The EPA does not fully account for the value of time-off awards and “therefore cannot determine whether its time-off awards are consistently assessed, approved at the appropriate level when combined with monetary awards, and commensurate with employee achievements,” says an IG report.
The report said that the EPA has improved its monitoring of monetary awards to its employees since a 2015 audit found issues including splitting of awards that kept them below the threshold for higher level review of $5,000 per fiscal year.
However, it said that by not determining the equivalent cash value of time off, it may be missing situations in which the total value to the employee exceeds that threshold. In a sample of awards to 23 employees, 13 received both monetary and time off components.
Over 2015-2017, the EPA awarded more than 350,000 hours—equal to about 170 work years—in time off awards but those awards “are not managed or monitored in regard to agency productivity or workload management,” it added.
The report said the agency agreed with a recommendation to establish internal control procedures to monitor time-off awards but has not produced a plan for doing so, leaving the recommendation still open.