Paid Time Off, Federal Government Style
One of the reasons working Americans enjoy the holiday season is the paid time off, which gives them a break from their daily grinds. Although private sector companies are not required to provide paid time off for holidays or vacations, they do so, but the paid time off private sector workers receive pales in comparison to the paid time off the government provides for federal employees.
The average number of days off with pay private sector workers receive is 7.6 days annually. Federal government employees laugh at 7.6 days because, unbeknownst to their employers; American taxpayers, the federal government has made it a habit of paying people not to work.
According to a report released by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) that provides details on an investigation of the paid administrative leave policies for five departments — Department of Defense, Veterans Affairs, U.S. Agency for International Development, Interior Department, and General Services Administration — the GAO discovered that fiscal years 2011 through 2013 taxpayers spent $3.1 billion to pay fed gov employees not to work.
Maybe there were legitimate reasons for the departments to approve an abundance of paid administrative leave? Is it possible an inordinate amount of fed gov employees were afflicted with serious illnesses that required them to take time off work to receive treatment and the bureaucrats in charge granted paid leave? Maybe a disproportionate number of bureaucrats had sick family members who required full-time caregivers, so the bureaucrats had to take time off, and in the stereotypical federal fashion, they received paid administrative leave? You will never guess the reasons for your government granting paid administrative leave.
The main reason taxpayers are forced to fund bureaucrats on administrative leave is “personnel matters.” The personnel files the GAO reviewed revealed that the five departments allocated large amounts of paid administrative leave to personnel under investigation for alleged misconduct or criminal actions. That’s right, if you are a public employee accused of misconduct or a criminal act, you can expect to be placed on paid administrative leave for an unspecified, lengthy amount of time. The second most common reason for paid leave is “physical fitness-related activities” that evidently requires an exorbitant amount of time off. Who knew the federal bureaucracy was paying people to exercise?
The GAO’s investigation reveals a lack of seriousness by bureaucrats when it comes to stewardship of federal tax dollars. The GAO discovered that the five departments it reviewed had granted 57,336 taxpayer-funded employees paid administrative leave for 1 to 36 months; extraordinary. This holiday season taxpayers will be funding the ongoing leisure time of personnel who are under investigation for misconduct and nefarious activities, and the wellness programs for tens of thousands of public employees. Enjoy your couple of days off for Thanksgiving and Christmas, then get back to work because there are bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. counting on you to fund their extended, and sometimes permanent, paid vacations.