oversight

The Need to Improve Holiday Administration Overseas

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1977-12-12.

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

                             DOCUMENT     ESUME

 04316 -     B3494754]

 [The Need to Improve Holiday Administration Overseas]. ID-78-7;
 B-180403. December 12, 1977. 2 pp. + enclosure (9 pp.).

 Report to    Secretary, Department of State;     by J.   K.   Fasick,
 Director,    International Div.

Tssue Area: Personnel      anagement    ard Compensation:      Compensation
     (3C5).
Contact: International Div.
Budget Function: International Affairs: Conduct of Foreign
    Affairs (152); General Government: Central Personnel
    Management (805).
Congressional Relevance: House Committee on Post Office and
    Civil Service.

          GAO previously reported to Congress that the degree to
 which holidays were being observed overseas appeared to   be
 inappropriate. The Department of State advised its diplomatic
 and consular posts of these findings and asked them to review
 their holiday observance policies.    he posts were told that they
 should observe only local holidays where failure to do so would
 be contrary to the interests of the United States, ,it the
                                                               posts
 were not specifically instructed to reduce the numb:r of
 holidays obeg,.ved.  Findings/Conclusions: U.S. Embassies in the
 17 countries originally reviewed recognized an average of 19.8
holidays in    973 and 19.1 in 1976. According to 1977 holiday
schedules, these Embassies will recognize an average of 18.2
holidays. The decreaEse in 1977 is largely because the Embassy
Laos reduced the number of holidays it recognized to 14, down in
from 30   n 1973 and 25 in 1976. It would appear that the posts
ned stronger urging if the number of holidays recognized
overseas are to be significantly reduced. In October 1977,
                                                               the
Civil Service Commission asked Federal departments and agencies
to comment on proposed guidelines for observing holidays
                                                            in
foreign areas. The guidelines emphasize giving American and
foreign rational employees only thcse holidays which are
                                                            their
official holidays urless the employees are placed on annual
leave for the day or the annual pay of foreign national
employees is reduced to reflect additional non-worKdays
resulting fr.'- observing Federal hclidays. The guidelines appear
to be sufficiertly flexibie to cover the varying circumstances
w thin and beteen foreign countries and specific enough, if
properly implemented, to reduce the number of lost workdays.
 (A.uthor/SW)
                             UNITED STATES GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE
            /;·~
           X-~     ~~         ~WASHINGTON, D.C. 20548


     INTRNATIONAL DIVISION


                                                       DEC 121977
.-
 4         B-180403

           The Honorable
           The Secretary of State

           Dear Mr. Secretary:

               On March 17, 1975, we reported to the Congress on the
          need for improving holiday administration overseas and said,
          among other things, that the degree to which holidays were
          being observed appeared to    inappropriate. (See "Holiday
                                         '-,,

          Administration Overseas: Improvement Needed to Achieve
          More Equitable Treatment of Employees," (ID-75-42)).

               In September 1975, the Department advised its diplo-
          matic and consular posts of our report's principal findings
          and recommendations. The posts were asked to reviel their
          holiday observance policies in the light of our report.
          The Department also informed the costs that, in accordance
          with existing provisions of the Foreign Affairs Manual,
          they should observe only local holidays where failure
          do so would be contrary to the interests of the United to
          States.  The posts were not specifically instructed to
          reduce the number of holidays to be observed.

               According to our recent followup review, the U.S.
          Embassies in the 17 countries included n our original
          review recognized an average of 19.8 holidays in 1973
          and 19.1 in 1976.   (See encs. I and II.)  According to
          1977 holiday schedules, these Embassies will ecoanize
          an average of 18.2 hclidays. The decrease in 1977 is
          largely because the Embass- in Laos reduced the number
          of holidays it recognized to 14, down from 30 in 1973
          and 25 in 1976.   It would appear that the posts need
          stronger urging if the number of holidays recognized
          overseas are to be significantly reduced.

              In October 1977, the Civil Service Commission asked
         Federal departments and agencies to comment on a draft
         Federal Personnel Manual letter and proposed guidelines
         for observing holidays in foreigan areas. These guidelines
         crew out of the response by the Commission and the Office
         of Management and Budget to our March 1975 report.




