Senator: Fed workers miss millions of hours

Federal employees have missed almost 20 million hours of work since 2001, according to a new report from Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.)


Drawing on self-reported data from 18 agencies, Coburn found that employees missed 19.6 million hours when they should have been working. The numbers measure only the hours lost to employees absent without leave, not those taking approved paid time off for vacations and sick leave.


The investigation found the number of lost hours has been gradually increasing, from 2.5 million in 2001 to 3.5 million in 2007, according to Coburn's office. Coburn is the ranking minority member on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee's Federal Financial Management Subcommittee.


"It is inexcusable that federal agencies would sit by and let this problem get worse, while some agencies are completely unaware that there even is a problem," Coburn said in a written statement. "Before agencies come hat-in-hand to Congress asking for money to hire more employees, they should fully use the ones they already have by getting the AWOL problem under control. AWOL employees put a hidden tax on the American taxpayer by making the federal government more inefficient with the resources it has been given."


The State Department did not provide information for the study, saying it does not track AWOL hours, according to Coburn's office.


The report shows:


• The number of hours lost to AWOL employees increased 45 percent from 2001 to 2007.

• Since 2001, nearly 300,000 federal employees have been AWOL for some period of time. The government has lost at least 9,410 years of work from AWOL employees since 2001.

• The Veterans Affairs and Treasury departments accounted for 61 percent of the AWOL hours.

About the Author

Technology journalist Michael Hardy is a former FCW editor.

Featured

  • Contracting
    8 prototypes of the border walls as tweeted by CBP San Diego

    DHS contractors face protests – on the streets

    Tech companies are facing protests internally from workers and externally from activists about doing for government amid controversial policies like "zero tolerance" for illegal immigration.

  • Workforce
    By Mark Van Scyoc Royalty-free stock photo ID: 285175268

    At OPM, Weichert pushes direct hire, pay agent changes

    Margaret Weichert, now acting director of the Office of Personnel Management, is clearing agencies to make direct hires in IT, cyber and other tech fields and is changing pay for specialized occupations.

  • Cloud
    Shutterstock ID ID: 222190471 By wk1003mike

    IBM protests JEDI cloud deal

    As the deadline to submit bids on the Pentagon's $10 billion, 10-year warfighter cloud deal draws near, IBM announced a legal protest.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.