For the purpose of any investigation or other proceeding relative to the determination of any right to benefits, or relative to any other matter within its jurisdiction under this chapter, the Board shall have the power to issue subpenas requiring the attendance and testimony of witnesses and the production of any evidence, documentary or otherwise, that relates to any matter under investigation or in question, before the Board or any member, employee, or representative thereof. Any member of the Board or any of its employees or representatives designated by it may administer oaths and affirmations, examine witnesses, and receive evidence. Such attendance of witnesses and production of evidence may be required from any place in the United States or any Territory or possession thereof at any designated place of hearing. All subpenas may be served and returned by anyone authorized by the Board in the same manner as is now provided by law for the service and return by United States marshals of subpenas in suits in equity. Such service may also be made by registered mail or by certified mail and in such case the return post-office receipt shall be proof of service. Witnesses summoned in accordance with this subsection shall be paid the same fees and mileage as are paid witnesses in the district courts of the United States.
In case of contumacy by, or refusal to obey a subpena lawfully issued to, any person, the Board may invoke the aid of the district court of the United States or the United States courts of any Territory or possession, where such person is found or resides or is otherwise subject to service of process, or the United States District Court for the District of Columbia if the investigation or proceeding is being carried on in the District of Columbia, or the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, if the investigation or proceeding is being carried on in the Northern District of Illinois, in requiring the attendance and testimony of witnesses and the production of evidence. Any such court shall issue an order requiring such person to appear before the Board or its specified employee or representative at the place specified in the subpena of the Board, whether within or without the judicial district of the court, there to produce evidence, if so ordered, or there to give testimony concerning the matter under investigation or in question; and any failure to obey such order of the court may be punished by said court as a contempt thereof. All orders, writs, and processes in any such proceeding may be served in the judicial district of the district court issuing such order, writ, or process, except that the orders, writs, and processes of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia or of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in such proceedings may run and be served anywhere in the United States.
Information obtained by the Board in connection with the administration of this chapter shall not be revealed or open to inspection nor be published in any manner revealing an employee’s identity: Provided, however, That (i) the Board may arrange for the exchange of any information with governmental agencies engaged in functions related to the administration of this chapter; (ii) the Board may disclose such information in cases in which the Board finds that such disclosure is clearly in furtherance of the interest of the employee or his estate; (iii) any claimant of benefits under this chapter shall, upon his request, be supplied with information from the Board’s records pertaining to his claim; and (iv) the Board shall disclose to any base-year employer of a claimant for benefits any information, including information as to the claimant’s identity, that is necessary or appropriate to notify such employer of the claim for benefits or to full and fair participation by such employer in an appeal, hearing, or other proceeding relative to the claim pursuant to section 355 of this title. Subject to the provisions of this section, the Board may furnish such information to any person or organization upon payment by such person or organization to the Board of the cost incurred by the Board by reason thereof; and the amounts so paid to the Board shall be credited to the railroad unemployment insurance administration fund established pursuant to section 361(a) of this title;
The Board shall provide for the certification of claims for benefits and refunds and may arrange total or partial settlements at such times and in such manner as may appear to the Board to be expedient. The Board shall designate and authorize one or more of its employees to sign vouchers for the payment of benefits and refunds under this chapter. Each such employee shall give bond, in form and amount fixed by the Board, conditioned upon the faithful performance of his duties. The premiums due on such bonds shall be paid from the fund and deemed to be a part of the expenses of administering this chapter.
The Board may cooperate with or enter into agreement with the appropriate agencies charged with the administration of State, Territorial, Federal, or foreign unemployment-compensation or sickness laws or employment offices, with respect to investigations, the exchange of information and services, the establishment, maintenance, and use of free employment service facilities, and such other matters as the Board deems expedient in connection with the administration of this chapter, and may compensate any such agency for services or facilities supplied to the Board in connection with the administration of this chapter. The Board may enter also into agreements with any such agency, pursuant to which any unemployment or sickness benefits provided for by this chapter or any other unemployment-compensation or sickness law, may be paid through a single agency to persons who have, during the period on the basis of which eligibility for and duration of benefits is determined under the law administered by such agency or under this chapter, or both, performed services covered by one or more of such laws, or performed services which constitute employment as defined in this chapter: Provided, That the Board finds that any such agreement is fair and reasonable as to all affected interests.
In determining whether an employee has qualified for benefits in accordance with section 353 of this title, and in determining the amount of benefits to be paid to such employee in accordance with section 352(a) and (c) of this title, the Board is authorized to consider as employment (and compensation therefor) services for hire other than employment (and remuneration therefor) if such services for hire are subject to an unemployment or sickness compensation law of any State, provided that such State has agreed to reimburse the United States such portion of the benefits to be paid upon such basis to such employee as the Board deems equitable. Any amounts collected pursuant to this paragraph shall be credited to the account.