                                                                ID-7S-7
B-180403


     The proposed guidelines emphasize giving American
and foreign national employees only those holidavs which
are their official holidays unless the employees are
placed on annual leave for the day or the annual pay
of foreign national employees is reduced to reflect addi-
tional non-workdays resulting from observing Federal
holidays. These guidelines state that only in circum-
stances where work cannot be properly performed may
employees be dismissed without a charge to annual leLve
(or pay in the case of foreign national employees) on
other than their official holidays.  Examples of such
circumstances are set forth in the guidelines.

     We believe that the roposed guidelines ar' suffici-
ently flexible to cover the varying circumstances within
and between foreign countries and specific enough in intent
so that, if properly implemented, they should reduce the
number of lost workdays.

     We continue to be concerned about holiday adminis-
tration overseas and trust that the Department will take
the steps necessary to ensure the effective implementation
by U.S. overseas posts of the guidelines prepared by the
Civil Service Commission.

     We are sending copies of this letter to the Director
of the Office of Management and Budget, Chairman of the
Civil Service Commission, and selected congressional
committees.

                                  Sincerely ,yrs,




                                  J/ R. Fasick
                                   irector
Enclosures - 2




                             2
ENCLOSURE I                                           ENCLOSURE I

               COMPAR T SON OF HOLIDAYS RECOGNIZED
                FOR FEDERAL AGENCY EMPLOYEES IN
               17 COUNTRIES DURING 1973 AND 1976 (note a)

Country                     1973        1976              Chance
Brazil                     21-1/2           17           -4-1/2
Ethiopia                   22               22                0
Germany                    19               19                0
Hong Kong                  18               17           -1
India                      17               18                1
Indonesia                  18               18                0
Italy                      19               19                0
Japan                      20               20                0
Korea                      20               18           -2
Laos                       30               25           -5
Peru                       17-1/2           15           -2-1/2
Philippines                19               19                0
Saudi Arabia               18               19                1
Spain                      24-1/2           23           -1-1/2
Taiwan                     20-1/2           23             2-1/2
                       b
Thailand                   18   (20)        19             1
                                        b
Zaire                      15               13 (17)      -2
  Total holidays       337              324            -13
Average number of
  holidays            19.8             19.1            -. 7

a In a given country, normally fewer holidays are actually
  observed or taken than are recognized because substitute days
  are not taken for foreign holidays which fall on weekends r
  coincide with other holidays.  (See enc. II.)
b Figures in parentheses are the number of holidays recognized
  for foreign national employees when different from
  that recognized for American employees.
      ENCLOSURE II                                              ENCLOSURE II


                      HOLIDAYS RECOGNIZED AND OBSERVED BY
                     AMERICAN AND FOREIGN NATIONAL EMPLOYEES
                     OF U.S. AGENCIES IN SELECTED COUNTRIES
                         DURING 1973 AND 1975 (note a)

                                    Holidays        Total            Holidays
                                    actually       holidays          actually
                                  observed-1973   recognized       observed-1976
 Country and agency                 (note b)       (note c)          (note b)
                                                   1973    176

Brazil:
  Department of State                19-1/2       21-1/2   17          16
  Agency for International
    Development                      19-1/2       21-1/2   17          16
  U.S. Information Service           19-1/2       21-1/2   17          16
  ACTION/Peace Corps                 19-1/2       21-1/2   17          16
  Deartment of the Treasury
     (note d)                        19-1/2       21-1/2   17          16
  Department of Justice
     (note d)                        19-1/2       21-1/2   17          16
  Department of Health,
    Education, and elfare            19-1/2       21-1/2   17          16
  Department of Commerce             19-1/2       21-1/2   17          16
  Decartment of Transportation       19-1/2       21-1/2   17          16
  Library of Congress                19-1/2       21-1/2   17          16
  Smithsonian Institution
     (note d)                        1'-1/2       21-1/2   17          16
  Department of Defense              19-1/2       21-1/2   17          16
  Department of Agriculture          £9-1/2       21-1/2   17          16

