                   October 12, 2012

                                   The Honorable Joseph I. Lieberman
                                   Chairman
                                   Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
                                   United States Senate

                                   Dear Mr. Chairman:

                                   Since 1978, federal statute has required agencies to allow employees the
                                   option to engage in overtime work and receive equal compensatory time
                                   off to make up for lost time due to religious observances. The statute
                                   provides that agencies may make exceptions when necessary to
                                   efficiently carry out the mission of the agency. Further, federal
                                   antidiscrimination laws promote a federal workplace that is fair, equitable,
                                   and free from discrimination and retaliation, including as it relates to
                                   religious beliefs, practices, and observance.

                                   In response to your interest in federal agencies’ religious accommodation
                                   leave policies for federal law enforcement officers (LEO) and air
                                   transportation safety and security (ATSS) personnel, you asked us to
                                   identify the similarities and differences in policies of selected agencies
                                   concerning compensatory time off for religious observances for these
                                   groups of personnel and determine the agencies’ rationale for adopting
                                   their policies. 1

                                   We selected seven federal agencies with significant numbers of LEO and
                                   ATSS personnel based on their U.S. Office of Personnel Management
                                   (OPM) occupational group and description, including personnel in the
                                   investigation and transportation groups and the correctional officer series.
                                   Six selected agencies each had over 10,000 employees in these


                                   1
                                     For purposes of this report, we are defining “law enforcement officer” as an individual
                                   authorized to perform any of four specific functions: (1) conduct criminal investigations, (2)
                                   execute search warrants, (3) make arrests, or (4) carry firearms. In addition, some of
                                   these law enforcement officers are responsible for care and custody of convicted
                                   offenders. We defined ATSS personnel to include Transportation Security Administration’s
                                   federal air marshals and passenger and baggage screeners/handlers, or transportation
                                   security officers, and Federal Aviation Administration’s air traffic controllers, based on the
                                   U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s occupational groups and descriptions as well as
                                   agency job descriptions and other information from agency websites.




                                   Page 1                                                GAO-13-96 Religious Accommodations
occupational groups based on recent data from OPM’s Central Personnel
Data File. These included three components in the Department of
Homeland Security (DHS)—U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP),
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and Transportation
Security Administration (TSA); two components in the Department of
Justice (DOJ)—Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Federal Bureau
of Prisons (BOP); and one agency in the Department of Transportation—
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). 2 We selected the seventh agency,
the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in the Department of Treasury
(Treasury), because of their unique role as criminal investigations of tax
matters.

In evaluating agency policies, we reviewed agency documentation, such
as guidance, and collective bargaining agreements to identify similarities
and differences in the policies. We reviewed applicable federal statutes
and regulations, as well as proposed regulations, and executive branch
policies and guidance. Since OPM is responsible for administering the
statute on compensatory time off for religious observances and the U.S.
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is responsible for
enforcing the federal antidiscrimination statute requiring religious
accommodations, we interviewed officials from each on their duties and
responsibilities concerning compensatory time off for religious
observances for federal employees and reviewed applicable EEOC
cases. We developed a structured interview instrument to discuss agency
policies on schedule adjustment for religious accommodation, and the
rationale for such policies, with human resource or human capital officials,
field supervisors, and civil rights or diversity officials, from the selected
agencies and their “parent” departments. We also interviewed LEO
association representatives as well as union representatives about
whether, from their viewpoint and the viewpoint of those they
represented, there were any problems or concerns with schedule
accommodation or compensatory time for religious observance at the
selected agencies.

We conducted this performance audit from December 2011 through
October 2012 in accordance with generally accepted government auditing
standards. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to



2
 For purposes of this report, we are referring to both agencies and components as
“agencies”.




Page 2                                             GAO-13-96 Religious Accommodations
             obtain sufficient, appropriate evidence to provide a reasonable basis for
             our findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives. We believe
             that the evidence obtained provides a reasonable basis for our findings
             and conclusions based on our audit objectives.


             Federal law has prohibited religious discrimination in employment since
Background   the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. 3 Title VII of the act, as
             amended, provides that discrimination against any employee or applicant
             for employment based upon his or her religion is prohibited, and that
             employers must accommodate religious beliefs, practices, and
             observances, unless doing so would pose an undue hardship on the
             employer. 4 In addition, Congress enacted Title IV of the Federal
             Employees Flexible and Compressed Work Schedules Act of 1978, which
             provided the authority for federal employees to work overtime and receive
             equal compensatory time off in order to meet requirements for religious
             observance, which is the focus of this report. 5 This statute, which was
             codified in 5 U.S.C. § 5550a (hereinafter “section 5550a”), directed OPM
             to “prescribe regulations providing for work schedules under which an
             employee whose personal religious beliefs require the abstention from
             work during certain periods of time, may elect to engage in overtime work
             for time lost for meeting those religious requirements.” Enactment of the
             statute permits federal employees covered under section 5550a to
             exercise the tenets of their faiths without being forced to lose a portion of




             3
             Pub. L. No. 88-352, 78 Stat. 241 (July 2, 1964).
             4
              See 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2 and § 2000e-16 which prohibit discrimination in nonfederal and
             federal employment, respectively, on the basis of religion. See also, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e(j),
             which defines “religion” to include the requirement to reasonably accommodate.
             5
             Pub. L. No. 95-390, § 401, 92 Stat. 755 (Sept. 29, 1978).




