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AGO 1955 No. 128 - August 24, 1955
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Don Eastvold | 1953-1956 | Attorney General of Washington

VACATIONS ‑- PART TIME EMPLOYEES OF STATE

Chapter 140, Laws of 1955 which liberalizes the provision for vacations for state employees is retrospective in its application.

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                                                                 August 24, 1955

Honorable Evro M. Becket
Chairman
Liquor Control Board
Public Lands-Social Security Building
Olympia, Washington                                                                                                              Cite as:  AGO 55-57 No. 128

Dear Sir:

            We have your request for an opinion on the following questions pertaining to the right of part-time employees of the liquor control board to vacations under chapter 140, Laws of 1955:

            1. Are part-time employees entitled to any vacation if they have not been employed for a full year commencing subsequent to the effective date of chapter 140, Laws of 1955?

            2. Are part-time employees entitled to extra days of vacation after two, three, and five years of part-time employment?

            3. Is the board empowered to make cash payment to part-time employees in lieu of vacation?

            Our conclusions may be summarized as follows:

            1. Yes, provided they meet the other statutory requirements.

            2. They are entitled to a prorated portion of the extra days.

             [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]

            3. Yes.

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            Chapter 140, Laws of 1955, provides in part as follows:

            "Each subordinate officer and employee of the several offices, departments, and institutions of the state government shall be entitled under their contract of employment with the state government to not less than one working day of vacation leave with full pay for each month of employment if said employment is continuous for six months.

            "Each such subordinate officer and employee shall be entitled under such contract of employment to not less than one additional working day of vacation with full pay each year for satisfactorily completing the first two, three and five continuous years of employment respectively.

            "Such part time officers or employees of the state government who are employed on a regular schedule of duration of not less than one year shall be entitled under their contract of employment to that fractional part of the vacation leave that the total number of hours of such employment bears to the total number of hours of full time employment."

            Paragraph one of the 1955 statute entitles regular employees to vacations with full pay if they have been continuously employed for six months.  Paragraph three requires part-time employees to have been employed on a regular schedule of one year's duration in order to be eligible for a paid vacation.

             [[Orig. Op. Page 3]]

            RCW 43.01.040, which chapter 140, Laws of 1955, amended, provided as follows:

            "Each subordinate officer and employee of the several offices, departments, and institutions of the state government shall be entitled, during each twelve months' period, to fourteen days' leave of absence with full pay."

            It should be noted that these statutes prescribe the minimum vacation to which eligible employees are entitled as a matter of right.

            RCW 43.03.090 provides in relevant part:

            "Each person employed by the state or any office, department, or institution thereof on a part time basis for such period shall receive for his services such compensation as may be prescribed by the head of the employing office, department, or institution, * * *"

            It seems clear that a paid vacation is but a form of compensation.  The 1955 amendment is calculated to provide an additional incentive for continuity of employment for the state, both for full-time and part-time employees.

            We think the legislature must have intended that those employees whose tenure is such as to comply with the conditions contained in chapter 140, Laws of 1955, should be entitled to the more liberal vacation provisions at any time after the effective date of the act.  We cannot believe that the legislature contemplated that the additional-days-of-vacation provision contained in paragraph two of the act should be contingent upon two, three and five continuous years of employmentsubsequent to June 9, 1955.  Accordingly, we advise that in our opinion all part-time employees who have been employed on a regular schedule of employment for a period of one year or more are entitled to a paid vacation to be computed by the statutory formula.

             [[Orig. Op. Page 4]]

            The provisions for additional vacation to those employees who have been in the employ of the state for two, three and five years does not distinguish between part-time and full-time employees.  We conclude that part-time employees are entitled to the benefits of this provision but that the amount of vacation time available to them by virtue of this act must also be determined by applying the statutory formula.

            Section 4, chapter 140, Laws of 1955, provides as follows:

            "The several offices, departments and institutions of the state government may prescribe supplemental rules and regulations that are not inconsistent with the provisions of this act with respect to vacation leave of subordinate officers and employees thereof."

            In two previous opinions this office has ruled that municipal corporations may grant to employees whose employment may be terminated at will additional compensation in lieu of vacation.  These opinions of the attorney general dated July 22, 1943, and July 20, 1948, were addressed to the chief examiner, divisions of municipal corporations.  We believe the conclusions therein expressed are applicable to part-time employees of the state.  Accordingly, we conclude that the liquor control board has authority by rule to provide cash payments to eligible part-time employees in lieu of vacations.

            We hope the foregoing analysis will prove helpful to you.

Very truly yours,

DON EASTVOLD
Attorney General

ANDY G. ENGEBRETSEN
Assistant Attorney General

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