House passes bill limiting paid leave for feds under investigation
© Haiyun Jiang

The House easily approved legislation on Tuesday to limit the amount of time federal employees under investigation for misconduct can be on paid administrative leave.

Under the measure, passed by voice vote, federal agencies would be limited to placing employees on paid leave for up to 14 days in a year, after finding wrongdoing.

After 14 days, the agency would have to bring the employee back on duty, as long as doing so doesn’t threaten safety or the governing mission. 

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In the event an employee does present a threat, the agency could place the worker on extended leave of up to 30 days at a time. But no extensions would be permitted after 30 days since the completion of an investigation.

House Oversight Chairman Jason ChaffetzJason ChaffetzDem demands documents from TSA after scathing security report Chaffetz replacement sworn in as House member Democrats expand House map after election victories MORE (R-Utah), the bill’s author, said the lack of a standard across the federal government for paid administrative leave has resulted in abuse of the practice. He cited the example of former IRS official Lois Lerner, who went on administrative leave for four months before retiring in the aftermath of the controversy over scrutinizing conservative nonprofits.

“There are going to be extraordinary circumstances, but this is happening far too often,” Chaffetz said. “We cannot use tax dollars to pay misbehaving or poor performing employees.”

The House also passed a bill by voice vote on Tuesday that would require the personnel files of federal employees who quit while under investigation to note any findings of misconduct.