             Page 3                                               GAO-13-96 Religious Accommodations
their pay or annual leave. FAA and TSA are not subject to 5 U.S.C. §
5550a nor OPM’s regulations implementing section 5550a. 6

Issued in 1978, OPM regulations provide that: 7

•   employees may elect to work overtime for time lost for meeting
    religious requirements;
•   to the extent that such modifications 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 grant the requested compensatory
    time off for religious observances;
•   employees may work compensatory overtime either before or after the
    grant of compensatory time off for religious observance;
•   if compensatory time off was granted in advance, the time should be
    repaid by compensatory overtime work within a “reasonable amount
    of time”; and
•   premium pay provisions for overtime work do not apply to
    compensatory overtime work performed under this authority. 8

In addition, OPM issued guidance to federal agencies to supplement the
regulations providing that:

•   agencies should require employees to submit a written request for an
    adjusted work schedule in advance;


6
 Under 49 U.S.C. § 40122(g), FAA was authorized to develop a personnel management
system under which only specified provisions of Title 5 of the U.S. Code would apply in
order to provide for greater flexibility in, among other things, the hiring and compensation
of personnel. Therefore FAA is excluded from many provisions of Title 5 including section
5550a. The Aviation and Transportation Security Act applied the personnel management
system of the FAA to TSA employees, and further authorized TSA to make any
modifications to the system it considered necessary. See 49 U.S.C. § 114(n). TSA was
provided further flexibility under the Aviation and Transportation Security Act for the
employment of its screener personnel. See section 111(d) of Pub. L. No. 107-71, 115 Stat.
597, 620 (Nov. 19, 2001). 49 U.S.C. § 44935 note.
7
 OPM issued interim rules in 1978. See 43 Fed. Reg. 46288, October 6, 1978. In 1986,
OPM adopted these interim rules as final. See 51 Fed. Reg. 23036, June 25, 1986. OPM
regulations are found at 5 C.F.R. part 550, subpart J.
8
 Premium pay provisions for overtime 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 (FLSA), as
amended, codified at 29 U.S.C. §§ 201-219. The FLSA establishes standards for
minimum wage and overtime pay.




Page 4                                               GAO-13-96 Religious Accommodations
•    when deciding whether an employee’s request for an adjusted work
     schedule should be approved, a supervisor should not make any
     judgment about the employee’s religious beliefs or his or her affiliation
     with a religious organization;
•    a supervisor may deny an employee’s request if modifications of an
     employee’s work schedule would interfere with the efficient
     accomplishment of the agency’s mission;
•    an employee should specifically state that his or her request for an
     adjusted work schedule is for religious purposes and should provide
     acceptable documentation of the need to abstain from work;
•    if an employee’s request is approved, a supervisor may determine
     whether the alternative work hours will be scheduled before or after
     the religious observance;
•    an employee should be allowed to accumulate only the number of
     hours of work needed to make up for previous or anticipated
     absences from work for religious observances; and
•    if an employee is separated or transferred before using the time set
     aside for religious observances, any hours not used must be paid at
     the employees rate of basic pay in effect when the extra hours of work
     were performed.

In 2005, OPM proposed revisions to the regulations that would have
standardized procedures and definitions concerning compensatory time
for religious accommodation. 9 OPM proposed that agencies must require
employees to perform the compensatory overtime within three pay
periods after taking advanced compensatory time off for religious
observance, and that agencies may require employees seeking time off to
provide documentation to ensure the legitimacy of their request. 10 The




9
See 70 Fed. Reg. 1068, January 5, 2005.
10
  According to OPM officials, the proposed revisions were part of a larger package and no
specific event prompted revisions to regulations on compensatory time for religious
accommodation.




Page 5                                             GAO-13-96 Religious Accommodations
proposed regulations were published and OPM received comments but
took no further action. 11

EEOC is responsible for, among other things, providing guidance to
employers concerning religious discrimination and for adjudicating
discrimination complaints and hearing appeals brought by complainants
from federal agencies. EEOC has issued regulations requiring that
agencies “[m]ake reasonable accommodations to the religious needs of
applicants and employees when those accommodations can be made
without undue hardship on the business of the agency.” 12 EEOC also has
issued guidance suggesting that employers adopt flexible leave and
scheduling policies and facilitate voluntary substitutions and shift swaps
to enable employees to practice their religion.

Table 1 provides information on occupation types and staffing levels
within each of these agencies, including the department in which each is
located and the number of LEO and ATSS personnel in each agency.




11
  According to OPM officials, OPM decided not to complete and issue the regulations after
commenters expressed concern about the proposal to require documentation for requests
for compensatory time off for religious observances (that the requirement was not clear or
that it might require agencies to make judgments about the legitimacy of religious
observance) and about the proposal to allow three pay periods to earn compensatory time
after taking time off for religious observance (some commenters thought this was too
restrictive).
12
 29 C.F.R. § 1614.102(a)(7).




Page 6                                              GAO-13-96 Religious Accommodations
Table 1: Law Enforcement Officers and Air Transportation Safety and Security Personnel in Selected Agencies

                                                                                                                                                Percentage of total
                                                                                                                                                 population of law
                                                                                                           Number of air                      enforcement officers
                                                                                                          transportation                     and air transportation
                                                                                           Number of law      safety and                        safety and security
                                                                                            enforcement         security                                  personnel
Department          Agency                       OPM group                                       officers     personnel                                 represented
Department of       U.S. Customs and Border Protection
Homeland Security                                Customs and Border                                    21,362                                                 7.8%
                                                 Protection Officer GS-1895
                                                 Border Patrol Agent Series                            21,302                                                  7.8
                                                 GS-1896
                    U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
                                                 General Inspection,                                     6,148                                                 2.2
                                                 Investigation, and
                                                 Compliance Series GS-1801
                                                 Criminal Investigating Series                           6,976                                                 2.5
                                                 GS-1811
                    Transportation Security Administration
                    Transportation               Compliance Inspection and                                                      51,804                        18.9
                    security officers            Support Series SV-1802
                                                          a
                    Federal Air Marshal          SV-180
Department of       Bureau of Prisons
Justice
                    Correctional officers        Correctional Officer Series                           17,826                                                  6.5
                                                 GS-0007
                    Other correctional law                                                             18,260                                                  6.7
                    enforcement officers
                    Federal Bureau of            Criminal Investigating Series                         13,816                                                  5.0
                    Investigation                GS-1811
Department of       Federal Aviation             Air Traffic Control Series                                                     20,387                         7.4
Transportation      Administration               GS-2152
Department of       Internal Revenue             Criminal Investigating Series                           2,665                                                 1.0
Treasury            Service                      GS-1811
                                                                                                                                                                  b
Total law enforcement officer and air transportation safety and                                       108,355                   72,191                      66.0%
security personnel represented
                                             Source: GAO analysis of most recently available data in OPM’s Central Personnel Data File as of March 2012.

