Amtrak employees claimed to work 40-hour days

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An audit released by Amtrak’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) may have accidentally outed employees as time travellers – or revealed evidence of widespread and shocking overtime abuse – you decide.

The investigation uncovered numerous instances in which employees claimed the impossible feat of working more than 40 hours in a single day and thousands more recorded a workday of between 20 and 24 hours.

“[Calendar Year] CY 2014 timesheet data revealed trends and patterns that indicate potential fraud, waste, and abuse in the reporting of overtime and regular time,” the audit said.

“Some of these trends and patterns may be justified because of the complexity of union agreement rules, the nature of jobs, and the functions employees perform,” it continued. “However, our prior investigative work has shown instances in which employees have fraudulently reported hours not worked.”

Last year, Amtrak paid out nearly $200 million in overtime, just some of the blatant abuses uncovered by the OIG include:
  • A serving attendant recorded 47.95 hours in one day – 31.01 of which were recorded as overtime.
  • Ten employees reported working at least 40 hours in a day.
  • Employees reported a total of 1,357 days in which they worked more than 24 hours.
  • 1,891 timesheets recorded a range of 22 to 24 hours in a single day.
  • 7,145 timesheets listed between 20 and 22 hours worked in one day
The OIG indicated that the most extensive examples of payroll abuse were present in the reporting of overtime, which Amtrak pays at 1.5 or 2 times the hourly rate.
  • One train attendant claimed 110.56 hours of overtime in a single week – but no regular hours.
  • A locomotive technician claimed to have worked 130 hours in a single week, with 90 hours of overtime on top of 40 hours of regular time. There are 168 hours in a week.
  • Eighty-one percent of total hours worked by Amtrak employees in 2014 included at least some overtime hours.
“Some employees repeatedly reported working overtime but no regular hours, including five employees who reported at least five weeks with overtime but no regular hours,” the OIG said.

Another concern also came from Amtrak employees’ apparent distaste for days off – there were 280 examples of employees who claimed to have worked at least 31 consecutive days in a row. One, assumedly brazen, coach cleaner claimed to work 108 consecutive days.

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