Proposed Bill Aimed to Reduce DHS Overtime Misuse
A bill to change the Department of Homeland Security’s overtime-pay policies is slated to be introduced in the next few weeks by Sen. John Tester (D-Mont.) and Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah).
According to a Washington Post article, the legislation is being called a long-term solution for providing DHS border agents with fair compensation while cutting down on abuses, which whistleblowers say have cost the government more than $8.7 million a year. A report issued last week by the federal Office of Special Counsel found that some DHS employees were using “Administratively Uncontrollable Overtime” to pad their paychecks.
That form of overtime is intended to pay for unanticipated, urgent work, such as capturing criminals or curtailing illegal crossings.
Under the bipartisan proposal, that pay would be replaced by three options: working 100 hours per pay period and receiving a 25-percent differential; working 90 hours and receiving a 12-percent differential; or working no overtime at all. The biggest change, the article says, would be that unscheduled overtime worked beyond 100 hours would be treated as compensatory time off, and scheduled overtime would be paid.
Agents will face an approximate $7,000 pay reduction per agent if implemented. The annual cost saving to the taxpayer would exceed $125 million per year. In recognition of the pay cut, agents would receive an additional 40 hours of leave in 2014 and 2015.