December 22, 2010
The Mythical 59 Minute Rule?
A 2006 Army Lawyer article examines the fiscal law implications of allowing employees to leave work early before a holiday:
The true gray area, therefore, is not what authority there is for a fifty-nine-minute rule, or who has the authority to grant or receive it. The true gray area lies in the purpose and frequency of the rule's invocation. While regularly recurring excusals that have the effect of a federal workweek reduction in duty hours are outside the parameters of management discretion, the occasional and infrequent use of the fifty-nine-minute rule as a good will gesture, especially in association with a recognized federal holiday is clearly within them. So, while federal employees need not feel too guilty about getting an occasional hour off, between these examples lays an icy slope that could lead to time and attendance audits and raise issues of proper judgment with the potential for discipline. After all, DOD employees are responsible for the sound stewardship of government resources--every one of them.