Debra D' Agostino, a federal employment lawyer at The Federal Practice Group was quoted in The Washington Post on December 30, 2012 in an article titled, "Civil servants put on paid administrative leave can get stuck in an ill-defined limbo."
The article explained how there is an unspecified number of government employees who are put on administrative leave or otherwise paid time off for sometimes months, if not years, and many of them are collecting six figure incomes while doing literally nothing to advance the federal government, and apparently this is how the government has been handling employment issues for decades.
"Resolving these cases gets put to the bottom of the to-do-list," said D'Agostino, the employment lawyer. "Meanwhile, the employee is still accruing time. At agencies that are downsizing, it makes it hard to function."
According to The Washington Post article, there are no concrete limits for how long the impasse can persist. In 1990, there was a case where a U.S. Forest Service employee was put on paid leave for 22 weeks, in his case the comptroller general ruled that they are unaware of any legal basis where an employee can be placed on extended administrative leave with pay. However, it happens all the time, and in a system where people are rarely fired, no one can say just how many people are on paid administrative leave, and it's one number that the government doesn't appear to track.
"It's the federal government's dirty little secret, how much they do it," said Debra D'Agostino, founding partner of the Federal Practice Group, an employment law firm.
Debra D' Agostino is a founding partner at The Federal Practice Group. She was honored to be asked to offer her legal opinion for The Washington Post. She is also a contributing author in numerous publications and articles including: Federal Employees Legal Survival Guide, How to Protect & Enforce Your Job Rights, 2nd Edition. If you need aggressive legal representation in a federal employment matter, don't hesitate to contact The Federal Practice Group for superior legal assistance.