I was not surprised to learn that the federal government has a pattern of putting workers on paid administrative leave for months and even years, many of these workers have been accused of misconduct or whistleblowing. We, the taxpayers, are paying their salaries.
In 2014 the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reviewed the procedures of five departments:
- Department of Defense (DOD)
- Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
- Agency for International Development (USAID)
- Department of the Interior (DOI)
- General Services Administration (GSA)
Results of the review showed these departments paid a collective $3.1 BILLION to workers on paid administrative leave from 2011 to 2013. The report found in that time frame 57,000 employees were on paid leave for one month or longer at a cost of $775 MILLION.
Most workers are placed on administrative leave because of an ongoing investigation involving misconduct, employee disputes or grievances and whistleblowing.
These issues I'll admit are probably complicated and need to be handled with care and clarity. But it seems to me the department officials are dragging their feet in resolving those issues. Maybe the government can step up their efforts to resolve employee issues and get them off paid leave. They need to make a decision one way or another which will allow the employees to return to work or look for another job.