Eth ioia:
  Department of State                1S           22       22          17(18)
  Acency for International
     Develooment                     18           22       22          17(18)
  U.S. Information Service           18           22       22          17(18)
  ACTION/Peace Coros                 18           22       22          17(18)
  Department of Defense              19           22       22          17(18)

Germany:
  Department of State                18           19       19          16
  U.S. Information Service           18           19       19          16
  Depactment of Justice              18           19       19          16
  De,.;-ment of the Treasury         18           19       19          16
  Department of Agriculture          13           19       19          16


GAO note:   Fgrcs n arentheses are the number of holidays apolicable
            to foreign employees when different from those aplicable to
            American em:ouvees.



                                          2
       ENCLOSURE II                                                   -ENCLOSURE II


                                      Holidays           Total             Holidays
                                      actually          holidays           actually
                                    observed-1973      recognized        observed-1976
  Country and agency                  (note b)          (note c)           (note b)
                                                       1973 176
Germany:  (cont'd)
  Department of Transportation
    (Berlin and Frankfurt)         18          le                18            15
  Department of Commerce:
    Trade Center (Frankfurt)       18          18                18            15
    Travel Service (Frankfurt)     11          11                18            15
  Department of the Interior
    (Frankfurt) (note d)           18          18                18            15
  Agency for International
    Development (Frankfurt)
    (note e)                   (not present in 1973)             18            15
  General Accounting Office
    (Frankfurt) (note d)            9           9                 9             9
  Department of Defense (Bonn)     18          1'                19            16
Hong Kong:
  Department of State                  18             18         17         17
  Department of Justice                18             ].8        1'         17
  Department of the Treasury           18             18         17         17
  Department of Agriculture            18             19         17         17
  U.S. Information Service             18             18         17         17
  Export--Import Bank                  18             18      (not present in 1976)
  Department of Defense                18             18         17         17
  Foreign roadcast
    Information Service         (not        resent in 1973)      17            17
India:
  Department of State                  17             17         18            17
  U.S. Information Service             17             17         18            17
  Agency for International
    Development                        17             17      18         17
  Department of Agriculture            17             17      18         17
  ACTION/Peace Corps                   12(13)         12(13)(not present in 1976)
  Library of Congress                  17             17      18         17
  Department of the Treasury           17             17      18         17
  Department of Justice (ote   f)      17             17      18         17
  Department of Health,
    Education, and Welfare             17             17         18            17
  Atomic Emergy Commission
    (note d)                           18             18      (not present in 1976)
  Department of Defense                17             :7         18         17
          ENCLOSURE II                                         ENCLOSURE II

                                 Holidays         Total      [olidays
                                 ~ctually        holidays    actually
                               observed-1973    recognized observed-1976
  Country and agency             (ncte b)        (note c)    (note b)
                                                1973    1976
Indonesia:
  Department of State           15             18       g18         14
  Agency for International
    Development                 15             18       g18         14
  U.S. Information Service      15             18       g18         14
  Department of Agriculture     15             18       g18         14
  Library of Congress           15             18       g18         14
  Department f Defense          15             18       g18         14
  Drug Enforcement
    Administration          (not present in    1973)     18         14
Italy:
  Department of State             16           19        19         15
  U.S. Information Service        16           19        19         15
  Department of the Treasury      16           19        19         15
  Department of Agriculture       16           19        19         15
  Department of Justice           16           19        19         15
  Department of Commerce          16           19        19         15
  American Battle Monuments
    Commission:
    Rome                          16           19        19         15
    Florence                       9'.7-1/2)    9(17-1/1j 9(17)      9(12)
  Deartment of Defense
     3 S. Army Material
       Management Agency           9(17-1/2)    9(17-1/2)(not present in 1976)
  All other                       16           19         9(16)   9(12)
  NATO Defense College            10           10        17      11
  U.S. Air Force, Air
    Transoort Command             16(17-1/2)   19(17-1/2)(not present in 1976)
7 apan:
  Department f State              16           20         20        18
  U.S. Information Servi:e        16           20         20        18
  Department of Justice           16           20         20        18
  Departnment of Agricul'ure      16           20         20        18
  Department of the T reasury     16           20         20        18
  Department of Commerce          16           20         20        18
  Department of Transportation:
    Federal Aviation
       Administration             16           20         20        18
    Coast Guard (note e)          11           11        (not     resent in 197b)
  Library of Congress (note d)    16           20         20        18




