SEA Endorses New Administrative Leave Legislation

Common-sense legislation to reduce the waste of taxpayer resources and valuable employee time.

Washington, D.C. – Today, Senators Tester, Grassley, Johnson, and Carper introduced the Administrative Leave Act of 2016. The bill would for the first time codify administrative leave, limiting its broad use and potential for abuse. It directs agencies to improve their record keeping on authorized leave, as well as directing the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to issue regulations and to conduct a study on agency leave practices.

Notably, the legislation requires agencies to keep employees in their regular duty status in the office or via telework, or to temporarily reassign them so they can continue to contribute to the mission of the agency, rather than keeping employees on extended paid leave in an unproductive capacity, unless a determination is made that the employee should not be working. The legislation also elevates decision-making authority in agencies for administrative leave to ensure judicious use of taxpayer resources.

In response to this new legislation, SEA Interim President Tim Dirks issued the following statement:

“The misuse of extended administrative leave has long had many detrimental impacts on the efficiency and effectiveness of government operations. Unfortunately, the response from our elected representatives oftentimes comes in haste and neglects to tackle real problems with realistic solutions. Luckily for taxpayers, federal agencies and federal employees, this is not the case with the Senate’s bipartisan Administrative Leave Act of 2016.

Senators Tester and Grassley, and their diligent staff, have taken the time to understand this issue, informed by a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report and a staff report. Moreover, during the course of over a year, they have actively engaged SEA and other stakeholders from all sides in the crafting of this targeted, fair, and thoughtful legislation. With meticulous determination, the Senators and their co-sponsors have produced a solution to the problem of administrative leave misuse in the Executive Branch.

This is what genuine, impactful legislating looks like, and SEA is proud to endorse this bill.

We are pleased to stand with the Senators and look forward to building support in the Congress. When it comes to good government reform, SEA’s door is always open. We are also eager to engage lawmakers on more meaningful improvements to advance the mission of the federal workforce for both employees and the American people they serve.”

The Senior Executives Association (SEA) is a professional association representing Senior Executive Service members and other career federal executives. Founded in 1980, SEA’s goals are: to improve the efficiency, effectiveness and productivity of the federal government; to advance the professionalism and advocate the interests of career federal executives; and to enhance public recognition of their contributions. The SEA Professional Development League (PDL) is a nonprofit educational organization committed to advancing the professionalism of career federal executives through the sponsorship of training, recognition, and research activities.