If a State, in determining whether an employee is eligible for unemployment or sickness benefits under an unemployment or sickness compensation law of such State, and in determining the amount of unemployment or sickness benefits to be paid to such employee pursuant to such unemployment or sickness compensation law, considers as services for hire (and remuneration therefor) included within the provisions of such unemployment or sickness compensation law, employment (and compensation therefor), the Board is authorized to reimburse such State such portion of such unemployment or sickness benefits as the Board deems equitable; such reimbursements shall be paid from the account, and are included within the meaning of the word “benefits” as used in this chapter.
The Board may enter into agreements or arrangements with employers, organizations of employers, and railway-labor organizations which are duly organized in accordance with the provisions of the Railway Labor Act [45 U.S.C. 151 et seq.], for securing the performance of services or the use of facilities in connection with the administration of this chapter, and may compensate any such employer or organization therefor upon such reasonable basis as the Board shall prescribe, but not to exceed the additional expense incurred by such employer or organization by reason of the performance of such services or making available the use of such facilities pursuant to such agreements or arrangements. Such employers and organizations, and persons employed by either of them, shall not be subject to section 209 of title 18.
The Board may establish, maintain, and operate free employment offices, and may designate as free employment offices facilities maintained by (i) a railway labor organization which is duly authorized and designated to represent employees in accordance with the Railway Labor Act [45 U.S.C. 151 et seq.], or (ii) any other labor organization which has been or may be organized in accordance with the provisions of the Railway Labor Act, or (iii) one or more employers, or (iv) an organization of employers, or (v) a group of such employers and labor organizations, or (vi) a State, Territorial, foreign, or the Federal Government. The Board may also enter into agreements or arrangements with one or more employers or railway labor organizations organized in accordance with the provisions of the Railway Labor Act, pursuant to which notice of the availability of work and the rights of employees with respect to such work under agreements between such employers and railway labor organizations may be filed with employment offices and pursuant to which employees registered with employment offices may be referred to such work.
The Board shall prescribe a procedure for registration of unemployed employees at employment offices. Such procedure for registration shall be prescribed with a view to such registration affording substantial evidence of the days of unemployment of the employees who register. The Board may, when such registration is made personally by an employee, accept such registration as initial proof of unemployment sufficient to certify for payment a claim for benefits.
The Board shall provide a form or forms for statements of sickness and a procedure for the execution and filing thereof. Such forms and procedure shall be designated with a view to having such statements provide substantial evidence of the days of sickness of the employee. Such statements may be executed by any doctor (authorized to practice in the State or foreign jurisdiction in which he practices his profession) or any officer or supervisory employee of a hospital, clinic, group health association, or other similar organization, who is qualified under such regulations as the Board may prescribe to execute such statements. The Board shall issue regulations for the qualification of such persons to execute such statements. When so executed by any such person, or, in the discretion of the Board, by others designated by the Board individually or by groups, they may be accepted as initial proof of days of sickness sufficient to certify for payment a claim for benefits.
The regulations of the Board concerning registration at employment offices by unemployed persons may provide for group registration and reporting, through employers, and need not be uniform with respect to different classes of employees.
The Board may appoint national or local advisory councils composed of equal numbers of representatives of employers, representatives of employees, and persons representing the general public, for the purpose of discussing problems in connection with the administration of this chapter and aiding the Board in formulating policies. The members of such councils shall serve without remuneration, but shall be reimbursed for any necessary traveling and subsistence expenses or on a per diem basis in lieu of subsistence expenses.
The Board, with the advice and aid of any advisory council appointed by it, shall take appropriate steps to reduce and prevent unemployment and loss of earnings; to encourage and assist in the adoption of practical methods of vocational training, retraining, and vocational guidance; to promote the reemployment of unemployed employees; and to these ends to carry on and publish the results of investigations and research studies.
In addition to the powers and duties expressly provided, the Board shall have and exercise all the powers and duties necessary to administer or incidental to administering this chapter, and in connection therewith shall have such of the powers, duties, and remedies provided in subdivisions (5), (6), and (9) of section 7(b) of the Railroad Retirement Act of 1974 [45 U.S.C. 231f(b)] with respect to the administration of the Railroad Retirement Act of 1974 [45 U.S.C. 231 et seq.], as are not inconsistent with the express provisions of this chapter. A person in the employ of the Board under section 205 of the Act of Congress approved June 24, 1937 (50 Stat. 307), shall acquire a competitive classified civil-service status if, after recommendation by the Board to the Director of the Office of Personnel Management, he shall pass such noncompetitive tests of fitness as the Director of the Office of Personnel Management may prescribe. A person in the employ of the Board on June 30, 1939, and on June 30, 1940, and who has had experience in railroad service, shall acquire a competitive classified civil-service status if, after recommendation by the Board to the Director of the Office of Personnel Management, he shall pass such noncompetitive tests of fitness for the position for which the Board recommends him as the Director of the Office of Personnel Management may prescribe.
