What happens if you misbehave at work? Are you given a paid vacation?
No? Oh, you poor thing. You don’t work for the federal government.
The General Accounting Office — the extremely busy outfit tasked to investigate all the myriad rip-offs perpetrated against taxpayers — has issued a new report. Seems federal workers accused of and often punished for bad behavior at work — from charging personal items on government credit cards to downloading porn — are regularly kept on paid leave for months and even years, while charges against them are investigated.
We’re talking somewhere upwards of 57,000 employees, costing $775 million over a three-year period for not showing up, for not working.
That’s only counting straight salary. These non-working workers also accrue sick leave and vacation time, as well as pad their pensions and move up the pay ladder.
Government rules already say that paid leave is only for “rare circumstances.”
The new meaning of “rare” appears to be “common.”
As The Washington Post explains, “Federal employees are generally entitled to more due process than their counterparts at private companies, which explains why the leave is paid.”
But it doesn’t explain why federal workers should be so “entitled.” We’re all equal, but some are more equal than others?
Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) is working with Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) on a bill to narrowly define the rules on paid leave, limiting it to no more than a few days.
Don’t hold your breath, though. In our nation’s capital, reform has been on unpaid leave for quite some time.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.