Senator Deb Fischer (R-NE) Tuesday reintroduced the Stop Improper Federal Bonuses Act. The bill would prohibit agencies from giving bonuses to federal employees who have conduct violations.
If passed, the legislation would also provide a mechanism to recover previously awarded bonuses when the agency learns of misconduct.
“We have to end the practice of federal agencies awarding bonuses to employees who have engaged in serious misconduct or criminal behavior,” said Fischer. “Under my bill, bonuses to federal workers will only be given on the basis of merit. This will help ensure we are using taxpayer dollars in a wise and responsible manner.”
According to Fischer, a 2018 Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration report revealed that between October 2015 and December 2016, the IRS issued more than $1.7 million in awards to 1,962 employees with disciplinary or adverse actions during the prior year.
Fischer says the Stop Improper Federal Bonuses Act will prevent agencies from giving a bonus to a federal employee for five years after the end of a fiscal year in which the agency makes an “adverse finding” relating to the employee. An “adverse finding” occurs when an employee violates a workplace policy for which they could be terminated or suspended for at least 14 days, or when an employee violates a law for which they could be imprisoned for more than a year.
In order to protect against employees irresponsible managers, Fischer says any employee may appeal an adverse finding to the Merits Systems Protection Board (MSPB).
The Stop Improper Bonuses Act was unanimously approved by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs in the 115th Congress.
The full text of the bill can be found here.