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AGO 1959 No. 76 - October 20, 1959
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John J. O'Connell | 1957-1968 | Attorney General of Washington

MILITARY - LEAVE OF ABSENCE - COMPUTATION OF 15-DAY TRAINING PERIOD AND TYPE OF TRAINING COVERED.

(1) A National Guardsman or other reserve member who attends a 15-day training period which begins and ends on a Saturday should be charged with 12 days military leave of absence.

(2) The remaining 3 days of military leave can be applied to various active training periods throughout the year rather than the annual active duty for training period.

(3) Military leave of absence may be granted to public employees for active training duty regardless of what the nature of the training might be.

                                                                  - - - - - - - - - - - - -

                                                                October 20, 1959

George M. Haskett
Major General, Wash ARNG
The Adjutant General
Camp Murray
Fort Lewis, Washington                                                                                        Cite as:  AGO 59-60 No. 76

Dear Sir:

            By letter, previously acknowledged, you requested an opinion of this office on the following questions:

            (1) Pursuant to chapter 236, Laws of 1957, how many days of "military leave of absence" should a National Guardsman, or other reserve member, be charged while attending a fifteen (15) day training period which begins and ends on Saturday?

            (2) If the answer to question No. 1 is such that the full fifteen (15) day leave, allowed by chapter 236, Laws of 1957, should not be charged, can the balance be applied to various active training periods throughout the year, other than the "annual active duty for training" period?

             [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]

            (3) May military leave of absence be granted to public employees during basic military training with regular armed forces units, or, while attending an armed forces service school?

            We answer question No. 1 as set forth in the analysis.  Questions No. 2 and 3 are answered in the affirmative.

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            (1) Chapter 236, Laws of 1957, provides in part:

            "Every officer and employee of the state or of any county, city, or other political subdivision thereof who is a member of the Washington national guard or of the army, navy, air force, coast guard, 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 aperiod 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. . . ." (Emphasis supplied.)

            For the purpose of your first question, only that portion of this chapter underlined above is pertinent.  To answer your question, it is first necessary to determine if the legislature intended, by the use of the word "days," to refer to calendar days, or working days.  It is our conclusion that the word "days" has reference to calendar days.  In the absence of a clear legislative intent to the contrary, the word "days" as used in statutes, generally has been regarded as referring to calendar days.  See, Hopeville v. Jones, 20 S.E. (2d) 599; Kuznitsky v. Murphy, 44 N.E. (2d) 893.

            Further it is significant to note that where the legislature has intended to restrict the word "days" to mean only working days, it has specifically so provided.  For example, in RCW 43.01.040, a statute relating to computation of vacation time, the word "working" was inserted before the word "days."  It is to be noted that the word "working" does not appear in chapter 236, Laws of 1957.

            The above discussion, however, is not a complete answer to your question.  Chapter 236, Laws of 1957, is apparently patterned after 5 U.S.C. § 30 R (a).  The Comptroller General, decision B 68195, 27 October, 1947 (27 Comp. Gen.  [[Orig. Op. Page 3]] 245, 253), in construing the federal statute, ruled that the word "days" had reference to calendar days.  He then made certain additional comments to the instant question:

            ". . . That rule, [days means calendar and not working days] however, need not be applied as requiring that non-workdays [[nonworkdays]]be charged to military leave where they are not wholly within a period of absence on military leave, that is, unless the absence extends for a period including time both before and after the non-workdays [[nonworkdays]].  For example, Saturday being a nonworkday, an employee would not be charged with military leave because he attended a drill or engaged in certain military exercises while not required to work on that day.  But if his military duties required him to be absent from his civilian employment from Wednesday through the second following Wednesday, inclusive, he would be charged with fifteen days' military leave, on a calendar day basis, notwithstanding that Saturdays and Sundays falling within such period were so-called non-workdays [[nonworkdays]].  Likewise, Saturday and Sunday being non-workdays [[nonworkdays]], an employee absent Monday on military leave or absent on Friday but returning to work on Monday would be charged only one day notwithstanding that he may also have had military training on the non-workdays [[nonworkdays]]Saturday and Sunday, but if absent Friday through Monday he would be charged four days since the non-workdays [[nonworkdays]]fell wholly within the period of absence. . . ."

            Applying this reasoning, with which we are in accord, to the problem at bar, it is clear that an individual who attends a fifteen (15) day training period, beginning and ending on Saturday, should be charged with twelve (12) days' leave of absence.  We reach this conclusion by computing the time as follows:

            The first and last week end of the period should not be charged as leave because the absence did not extend for a time both before and after these nonwork days.  However, the interior nonwork days, i.e., the "middle week end," must be charged as leave of absence because the employee was not present for work either on the Friday preceding the week end, or the Monday subsequent to it.

            (2) Chapter 236, Laws of 1957, states that the fifteen (15) day leave period "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."  There is no provision in this chapter requiring that the leave period  [[Orig. Op. Page 4]] be applied only to the "annual active duty for training" period.  In fact, the statute reads that the leave may be taken "in such manner and at such time" as an individual may be ordered to active training duty.  It follows that the fifteen (15) day leave of absence can be applied to various active training periods throughout the year.

            (3) Basically, the same reasoning used to support an affirmative answer to question No. 2 can also be used to support an affirmative answer to your last question concerning the type of training covered by military leave of absences.  As long as an individual is ordered by his National Guard, or reserve unit, to report for active training duty, it is immaterial what the nature of this active training duty might be.

Very truly yours,

JOHN J. O'CONNELL
Attorney General

REMBERT RYALS
Assistant Attorney General

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