                                             Note: For purposes of this report, we are defining “law enforcement officer” as an individual
                                             authorized to perform any of four specific functions: (1) conduct criminal investigations, (2) execute
                                             search warrants, (3) make arrests, or (4) carry firearms. In addition, some of these law enforcement
                                             officers are responsible for care and custody of convicted offenders. We defined ATSS personnel to
                                             include TSA federal air marshals and passenger and baggage screeners/handlers, or transportation
                                             security officers, and FAA’s air traffic controllers based on the OPM’s occupational groups and
                                             descriptions as well as agency job descriptions and other information from agency websites.
                                             a
                                              The total number of federal air marshals is sensitive security information.




                                             Page 7                                                                      GAO-13-96 Religious Accommodations
                            b
                             Total number of LEOs and ATSS combined as identified in OPM’s Central Personnel Data File is
                            approximately 273,667. Total does not include TSA’s federal air marshals.




Some Agency Policies
on Compensatory
Time off for Religious
Observances May Not
Be Subject to or
Consistent with OPM
Regulations or
Guidance; Rationales
for Policies Vary

Agency Policies Share       All seven of the agencies in our review, including the two agencies not
Similarities That Support   subject to section 5550a, have written policies supporting an employee’s
Compensatory Time off for   ability to earn and use compensatory time off for religious observances. 13
                            The agency policies include varied amounts of detail, but in most cases
Religious Observances
                            they outline who may earn and use compensatory time off for religious
                            observances and how and when such compensatory time may be sought.
                            Two of the agencies—BOP and FBI—are covered by DOJ’s policy. The
                            remaining five agencies—CBP, ICE, TSA, FAA, and IRS—have their own
                            agency policies and are not covered by department-wide policies.

                            The agency policies are similar in several ways including: (1) employee
                            eligibility, (2) applicability across geographic locations, (3) schedule
                            planning, and (4) implementation. First, all of the agencies have policies
                            that cover all occupational groups and none include language in their
                            policies that make a distinction between the eligibility of LEOs and non-
                            LEOs or ATSS and non-ATSS personnel. However, while FAA’s policy
                            applies to all employees, the policy is superseded by a collective



                            13
                              As noted, FAA and TSA are not subject to 5 U.S.C. § 5550a and are therefore not
                            required to make compensatory time off for religious observances available to their
                            employees; however, both agencies have policies that do make compensatory time off for
                            religious observances available.




                            Page 8                                                  GAO-13-96 Religious Accommodations
bargaining agreement that allows the air traffic controller bargaining unit
employees to use only annual leave for religious observances, according
to FAA officials. 14 As a result, the bargaining unit employees are unable to
earn and use compensatory time off for religious observances, although
all other FAA employees may do so. 15

Second, all agency policies apply to all of the agencies’ geographical
locations and all facilities, regardless of a facility’s size or the number of
employees who work there. All of the agencies in our review have
numerous locations, facilities, and installations, such as airports and
federal prisons, of varying size and purpose with thousands of employees
spread across the country. Despite the geographic diversity, all agency
employees at every facility and installation have the same ability to seek
compensatory time off for religious observances, with the aforementioned
exception of air traffic controller bargaining unit employees at FAA.

Third, all of the agency policies provide employees with flexibility to plan
their schedules. Typically an employee earns compensatory time off for
religious observances by performing work outside of his or her normal
duty hours. All of the agency policies allow their employees the flexibility
to earn this compensatory time both before and after the religious
accommodation has been made. In addition, none of the policies include
caps or other numerical limits on the amount of compensatory time that
can be earned and used.



14
  Although the FAA has approximately 22,347 air traffic controllers, as shown in table 1,
not all are subject to the negotiated restriction on using compensatory time off for religious
observances. Approximately 15,000 air traffic controllers are subject to the restriction in
the collective bargaining agreement and other approximately 7,000 either are in a different
bargaining unit with an agreement that permits the use of compensatory time off for
religious observances or not in a bargaining unit and thus fall under FAA management
policy, which also permits the use of compensatory time off for religious observances.
15
  According to FAA officials, the bargaining union negotiated with the FAA to offer only
annual leave for religious observance. A 2008 Federal Claims Court decision held that
FAA did not have the authority to provide its employees with regular compensatory time
for overtime worked instead of paying employees at the overtime rate required by FLSA.
The court found that the statute providing FAA with flexibility in establishing a new
personnel management system (49 U.S.C. § 40122(g)) removed FAA’s authority (under 5
U.S.C. §§ 5543 and 6123) to grant regular compensatory time in lieu of overtime pay
under FLSA. See Abbey v. United States, 82 Fed. Cl. 722 (2008). In light of the Abbey v.
United States decision, the FAA and the union negotiated that employees also could not
earn compensatory time off for religious observances for overtime worked, but could use
annual leave for religious observance.




Page 9                                                GAO-13-96 Religious Accommodations
Lastly, through interviews with agency officials, we also identified
similarities in the ways agencies implement their policies, which further
support employees’ ability to seek compensatory time off for religious
observances. First, all agencies we reviewed notify their employees of
their right by law to file a complaint of discrimination. ICE provides this
information in its religious accommodation policy, which states that any
employee who believes he or she has been discriminated against based
on religious practices may file an equal employment opportunity (EEO)
complaint. Other agency officials stated that employees have the right to
file an EEO complaint of discrimination if their request for compensatory
time off for religious observances was denied. For example, officials at
CBP stated that whenever a supervisor or other decision maker denies an
employee’s religious accommodation request, the supervisor issues a
written decision to the employee specifying why the request was denied
and notifies the employee of his or her right to file an informal EEO
complaint within 45-calendar days from the date of receiving the
response. However, with the exception of ICE, information on how to file
EEO complaints is not included in agencies’ policies. 16 In addition,
employees covered by collective bargaining agreements (CBA) may also
file grievances with the agencies or through their unions and may be
informed of such a process by their union representative.

