A Senate committee report says that new restrictions on awards to federal employees are needed because “some federal managers awarded bonuses to employees who engaged in serious misconduct. A performance award or bonus should be reserved for employees who excel at their work for the American people.”
The report on S-2119, now ready for a full Senate vote, notes that some agencies currently have internal policies related to bonuses for employees involved in serious misconduct but says that a government-wide policy is needed in light of revelations of bonuses paid at agencies including the IRS and the VA to employees who had engaged in misconduct.
Under the bill, an employee would be ineligible for an award for five years following a determination by the agency that the employee either violated agency policy for which the employee could be fired or suspended for 14 or more days, or has broken the law and could be imprisoned for more than one year. Any employee who received an award in the same year as such a finding would need to repay it to the agency.
Meanwhile, legislation (S-2618) has been reintroduced in the Senate to expand the authority of agency IGs to direct bonuses of up to $10,000 to be paid to federal employees who identify waste, fraud or mismanagement of funds to include those who identify surplus or unneeded funds.
Under the bill, 90 percent of the savings from such disclosures would be directed toward deficit reduction with agencies able to apply any remainder toward other authorized programs.