Attorney Debra D’Agostino was recently featured on a WSB-TV 2 segment profiling an investigations into paid administrative leave for government employees. According to the investigation, there is ample documentation of government workers receiving paid leave for a considerable amount of time – in some cases months and even years.
As the investigation discovered, for example, documents from the Department of Homeland Security revealed 87 workers who were on paid leave for over one year. The investigation also revealed the case of a border patrol agent paid in excess of $340,000 for 6,000 of administrative leave. Another ICE employee in a supervisory position received close to $400,000 for his leave of absence.
Attorney D’Agostino, who has extensive federal employment law experience representing government workers on paid leave, shared her insight on the issue with Channel 2, stating that paid leave is far from an easy paid vacation. According to D’Agostino, many of these employees are stuck in limbo, wanting to work and wondering if they’ll have a job at the end. It becomes easier for the government to pay them to do nothing at times, which experts say is a problem that rests with government beaurcracy.
Officials, when questioned, say they are following legal guidelines for administrative leave. However, policies have been changed recently to improve oversight of cases where administrative leave lasts for months. In response, some lawmakers are considering bills to require government agencies to make quicker decisions in regard to paid leave – as legislation will be required to correct it.