Each agency we reviewed also provides managers and supervisors with
diversity training that includes some information on religious
accommodations in general, although agencies vary in whether they
specifically cover issues on religious compensatory time off. As we have
previously reported, diversity training can help an organization’s
management and staff increase their awareness and understanding of
diversity as well as develop concrete skills to assist them in
communicating with a diverse workforce. 17 Such training can provide
employees with an awareness of their differences—including cultural,
work style, and personal presentation—and an understanding of how
diverse perspectives can improve organizational performance. In our
review, some agencies provide training on sensitivity and awareness of
religious accommodations, such as accommodations for dress and



16
  Such guidance may be found in other agency documents; however, we did not include
them in the scope of our review.
17
 GAO, Diversity Management: Expert-Identified Leading Practices and Agency
Examples, GAO-05-90 (Washington, D.C.: Jan. 14, 2005).




Page 10                                          GAO-13-96 Religious Accommodations
                            personal grooming, while others provide additional information on
                            schedule adjustments for religious observances. ICE provides its
                            managers and supervisors with information on EEOC’s definition of
                            religion, governing laws, and the duty of the agency to provide reasonable
                            accommodations. CBP’s awareness training for supervisors provides
                            examples of different methods for providing schedule adjustments for
                            religious accommodations other than compensatory time off for religious
                            observances, such as voluntarily swapping shifts with other employees.
                            For some agencies, the additional EEO training and information
                            complements language included in policy outlining management’s
                            responsibility regarding approval of religious accommodation requests.
                            For example, TSA’s policy states that management should not make any
                            judgment about the employee’s religious beliefs when deciding whether
                            an employee’s request for an adjusted work schedule should be
                            approved.

                            Finally, all of the agencies use automated time and attendance systems
                            to record data on earned and used compensatory time off for religious
                            observances, as stated in OPM’s regulations. Supervisors can use data in
                            time and attendance systems to monitor the number of hours employees
                            are accumulating or using and to determine whether employees are
                            within the cap for the number of pay periods outlined in the agency policy
                            guidance. Some systems enable the employee to submit automated
                            requests directly to their supervisor. For example, ICE states in its policy
                            that employees are to make official requests for compensatory time
                            through the agency’s time and attendance system. IRS states in its policy
                            that first-level supervisors are to use the agency time and attendance
                            system to maintain records of compensatory time off for religious
                            observances earned and used. None of the agencies in our review told us
                            that management routinely reviews the level of compensatory time off for
                            religious observances requested, accrued, or used, and the agencies
                            have no requirement to report out on such data.


Policy Differences Exist    Several differences exist in the way agencies administer their policies on
and OPM Regulations Do      compensatory time off for religious observances. These differences fall
Not Specify Proper          into different categories: (1) caps on the number of pay periods to earn
                            and use compensatory time off for religious observances, (2) repaying
Administration of Unused    compensatory time off for religious observances that was taken in
Compensatory Time off for   advance, (3) the forms or other documentation required to make the
Religious Observances       request and the reason for request, (4) other types of schedule
                            adjustments referenced in the policy, and (5) disposition of unused



                            Page 11                                     GAO-13-96 Religious Accommodations
                                              compensatory time off for religious observances. See table 2 for
                                              additional information.

Table 2: Agency Policies Display Differences in Several Categories

                                     Consequences of
                                     not earning                                                                    Disposition of
                                     compensatory time                                                              unused
                                     off for religious     Forms or                    Other types of               compensatory time
                                     observances taken documentation required schedule adjustments                  off for religious
Agencies      Pay period cap         in advance            and reason for request      referenced                   observances
CBP           Earn and use in        Annual leave taken •      Oral request            •   Annual leave             Employee time is
              five pay periods;      to eliminate negative     currently, but drafting •   Leave-without-pay        converted to regular
              three pay periods      balance                   a policy to use             (LWOP)                   compensatory time,
              to repay advanced                                request form in the                                  although CBP officials
                                                               future, according to    •   Requests to make
              use compensatory                                                                                      state that any
                                                               agency officials            other reasonable
              time                                                                                                  subsequent
                                                                                           arrangements if
                                                           •   Policy does not                                      liquidation of such
                                                                                           such arrangements
                                                               address whether                                      time is at the basic
                                                                                           do not cause undue
                                                               employees need to                                    pay rate
                                                                                           hardship on the
                                                               provide a reason for        business of CBP
                                                               the request
ICE           Earn and use in        Annual leave or       •   Request through time •      Flexible scheduling      Employee forfeits
              six pay periods; six   leave without pay         and attendance          •   Time and place to        unused time (based
              pay periods to         taken, as                 system (based on            pray                     on CBA)
              repay                  appropriate (based        CBA)
                                                                                       •   Other workplace
              compensatory time      on CBA)               •   No reason required          practices, policies,
              taken in advance                                 as a general rule           and/or practices
              based on                                         (based on CBA)
              collective
              bargaining
              agreement (CBA)
TSA           Earn and use in        Required to liquidate   •   Written request to         •   Available           Employee receives
              two pay periods;       the indebtedness—           supervisor in                  compensatory time   payment at the
              employees not          required to make a          advance of date                off in lieu of      nonovertime rate at
              allowed to “bank”      payment at the non-     •   Request should                 overtime pay        time of separation
              excess                 overtime rate               specifically states        •   Available           from TSA
              compensatory time                                  that it is for religious       compensatory time
              off for an unknown                                 purposes                       off for travel
              future use
                                                                                            •   LWOP
                                                                                            •   Accrued and
                                                                                                accumulated,
                                                                                                advance annual
                                                                                                leave
                                                                                            •   Adjusted work
                                                                                                schedules
                                                                                            •   Shift swaps for
                                                                                                transportation
                                                                                                security officers