The Board may employ such persons and provide for their remuneration and expenses, as may be necessary for the proper administration of this chapter. Such persons shall be employed and their remuneration prescribed in accordance with the civil-service laws and chapter 51 and subchapter III of chapter 53 of title 5: Provided, That all positions to which such persons are appointed, except one administrative assistant to each member of the Board, shall be in and under the competitive civil service and shall not be removed or excepted therefrom: Provided, That in the employment of such persons the Board shall give preference, as between applicants attaining the same grades, to persons who have had experience in railroad service, and notwithstanding any other provisions of law, rules, or regulations, no other preference shall be given or recognized: And provided further, That certification by the Director of the Office of Personnel Management of persons for appointment to any positions at minimum salaries of $4,600 per annum, or less, shall, if the Board so requests, be upon the basis of competitive examinations, written, oral, or both, as the Board may request: And provided further, That, for the purpose of registering unemployed employees who reside in areas in which no employer facilities are located, or in which no employer will make facilities available for the registration of such employees, the Board may, without regard to civil-service laws and chapter 51 and subchapter III of chapter 53 of title 5, appoint persons to accept, in such areas, registration of such employees and perform services incidental thereto and may compensate such persons on a piece-rate basis to be determined by the Board. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Board may detail employees from stations outside the District of Columbia to other stations outside the District of Columbia or to service in the District of Columbia, and may detail employees in the District of Columbia to service outside the District of Columbia: Provided, That all details hereunder shall be made by specific order and in no case for a period of time exceeding one hundred and twenty days. Details so made may, on expiration, be renewed from time to time by order of the Board, in each particular case, for periods not exceeding one hundred and twenty days.
Any employee claiming, entitled to, or receiving sickness benefits under this chapter may be required to take such examination, physical, medical, mental, or otherwise, in such manner and at such times and by such qualified individuals, including medical officers or employees of the United States or a State, as the Board may prescribe. The place or places of examination shall be reasonably convenient for the employee. No sickness benefits shall be payable under this chapter with respect to any period during which the employee unreasonably refuses to take or willfully obstructs an examination as prescribed by the Board.
Any doctor who renders any attendance, treatment, attention, or care, or performs any examination with respect to a sickness of an employee, upon which a claim or right to benefits under this chapter is based, shall furnish the Board, in such manner and form and at such times as the Board by regulations may prescribe, information and reports relative thereto and to the condition of the employee. An application for sickness benefits under this chapter shall contain a waiver of any doctor-patient privilege that the employee may have with respect to any sickness period upon which such application is based: Provided, That such information shall not be disclosed by the Board except in a proceeding relating to any claim for benefits by the employee under this chapter.
The Board may enter into agreements or arrangements with doctors, hospitals, clinics, or other persons for securing the examination, physical, medical, mental, or otherwise, of employees claiming, entitled to, or receiving sickness benefits under this chapter and the performance of services or the use of facilities in connection with the execution of statements of sickness. The Board may compensate any such doctors, hospitals, clinics, or other persons upon such reasonable basis as the Board shall prescribe. Such doctors, hospitals, clinics, or other persons and persons employed by any of them shall not be subject to section 209 of title 18. In the event that the Board pays for the physical or mental examination of an employee or for the execution of a statement of sickness and such employee’s claim for benefits is based upon such examination or statement, the Board shall deduct from any sickness benefits payable to the employee pursuant to such claim such amount as, in the judgment of the Board, is a fair and reasonable charge for such examination or execution of such statement.
Benefits payable to an employee with respect to days of sickness shall be payable regardless of the liability of any person to pay damages for such infirmity. The Board shall be entitled to reimbursement from any sum or damages paid or payable to such employee or other person through suit, compromise, settlement, judgment, or otherwise on account of any liability (other than a liability under a health, sickness, accident, or similar insurance policy) based upon such infirmity, to the extent that it will have paid or will pay benefits for days of sickness resulting from such infirmity. Upon notice to the person against whom such right or claim exists or is asserted, the Board shall have a lien upon such right or claim, any judgment obtained thereunder, and any sum or damages paid under such right or claim, to the extent of the amount to which the Board is entitled by way of reimbursement.
The Board may, after hearing, disqualify any person from executing statements of sickness who, the Board finds, (i) will have solicited, or will have employed another to solicit, for himself or for another the execution of any such statement, or (ii) will have made false or misleading statements to the Board, to any employer, or to any employee, in connection with the awarding of any benefits under this chapter, or (iii) will have failed to submit medical reports and records required by the Board under this chapter, or will have failed to submit any other reports, records, or information required by the Board in connection with the administration of this chapter or any other Act heretofore or hereafter administered by the Board, or (iv) will have engaged in any malpractice or other professional misconduct. No fees or charges of any kind shall accrue to any such person from the Board after his disqualification.
The Board shall engage in and conduct research projects, investigations, and studies with respect to the cause, care, and prevention of, and benefits for, accidents and disabilities and other subjects deemed by the Board to be related thereto, and shall recommend legislation deemed advisable in the light of such research projects, investigations, and studies.
On or before June 1, 1989, and on or before June 1 of each year thereafter, the Board shall compute in accordance with section 352(a)(3) of this title the maximum daily benefit rate which shall be applicable with respect to days of unemployment and days of sickness in registration periods beginning after June 30 of that year.