                                       4
         ENCLOSURE II
                                                                  ENCLOSURE II

                                      Holidays          Total         Holidays
                                      actually         holidays       actually
                                    observed-1973     recognized    observed-1976
   Country and agency
                                      (note b          (note c)       (note b)
  Japan:                                             1973   176
             (cont'd)
     Energy Research & Development
        Administration (note f)          16
     Foreign Broadcast                              20          20         18
         information Service             16
     Agency for International                       20     (not present in 1976)
        Development                      16
     National Science Foundation                    20         20          18
                                         16         20         20          18
     Department of Health,
        Education, and Welfare
        (note e)w                       16          20     (not present in 1976)
     Departmenrt of he Interior
        (note d)                        16          20     (not present in 1976)
    Department of Defense:
       Defense Attache                  16
       Office of Naval Reserve                     20          20         18
                                   (not present in 1973)       20         18
 Korea:
    Department of State                 20
    U.S. Information Service                       20          18         13
                                        20         20         18          13
    Agency for International
       Development                      20
    Department of Agriculture                      20         18          13
                                        20         20         18          13
    Department of Defense:
       Defense Attache                  20
       Other (U.S. Forces, Korea)                  20         18          13
                                         9(10)       9(10)      9(12)      9(.2)
    Foreign Broadcast
       Information Service        (not present in 1973)
   Drug Enforcement                                           18          13
      Administration              (not present in 1973)
   Federal Aviation                                           18         13
      Administration              (not present in 1973)
   ACTION/Peace Corps                                         18         13
                                       13         13         18          13
Laos:
   Department of State                 24
   U.S. Information Service                       30         25          18
                                       24         30         25          18
   Agency for International
      Development                     24
   Department of the Treasury                     30     (not Present in 1976)
                                      24          30     (not    present in 1976)
   Department of Transportation       24
  Department of Justice                           30     (not    Present in 1976)
                                      24          30     (not    present in 1976)
  Department of Defense               24          30         13          13




                                       5
        ENCLOSURE II
                                                                  ENCLOSURE II

                                   Holidays             Total          Holie  s
                                   actually            holidays        actualiy
                                 observed-1973        recognized     observed-1976
  Country and agency               (note b)            (note c)        (note b)
Peru:
  Department of State               15-1/2       17-1/2      15           15
  U.S. Information Service          15-1/2       17-1,'2     15           15
  Agency for International
    Development                    15-1/2        17-1/2
  Department of Agriculture                                  15           15
                                   15-1/2        17-1/2      15           15
  Department of Justice
    (note d)                       15-1/2        17-1/2 15
  ACTION/Peace Corps                                               15
                                   15-1/2        17-i/2 (not present in 1976)
  Department of Transportation     15-1/2        17-1/2 15
  Department of Defense                                            15
                                   15-1/2        17-1/2 15         15
Philippines:
  Department of State              18            3.9                     17
  U.S. Information Sertice         18            19         19           17
  Agency for International
    Development                    18            19
  Veterans Administration                                   19           17
                                   18            19         19           17
  Department of Justice            18            19         19           17
  Department of the Treasury:
    Internal Revenue Service
       (note d)                     9             9
    Division of Disbursements                               19           17
                                   18            19         19           17
  Department of Transportation     18            19
  Department of Agriculture                                 19           17
                                   18            19         19           17
  ACTION/Peace Corps               18            19         19           17
  American Battle Monuments
    Commission                     18            19
  Department of Defense:                                    19           17
    Defense Attache                18            13         19           17
    U.S. Air Force                  9(15)         9(15)
    Other                                                    9(14)        9(14)
                                    9(14)         9(14)      9(14)        9(14)
Saudi Arabia:
  Department of State              17            18         19           16
  U.S. Information Service         17            18         19           16
  Agency for International
    Development (note f)            9            10        (not present in 1976)
  U.S. Geological Survey
    (note d)                        9            10
  Decart-ont of Defense:                                    11            8
    Defense Attache                17            18         19          16
    Other                           9             9         10          10