                                              Page 12                                                 GAO-13-96 Religious Accommodations
BOP and the Earn and use in       Annual leave or           •     OPM’s Standard              •   No additional         Employee forfeits
    a
FBI         six periods           LWOP taken (as                  Form 71, Application            adjustments           unused time
                                  requested by the                for Leave, or other             detailed
                                  employee)                       form prescribed by
                                                                  the department,
                                                                  agency, or approving
                                                                  official
                                                            •     OPM’s Standard
                                                                  Form 71 does not
                                                                  provide specifically
                                                                  for compensatory
                                                                  time off for religious
                                                                  observances
                                                            •     Policy does not
                                                                  address whether
                                                                  employees need to
                                                                  provide a reason for
                                                                               b
                                                                  the request
FAA          No cap detailed in   Annual leave, use of      •     Written request for an      •   Annual leave          Employee paid at the
                   c
             policy               credit hours, or                adjusted work               •   Use of credit hours   rate of basic pay in
                                  LWOP taken                      schedule in advance                                   effect when the extra
                                                                                              •   LWOP
                                                            •     Request must                                          hours were worked,
                                                                  specifically state that                               should he or she
                                                                  the request for an                                    separate or transfer
                                                                  adjusted work                                         before using the
                                                                  schedule is for                                       compensatory time
                                                                  religious purposes                                    set aside for religious
                                                                                                                        observances
IRS          Earn and use in      Annual leave or           •     Written request to          •   Annual leave          Employee paid at the
             120 days             LWOP taken as                   take compensatory           •   LWOP                  rate of basic pay at
                                  appropriate                     time off for a specific                               the time the work was
                                                                  religious observance        •   Previously earned
                                                                                                                        performed when
                                                                  that identifies the             compensatory time
                                                                                                                        separating
                                                                  need to abstain from            in lieu of overtime
                                                                  work                        •   Change to their
                                                            •     Request should                  regularly scheduled
                                                                  identify the need to            tour of duty to
                                                                  abstain from work               accommodate their
                                                                                                  personal religious
                                                                                                  beliefs
                                          Source: GAO analysis of agency policies and CBAs.
                                          a
                                              DOJ’s policy covers all of its agencies.
                                          b
                                           DOJ’s Leave Administration Policy allows other “forms” than the Standard Form 71, and allows its
                                          agencies to make the determination as to how employees must request leave. The FBI has decided
                                          that employees should present and document these requests through their time and attendance
                                          system. In addition, an employee may make a request of their supervisor in writing or orally, and then
                                          follow up in their time and attendance system to document the transaction.
                                          c
                                           CBA for air traffic controllers does not allow for these personnel to earn compensatory time off for
                                          religious observances. They may only use annual leave.


                                          Since each agency has a different mission and different requirements of
                                          its employees, agencies developed and administered policies on



                                          Page 13                                                       GAO-13-96 Religious Accommodations
compensatory time off for religious observances to fit their individual
needs. Most of the differences are consistent with OPM regulations and
guidance or otherwise within the discretion of the agency in administering
compensatory time off for religious observances. In fact, OPM officials we
spoke with stated that policies on compensatory time off for religious
observances should not be “one-size-fits-all” and OPM recognizes
agencies may have different requirements.

Moreover, all of the agencies reported few or no issues and cases within
their respective agencies on administering compensatory time off for
religious observances, including denying requests or granting schedule
adjustments. OPM commented that a few issues had been raised at one
agency concerning certain aspects of compensatory time off for religious
observances over the last 5 years and have been resolved. Otherwise,
according to OPM officials, they have not observed any practical
problems with agencies administering the regulations nor have they
received any questions or comments from EEOC concerning
administration of the regulations. EEOC commented that employees have
filed few cases of discrimination related to requests for a schedule
change or adjustment for religious observances. We interviewed union
officials from the Council of Prison Locals in the American Federation of
Government Employees, National Air Traffic Controllers Association, and
National Treasury Employees Union that represent bargaining units at
agencies with union representation and none of them reported problems
within their constituencies concerning requesting compensatory time off
for religious observances or denials of compensatory time off for religious
observances requests. Finally, we interviewed representatives of LEO
associations and they also reported no problems within their groups
concerning requesting compensatory time off for religious observances or
denials of compensatory time off for religious observances requests.

Even so, while some differences in policy reflect the individual needs of
agencies in our review, in one area the differences in policy may reflect a
lack of clarity in OPM regulations. Specifically, regarding the disposition of
unused compensatory time off for religious observances, CBP’s policy
provides for conversion of unused compensatory time off for religious
observances to regular compensatory time, which is not clearly
authorized under section 5550a and OPM regulations, based on our
discussions with OPM. The ICE and DOJ policies provide for the
forfeiture of unused compensatory time off for religious observances
which is contrary to OPM guidance providing that unused compensatory
time off for religious observances is to be paid off at the rate of basic pay
in effect when earned upon an employee’s separation or transfer.


