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U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Inspector General
At a Glance
September 27, 2016
Why We Did This Audit
The U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency Office of
Inspector General received a
hotline complaint about the
earning and accumulation of
Religious Compensatory Time
hours. Based on the hotline
complaint, we initiated an audit
on the sufficiency of the EPA's
policies and procedures
governing Religious
Compensatory Time. The
hotline complaint involved a
retired Office of Chemical
Safety and Pollution Prevention
(OCSPP) employee.
Federal law allows employees
the opportunity to adjust their
work schedules to earn time off
for religious purposes. This
compensatory time can be
earned in advance or be repaid
after the religious observance.
This report addresses the
following EPA goal or
cross-agency strategy:
 Embracing EPA as a high-
performing organization.
Send all inquiries to our public
affairs office at (202) 566-2391
or visit www.epa.gov/oia.
Listing of OIG reports.
Enhanced Controls Needed to Prevent
Further Abuse of Religious Compensatory Time
What We Found
Based on our analysis, time and attendance records
support that the retired OCSPP employee earned the
accumulated Religious Compensatory Time hours.
However, we identified concerns with the EPA's
internal controls that allowed the excessive
accumulation of Religious Compensatory hours by
agency employees, and the OCSPP employee
received a payout of $32,469 for unused Religious
Compensatory Time upon retirement.
Inadequate controls
for Religious
Compensatory Time
resulted in payouts
to employees of
$73,514, and may
result in additional
payouts of up to
EPA policy and procedures on accumulation and use of Religious Compensatory
Time meet the requirements of federal laws and regulations, but are not specific
enough to prevent abuse. The agency's controls do not enforce the requirement
for employees to link the earning of Religious Compensatory Time to specific
religious observances. The EPA lacks detailed controls covering the
accumulation, use and monitoring of Religious Compensatory Time, resulting in
practices being noncompliant with the intent of federal law and regulations, and
not being consistent with U.S. Office of Personnel Management best practices.
Inadequate controls allowed several agency employees to maintain significant
positive Religious Compensatory Time balances for extended periods of time
without intended use plans. Also, significant negative balances were retained
without a plan to repay the hours. The agency has not provided staff with training
or established adequate guidance to effectively manage and monitor Religious
Compensatory Time. As a result, in addition to the OCSPP employee, the EPA
paid 13 other employees $41,045 for unused Religious Compensatory Time upon
separation. Further, if no action is taken to reduce additional employees' high
balances, future payments totaling up to $81,927 could be made.
Recommendations and Planned Agency Corrective Actions
We recommend that the Assistant Administrator for Administration and
Resources Management enhance internal controls over Religious Compensatory
Time by revising its policies and procedures, requiring documentation of intended
use plans, prohibiting the earning of additional religious compensatory hours in
excess of the maximum established balance, and developing training on proper
use of Religious Compensatory Time. Further we recommend that the Chief
Financial Officer modify the EPA's payroll and time and attendance system to
prevent employees from accumulating excessive Religious Compensatory Time.
The Office of Administration and Resources Management concurred, and
provided estimated completion dates for Recommendations 1 through 3; those
recommendations are open with corrective actions in process. The Office of the
Chief Financial Officer concurred with Recommendation 4. However, the
proposed corrective actions do not fully meet the intent of Recommendation 4;
therefore, the recommendation is unresolved.