Paid administrative leave is going under the microscope.

After the Government Accountability Office discovered that federal agencies spent more than $3 billion on pay for administrative leave from FY 2011 through FY 2013, the Office of Personnel Management is developing a plan to keep a more watchful eye on paid leave.

OPM Executive Director Katherine Archuleta, who was recently scrutinized by Congress during testimony over federal worker data breaches, issued a memo in late May asking federal agencies to cooperate with this initiative.

The GAO recommended that OPM “take actions to ensure that agencies report comparable and reliable data on administrative leave,” according to Archuleta’s memorandum to agency executives governmentwide.

Federal agencies have shelled out a lot of money for administrative leave, which managers occasionally use to investigate misconduct accusations.

Sometime during FY 2011 and FY 2013, 263 employees were paid one year’s salary to not work, according to a report published by FierceGovernment. In addition, “57,000 feds received paid administrative leave for at least a month,” FierceGovernment reported.

In the memo, OPM also referenced a fact sheet that dictates the terms in which paid administrative leave should be doled out — perhaps a not-so-subtle notice to managers to remind them when paid leave is legitimate.

“Each agency has the authority and discretion to excuse employees from duty without loss of pay or charge to leave in appropriate circumstances,” according to the fact sheet.

The fact sheet notes several situations when the decision to place a federal worker on administration leave is valid.

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