Page 14                                      GAO-13-96 Religious Accommodations
CBP’s policy states that unused compensatory time off for religious
observances will be converted to regular compensatory time at the end of
five pay periods and will be subject to the regulations which govern
regular compensatory time. 18 Under OPM regulations addressing the
liquidation of regular compensatory time, payment is generally at the
overtime rate. 19 Yet, CBP officials told us that they do not intend for
employees to receive the overtime rate of pay upon liquidation of
compensatory time off for religious observances which has been
converted to regular compensatory time and state that controls in their
time and attendance system ensure that unused compensatory time off
for religious observances is paid at the rate of basic pay. Moreover, CBP
officials said they recognize that the language in their policy could be
misconstrued as permitting liquidation of the converted compensatory
time at the overtime rate of pay and will take it into consideration when
renegotiating policies in upcoming discussions with the union. According
to CBP officials, the policy provision providing for the conversion of
compensatory time off for religious observances to regular compensatory
time was at the request of the union. The negotiability of this provision
was challenged by the agency as inconsistent with OPM regulations on
compensatory time off for religious observances but a decision by the
Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) concluded that converting
unused compensatory time off for religious observances into regular
compensatory time was not prohibited by OPM regulations and was
therefore subject to collective bargaining. 20 The decision did not address
the liquidation of such compensatory time.

Noting a lack of analysis supporting the FLRA’s conclusion, a Senior
Counsel in OPM’s Office of the General Counsel, stated that the
conversion of unused compensatory time off for religious observances to
regular compensatory time is contrary to section 5550a and OPM’s
implementing regulations, even assuming that liquidation of such




18
  CBP’s parent department, DHS, does not have a department-wide policy on
compensatory time off for religious observances.
19
 5 C.F.R. § 550.114 and § 551.531.
20
 46 F.L.R.A. 696 (Nov. 27, 1992).




Page 15                                          GAO-13-96 Religious Accommodations
converted leave is at the rate of basic pay in effect when earned. 21 In
OPM’s view, compensatory time off for religious observances and regular
compensatory time are different forms of compensatory time off that are
separately authorized, serve different purposes, and are subject to
differing conditions for earning, using, retaining, as well as liquidating. 22
We have previously affirmed OPM’s view that these two forms of
compensatory time off are to be regarded as separate and distinct kinds
of entitlements. 23

OPM’s regulations on compensatory time off for religious observances do
not specifically address the proper treatment of unused compensatory
time off for religious observances. Further, ICE and DOJ’s policies require
their employees to forfeit earned compensatory time off for religious
observances if it has not been used within a certain number of pay
periods, which may result in employees not being paid for time that they
have earned. OPM officials said they have concerns about such
forfeitures since employees did earn the time. One OPM official stated
that earned compensatory time off for religious observances should
remain to the credit of the employee until separation or transfer, and, as
specified in OPM guidance, then liquidated at the regular rate of pay in
effect when earned. However, these OPM officials recognize that section
5550a and OPM’s regulations do not prohibit forfeiture and that OPM’s
guidance providing for the proper disposition of unused compensatory
time off for religious observances is not binding on agencies, but serves
as meaningful advisement for agencies in applying the law and
regulations for compensatory time off for religious observances off. OPM



21
  In this regard, we note that when FLRA decisions are subject to judicial review by
federal courts of appeal, those courts do not accord deference to an FLRA interpretation
of a statute or regulation that it does not administer, such as would be the case here
where OPM has been charged with the responsibility to administer both regular overtime
and compensatory time off for religious observances provisions. United States Dept. of the
Air Force v. FLRA, 952 F.2d. 446 (D.C. Cir. 1991) and IRS v. FLRA, 521 F.3d 1148 (Ninth
Cir. 2008).
22
  For rules addressing regular compensatory time for those exempt or non-exempt from
the minimum wage and overtime provisions of FLSA, see 5 U.S.C. § 5543 and 5 C.F.R. §
550.114 (covering FLSA exempt employees) and 5 C.F.R. § 551.531 (covering FLSA
nonexempt employees).
23
  See 62 Comp. Gen. 589 (1983) wherein we concluded that compensatory time off for
religious observances is not subject to the aggregate salary limitation under 5 U.S.C. §
5547 which serves to limit the amount of regular compensatory time earned in lieu of
monetary compensation for overtime work performed.




Page 16                                              GAO-13-96 Religious Accommodations
                            officials also said they are drafting updated regulations that they believe
                            will address the disposition of unused compensatory time off for religious
                            observances among other things, but have not established a timetable for
                            completing their internal review of the proposed regulations. OPM officials
                            plan to complete their process for drafting the proposed regulations
                            sometime next year. Without such clarification on the disposition of
                            unused compensatory time off for religious observances in OPM’s
                            regulations, agencies may have policies that are not consistent with
                            OPM’s views on the proper disposition of unused compensatory time off
                            for religious observances.


Agencies Have Various       We discussed with department and agency officials the reasons why their
Rationales for Developing   agencies adopted specific policy provisions, such as time limitations. In
Their Policies on           most cases, officials said the agencies followed existing federal rules
                            when developing policies and that they wanted to provide their employees
Compensatory Time off for   with additional scheduling flexibility. However, two agencies—IRS and
Religious Observances       CBP—made or are making changes to their compensatory time off for
                            religious observances policies based on findings by their department’s
                            Inspector General or EEOC.

                            •    IRS developed its current policy following an August 2009 report by
                                 the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA). In
                                 March 2006, IRS had identified 42 employees as having balances
                                 from 101 to 305 hours of compensatory time off for religious
                                 observances. By February 2008, 18 of these employees still had
                                 balances of 80 hours or more, an amount equivalent to 2 weeks, or
                                 one pay period, and that TIGTA considered being an excessive
                                 balance. TIGTA identified that IRS needed additional controls to
                                 address such potential abuse as excess accumulation of
                                 compensatory time off for religious observances, and according to
                                 agency officials, IRS’s current policy was designed to comply with this
                                 recommendation.

                            •    CBP officials stated the agency is modifying its policy based on a
                                 2009 EEOC administrative judge decision that included a finding that
                                 CBP failed to facilitate voluntary swaps of work schedules. 24 As a
                                 result, CBP established a formal process for employees requesting


                            24
                              The administrative judge’s 2009 decision was affirmed on appeal and a request for
                            reconsideration was denied in 2011.




                            Page 17                                            GAO-13-96 Religious Accommodations
                          religious accommodations. The directive was forwarded to the
                          agency’s commissioner of June 11, 2012, where it is awaiting final
                          agency approval.

