Thanksgiving is a rare mid-week holiday, a chance to celebrate what’s effectively a four day weekend. But it’s nothing special for some government employees. For them, every day is a paid holiday.
For example, the Inspector General of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that the agency has shelled out more than $1 million paying eight employees not to work in recent years.
“The amount of administrative leave recorded by these eight employees totaled 20,926 hours and cost the government an estimated $1,096,868. Each of these employees was on extended administrative leave for 4 or more months. For four of the eight employees, the administrative leave covered more than a year,” the IG reports.
The report adds it could uncover more EPA absences. “Our audit work on EPA time and attendance is in process and could result in additional matters reported to the agency regarding the EPA’s use of administrative leave.”
EPA’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Last month The Washington Post reported: “During a three-year period that ended last fall, more than 57,000 employees were sent home for a month or longer. The tab for these workers exceeded $775 million in salary alone.”
The Government Accountability Office reports that several hundred federal employees have been on paid leave for a year or more. And even that is probably an underestimate, since the leave figures the GAO examined were incomplete.