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Proposed Collection; Comment Request

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In accordance with the requirement of section 3506(c)(2)(A) of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 which provides opportunity for public comment on new or revised data collections, the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) will publish periodic summaries of proposed data collections.

Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed information collection is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information has practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the RRB's estimate of the burden of the collection of the information; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden related to the collection of information on responders, including the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

Title and purpose of information collection: Railroad Service and Compensation Reports; OMB 3220-0008.

Under section 6 of the Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act (RUIA) and section 9 of the Railroad Retirement Act (RRA), the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) maintains for each railroad employee a record of compensation paid to that employee by all railroad employees for whom the employee worked after 1936. This record, which is used by the RRB to determine eligibility for, and amount of, benefits due under the laws it administers, is conclusive as to the amount of compensation paid to an employee during such period(s) covered by the report(s) of the compensation by the employee's railroad employer(s), except in cases when an employee files a protest pertaining to his or her reported compensation within the statute of limitations cited in section 6 of the RRA and section 9 of the RRA.

To enable the RRB to establish and maintain the record of compensation, employers are required to file with the RRB, in such manner and form and at such times as the RRB prescribes, reports of compensation of employees. The information reporting requirements are prescribed in 20 CFR 209.6. The RRB utilizes form BA-3a, Annual Report of Compensation and form BA-4, Report of Creditable Compensation Adjustments, to secure the required information from railroad employers. Form BA-3a provides the RRB with information regarding annual creditable service and compensation for each individual who worked in the railroad industry in a given year. Form BA-4 provides for the adjustment of any previously submitted reports and also the opportunity to provide any service and compensation that had been previously omitted.

Employers currently have the option of submitting the reports on the aforementioned forms, or, in like format, on magnetic tape, tape cartridges, PC diskettes, or CD-ROM as outlined in the RRB's Reporting Instructions to Employers. Submission of the reports is mandatory. One response is required of each respondent. Minor editorial changes are proposed to form BA-3a and BA-4.Start Printed Page 3904

In addition, in accordance with the Government Paperwork Elimination Act which requires Federal agencies to provide its customers the option to submit or transact business with agencies electronically, when practical, as a substitute for paper by October 21, 2003, the RRB proposes the addition of a new equivalent Internet version of form BA-4, Report of Creditable Compensation Adjustments, to the information collection.

The completion time for form BA-3a is estimated at between 33.3 hours per response for electronic submissions to 85 hours for manual paper responses. The completion time for form BA-4 is estimated at between 45 and 60 minutes per response.

Additional Information or Comments: To request more information or to obtain a copy of the information collection justification, forms, and/or supporting material, please call the RRB Clearance Officer at (312) 751-3363. Comments regarding the information collection should be addressed to Ronald J. Hodapp, Railroad Retirement Board, 844 N. Rush Street, Chicago, Illinois 60611-2092. Written comments should be received within 60 days of this notice.

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Chuck Mierzwa,

Clearance Officer.

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[FR Doc. 03-1764 Filed 1-24-03; 8:45 am]