                      Overall, the seven agencies we reviewed have policies in place for
Conclusion            employees to adjust their work schedules to engage in religious
                      observances. While most of the agencies reviewed have policies that
                      permit employees to earn and use compensatory time to meet religious
                      obligations, many of FAA’s air traffic controllers may only take annual
                      leave for religious observances due to their collective bargaining
                      agreement. Many agency policies showed similarities but varied in areas
                      such as caps for the number of pay periods employees can earn and use
                      compensatory time and on the disposition of unused compensatory time.
                      OPM prescribed regulations for the administration of compensatory time
                      off for religious observances as required but these regulations do not
                      address all aspects of implementing such a policy and some confusion
                      exists. Specifically, agencies may be instituting practices in areas such as
                      disposition of unused compensatory time off for religious observances in
                      a way that OPM views as unauthorized or inconsistent with the proper
                      administration of this authority. OPM has an opportunity to provide
                      agencies with clarification on the administration of compensatory time off
                      for religious observances but does not have a firm timetable for
                      completing its internal review of proposed revised regulations. Unless
                      OPM clarifies its regulations and works with agencies such as CBP to
                      revise its policy, there is a continued risk agencies’ religious
                      accommodation leave policies will not be in accordance with the proper
                      administration of this authority.


                      To ensure agency compensatory time off for religious observances
Recommendations for   policies are in accordance with the proper administration of OPM’s
Executive Action      regulations on compensatory time off for religious observances, we
                      recommend the Director of OPM take the following actions:

                      •   Establish time frames for the internal process of finalizing proposed
                          revised regulations for compensatory time off for religious
                          observances. Such revised regulations should provide clarification in
                          areas such as the disposition of unused compensatory time off for
                          religious observances.

                      •   Work with CBP to ensure its policies and practices regarding its
                          disposition of unused compensatory time off for religious observances



                      Page 18                                     GAO-13-96 Religious Accommodations
                       are in compliance with section 5550a and OPM’s implementing
                       regulations.

                  We provided a draft of this report to OPM, DOJ, DOT, DHS, and Treasury
Agency Comments   for review and comment. 25 In commenting on a draft of this report, OPM
                  agreed with our recommendations. OPM said compensatory time off for
                  religious observances off is an important human resource tool to support
                  the needs of federal employees. Regarding our first recommendation,
                  OPM agreed to issue proposed regulations in 2013 but did not commit to
                  an exact time frame due to the numerous steps needed to review,
                  consider public comments, and finalize draft regulations, including
                  submission to the Office of Management and Budget for interagency
                  clearance. OPM agreed with our second recommendation and will assist
                  CBP in complying with the law and OPM’s regulations for both
                  compensatory time off for religious observances off and regular
                  compensatory time off. OPM believes that although its guidance for
                  providing for the proper disposition of unused religious compensatory
                  time off is not binding on agencies. CBP should comply with this guidance
                  until OPM issues explicit regulations to cover this matter. DHS also
                  agreed with our recommendation and stated it will work to ensure its
                  policies and practices comply with OPM’s regulations. OPM, DOJ, DOT,
                  DHS, and Treasury provided technical comments, which we incorporated
                  where appropriate.


                  As agreed with your offices, unless you publicly announce the contents of
                  this report earlier, we plan no further distribution until seven days from the
                  report date. At that time, we will send copies to other interested
                  congressional committees; the Secretaries of Homeland Security,
                  Transportation, and Treasury; the Attorney General and the Directors of
                  the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, U.S. Customs and Border
                  Protection, Federal Aviation Administration, Federal Bureau of
                  Investigation, Federal Bureau of Prisons, U.S. Immigration and Customs
                  Enforcement, Internal Revenue Service, and Transportation Security
                  Administration. In addition, the report will be available at no charge on the
                  GAO website at http://www.gao.gov.




                  25
                    This report number changed to GAO-13-96 after we provided agencies with the draft
                  report GAO-12-921 for comment.




                  Page 19                                           GAO-13-96 Religious Accommodations
If you or your staff have any questions about this report, please contact
me at (202) 512-2717 or jonesy@gao.gov. Contact points for our Offices
of Congressional Relations and Public Affairs may be found on the last
page of this report. GAO staff who made key contributions to this report
are listed in appendix IV.

Sincerely yours,




Yvonne D. Jones
Director, Strategic Issues




Page 20                                    GAO-13-96 Religious Accommodations
Appendix I: Objectives, Scope, and
              Appendix I: Objectives, Scope, and
              Methodology



Methodology

              In response to your request we identified the similarities and differences
              in policies of selected agencies concerning compensatory time off for
              religious observances for law enforcement officers (LEO) and air
              transportation safety and security (ATSS) personnel and described their
              rationale for adopting the policies.

              We selected seven federal agencies for our review. These agencies had
              a substantial concentration of LEO and ATSS personnel. Based on our
              previous work, we defined a LEO as an individual authorized to perform
              any of four specific functions: (1) conduct criminal investigations, (2)
              execute search warrants, (3) make arrests, or (4) carry firearms. 1 In
              addition, some of these law enforcement officers are responsible for care
              and custody of convicted offenders. We defined ATSS personnel to
              include Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) federal air
              marshals and passenger and baggage screeners/handlers, or
              transportation security officers, and Federal Aviation Administration’s
              (FAA) air traffic controllers based on the U.S. Office of Personnel
              Management’s (OPM) occupational groups and descriptions as well as
              agency job descriptions and other information from agency websites. We
              consulted with you and with our Applied Research and Methodology team
              on the engagement scope.

