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AGO 1956 No. 350 - November 30, 1956
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Don Eastvold | 1953-1956 | Attorney General of Washington

STATE EMPLOYEES ‑- STATE COLLEGES OF EDUCATION ‑- LEAVE OF ABSENCE FOR ANNUAL MILITARY DUTY ‑- JURY SERVICE

The board of trustees of a state college of education is required by law to grant annual paid leaves of absence to employees called up for active military duty.  Such boards have authority to grant paid leaves of absence to employees called for jury service.  In both cases the compensation paid by the state should be reduced by the base pay received for such duty.

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                                                               November 30, 1956

Mr. William W. Force, Secretary
Board of Trustees
Eastern Washington College of Education
Cheney, Washington                                                                                                              Cite as:  AGO 55-57 No. 350

Dear Sir:

            In your letter of November 12, 1956, you asked our opinion on the following questions:

            (1) Does the board of trustees have authority to grant leaves with pay for military or jury duty?

            (2) Does the board of trustees have the authority to establish a policy permitting college employees to receive the difference between their jury or base military pay and their compensation from the college while on such leaves?

            We answer both questions in the affirmative, subject to the qualification that the military leave matter is specifically governed by statute.

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            RCW 38.40.060 provides as follows:

            "Every officer and employee of the state or of any county,  [[Orig. Op. Page 2]] city, or other political subdivision thereof who is a member of the Washington national guard or of the army, navy, or marine corps reserve of the United States, or of any organized reserve or armed forces of the United States shall be entitled to and shall be granted military leave of absence from such employment for a period not exceeding fifteen days during each calendar year.  Such leave shall be granted in order that the person may take part in active training duty in such manner and at such time as he may be ordered to active training duty.  Such military leave of absence shall be in addition to any vacation or sick leave to which the officer or employee might otherwise be entitled, and shall not involve any loss of efficiency rating, privileges, or pay.  During the period of military leave, the officer or employee shall receive from the state, or the county, city, or other political subdivision, his normal pay, less the amount of the base pay received by him for the performance of such active training duty, and proof of the amount and receipt of the base pay for such service shall be made in such manner and upon such certificate as the state auditor of the state may require."

            It is our conclusion that employees of our state colleges of education are state employees and in that capacity may be entitled to an annual military leave of absence pursuant to the above statute.  On June 23, 1952 [[Opinion No. 51-53-329 to J. W. Hoover, State Toll Bridge Authority]]this office advised the state toll bridge authority that employees of the state ferry system are state employees and within the purview of the act.  Accordingly we advise that the board of trustees not only has authority, but also the duty, to grant military leave with pay to employees who have been called up for active training duty for a period not exceeding fifteen days.  The amount of compensation must be reduced by the amount of base pay received for military duty.

            On May 26, 1939, we advised the state land commissioner that state employees should be granted a leave of absence in order to respond to a call for jury duty.  We concluded that the salary received from the state should continue during the period of jury service but that it should be diminished by the amount the employee received for such duty.

            Jury service is a public duty which the citizen owes the state.  When a public employee answers the call to jury service it is consistent with sound public policy that he be neither penalized nor enriched thereby.  The principle is similar to that involved in a military leave of absence.

             [[Orig. Op. Page 3]]

            Accordingly we advise that the board of trustees has authority to formulate a policy under which employees of our state colleges of education are entitled to leave with pay during the time they are absent from their customary duties because of jury service.  If the amount of compensation is reduced in the sum received for such jury duty, we believe your institution will be pursuing a policy consistent with that prevailing in other institutions of the state.

            We hope the foregoing comments will prove helpful.

Very truly yours,

DON EASTVOLD
Attorney General


ANDY G. ENGEBRETSEN
Assistant Attorney General

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