                                    6
          ENCLOSURE II
                                                                    ENCLOSURE II

                                     Holidays             Total          Holidavs
                                     actually            holidays        actually
                                   observed-1973        recognized     ohserved-1976
  Country and agency                 (note b)            (note c)        (note b)
Spain:
  Department of State                22-1/2
  U.S. Information Service                          24-1/2     23           18
                                     22-1/2         24-1/2     23           18
  Department of Agriculture          22-1/2
  Department of Justice                             24-1/2     23           18
                                     22-1/2         24-1/2     23           18
  National Aeronautics and Space
    Administration (note f)              9
  Department of Defense:                            9          23(16)       18(10)
    Officer-in-Charge of
      Construction                    9(15-1/2)
    Other                                          9(17-1/2) 9(16)         10
                                     22-1/2        24-1/2  23              18
Taiwan:
  Department of State                18-1/2
  U.S. Information Service                         20-1/2     23           19
                                     18-1/2        20-1/2     23           19
  Department of Agriculture          18-1/2
  Agency for International                         20-1/2     23           19
    Development                      18-1/2
  Department of Defense                            20-1/2     23           19
                                     18-1/2        20-1/2     23           19
Thailand:
  Department of State                17(19)
  U.-S. Informati(n Servi:e                        18(20)     19           16
                                     17(19)        1 (20)     19           16
  Agency for International
     Development                     17(19)
  Department of Justice                            18(20)     19           16
                                     17(19)        18(20)     19           16
  ACTION/Peace Corps                 14            14         19           16
  Foreign Broadcast
     Information Service              9(12)
  Department of Agriculture                         9(12)      9(13)        9(13)
                                     17(19)        18(20)     19           16
  Department of the Treasury
     (note d)                       17             18        (not present in 1976)
  General Accounting Office
     (note d)                        9
 Department of Defense:                             9          9            9
    Air Force and Navy               9(12)
    Officer-in-Charge of                            9(12)     19          16
       Construction (note d)        11
    Other                                          11        (not present in 1976)
                                    17(12)         18(12)     19        16




                                      7
       ENCLOSURE II
                                                             ENCT OSURE II

                                  Holidays        Total          Holidavs
                                  actually       holidays        actually
                                observed-1973   recognized     observed-1976
 Country and agte.c               (note b)       (note c)        (note b)
Zaire:
  Department of Sate               11          15       13(17)       12(16)
  U.S. Information Service         11          15
  Pgency for International                              13(17)       12(16)
    Development                    11          15
  ACTION/Peace Corps                                    13(17)       12(16)
                                    6           6       13(17)       12(16)
  Department of Agriculture        11          15
  Department of Transportation                          13(17)       12(16)
    (note d)                        4           4      (not present in 1976)
  Department of Defense            11          15
  Bureau of Reclamation                                  13(17)    12(16)
    (note d)                   (not present in 1973)    13          12




                                    8
     ENCLOSURE II
                                                        ENCLOSURE II


       In some countries, the number
       Embassy and its constituent     of holidays observed by the
       regional holiday is observed.posts may vary because a
                                        This schedule, unless
      otherwise noted, reflects holidays
      by the Embassies; special American recognized and observed
      are not included because they         and foreign holidays
                                      occur irregularly.
      Figures represent the number
      actually closed n observance   of days Embassies were
                                      of regular American and
      host-country hclidays and exclude
      fell on weekends or coincided        local holidays which
                                      with
      Embassies generally do not observe American holidays.
      such local holidays.                  substitute days for
 c
     Numbers are total holidays recognized
     as shown on their respective          by the Embassies
     and 1976.                    holiday lists for 1973
 d
     Agency had no foreign national
 e                                   employees in 1973 and 1976.
     Agency employed only foreign
                                   natijnal employees.
     Agency had no foreign national
                                     employees in 1973.
     Excludes one foreign holiday which, because of
     calendar, was celebrated twice in 1976.        the    unar




(46199)



                                9