              Using data from OPM’s Central Personnel Data File, we selected six
              agencies with over 10,000 LEOs and ATSS employees based on their
              OPM occupational group and description, including personnel in the
              correctional officer series and the investigation and transportation groups.
              These included three components in the Department of Homeland
              Security—U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Immigration and
              Customs Enforcement, and TSA; two components in the Department of
              Justice—Federal Bureau of Investigation and Federal Bureau of Prisons;
              and one agency in the Department of Transportation—FAA. We selected
              the seventh agency, the Internal Revenue Service, because of their
              unique role in criminal investigations of tax matters. We believe the
              Central Personnel Data File data are sufficiently reliable for our purposes.

              To accomplish our objectives, we evaluated agency policies and other
              documentation and identified similarities and differences in compensatory



              1
               GAO, Federal Law Enforcement; Survey of Civilian Law Enforcement Functions and
              Authorities, GAO-07-121 (Washington, D.C.: Dec. 19, 2006).




              Page 21                                         GAO-13-96 Religious Accommodations
Appendix I: Objectives, Scope, and
Methodology




time off for religious observances. We also reviewed applicable federal
statutes and regulations, as well as proposed regulations, and executive
branch policies and guidance. Since OPM is responsible for administering
the statute on compensatory time off for religious observances and the
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is responsible
for enforcing the federal antidiscrimination statute requiring religious
accommodation, we interviewed officials from each on their duties and
responsibilities concerning accommodations for federal employees and
reviewed applicable EEOC cases. We developed a structured interview
instrument to discuss agency policies on schedule adjustment for
religious accommodation, and the rationale for such policies, with human
resource/human capital officials, field supervisors, and civil rights/diversity
officials, from selected agencies and their ‘parent’ departments. We also
interviewed LEO association representatives as well as union
representatives from the Council of Prison Locals in the American
Federation of Government Employees, National Air Traffic Controllers
Association, and National Treasury Employees Union about whether,
from their viewpoint and the viewpoint of those they represented, there
were any problems or concerns with schedule accommodation or
compensatory time for religious observance at the selected agencies.

For purposes of this report, we defined schedule adjustments as anything
that would require an employee to make modifications to his or her
assigned schedule for religious purposes. This could include requesting
compensatory time off for religious observances, using annual leave or
leave without pay, or requesting schedule changes or shift swaps

We conducted this performance audit from December 2011 through
October 2012 in accordance with generally accepted government auditing
standards. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to
obtain sufficient, appropriate evidence to provide a reasonable basis for
our findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives. We believe
that the evidence obtained provides a reasonable basis for our findings
and conclusions based on our audit objectives.




Page 22                                      GAO-13-96 Religious Accommodations
Appendix II: Comments from the Office of
              Appendix II: Comments from the Office of
              Personnel Management



Personnel Management




              Page 23                                    GAO-13-96 Religious Accommodations
Appendix II: Comments from the Office of
Personnel Management




Page 24                                    GAO-13-96 Religious Accommodations
Appendix II: Comments from the Office of
Personnel Management




Page 25                                    GAO-13-96 Religious Accommodations
Appendix III: Comments from the
             Appendix III: Comments from the Department
             of Homeland Security



Department of Homeland Security




             Page 26                                      GAO-13-96 Religious Accommodations
Appendix IV: GAO Contact and Staff
                  Appendix IV: GAO Contact and Staff
                  Acknowledgment



Acknowledgment

                  Yvonne D. Jones, (202) 512-2717 or jonesy@gao.gov
GAO Contact
                  In addition to the contact named above Signora May, Assistant Director;
Staff             Steven J. Berke; Dewi Djunaidy; Karin Fangman; Robert Gebhart; and
Acknowledgments   Greg Wilmoth made key contributions to this report.




(450953)
                  Page 27                                   GAO-13-96 Religious Accommodations
GAO’s Mission         The Government Accountability Office, the audit, evaluation, and
                      investigative arm of Congress, exists to support Congress in meeting its
                      constitutional responsibilities and to help improve the performance and
                      accountability of the federal government for the American people. GAO
                      examines the use of public funds; evaluates federal programs and
                      policies; and provides analyses, recommendations, and other assistance
                      to help Congress make informed oversight, policy, and funding decisions.
                      GAO’s commitment to good government is reflected in its core values of
                      accountability, integrity, and reliability.

                      The fastest and easiest way to obtain copies of GAO documents at no
Obtaining Copies of   cost is through GAO’s website (http://www.gao.gov). Each weekday
GAO Reports and       afternoon, GAO posts on its website newly released reports, testimony,
                      and correspondence. To have GAO e-mail you a list of newly posted
Testimony             products, go to http://www.gao.gov and select “E-mail Updates.”

Order by Phone        The price of each GAO publication reflects GAO’s actual cost of
                      production and distribution and depends on the number of pages in the
                      publication and whether the publication is printed in color or black and
                      white. Pricing and ordering information is posted on GAO’s website,
                      http://www.gao.gov/ordering.htm.
                      Place orders by calling (202) 512-6000, toll free (866) 801-7077, or
                      TDD (202) 512-2537.
                      Orders may be paid for using American Express, Discover Card,
                      MasterCard, Visa, check, or money order. Call for additional information.
                      Connect with GAO on Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, and YouTube.
Connect with GAO      Subscribe to our RSS Feeds or E-mail Updates. Listen to our Podcasts.
                      Visit GAO on the web at www.gao.gov.
                      Contact:
To Report Fraud,
Waste, and Abuse in   Website: http://www.gao.gov/fraudnet/fraudnet.htm
                      E-mail: fraudnet@gao.gov
Federal Programs      Automated answering system: (800) 424-5454 or (202) 512-7470

                      Katherine Siggerud, Managing Director, siggerudk@gao.gov, (202) 512-
Congressional         4400, U.S. Government Accountability Office, 441 G Street NW, Room
Relations             7125, Washington, DC 20548

                      Chuck Young, Managing Director, youngc1@gao.gov, (202) 512-4800
Public Affairs        U.S. Government Accountability Office, 441 G Street NW, Room 7149
                      Washington, DC 20548




                        Please Print on Recycled Paper.