The IG’s office at the EPA has issued a “management alert” on waivers of the limits on employees’ biweekly pay, following initial results of an investigation that started with a tip to its hotline.

The biweekly basic pay cap may be waived for GS employees who are paid premium pay while conducting work designated as emergency or mission-critical, the report said, adding that the EPA has delegated the authority to declare emergencies to various management officials in the regions and at headquarters.

In looking at one of the agency’s regions, the IG found instances where waivers “lacked adequate information to determine whether there was an emergency with a threat to life and property, or whether that the work was critical to the mission of the agency. This occurred because the region did not have an internal policy or process in place to address review by the regional HRO, the need for sufficient justification, or the retention of supporting documents.”

It also found “inconsistencies and a lack of accountability” in the processing of waivers and a lack of a “clear line of responsibility to maintain documentation for waiver requests or to track waiver requests and approvals” between the region and higher-level offices.

The IG said that in light of those findings, it will expand its review to other regions; because the work is ongoing, it made no recommendations.