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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  • Joanne on 2015-06-23 11:34:44 AM

    I sincerely hope Amtrak is going to go back to those employee and have them pay back all of the fraudulent hours claimed and terminate them for theft. It is ridiculous that no supervisor was aware of this deceit. Now we know why train fares are so expensive. Wow what a way to run a business.

  • Tech on 2015-06-23 10:39:58 PM

    The Amtrak IG office jumped the gun on this flawed report. They are clueless as to how the union agreements work where payroll is concerned.

  • Rayroad on 2015-06-23 10:40:04 PM

    i worked for Amtrak for nearly thirty years as a manager. There may occasional cases of waged theft but the examples cited here can most likely attributed to understaffing and penalty payments required by union contracts when management fails to comply with the union agreement. Let's take the and live in easy one first. Working thirty one days is not unusual in the railroad industry. Some of these people may work in one area of the country and live in another. They work six day trips and are entitled to six days rest. Let's say the individual arrives in Chicago but lives in New York and the company needs someone to go back to LA this person will go and make extra money and then go again when they get back for regular rate that alone is 18 days in a row. All the report shows in my opinion is just how little Amtrak's Inspector General knows about the business they are supposed to help regulate. In all my years at Amtrak the crooks and there were plenty were never ever caught by the Amtrak Police or the IG. They were caught by other employees who reported the crime for whatever reason.

  • George Washington on 2015-06-24 12:30:35 AM

    All I see here are "claims." Nowhere do I see they were actually paid out.

    Is it possible employees mistook days for hours? Or vice-versa?

  • Pamela Schubert on 2015-06-24 1:05:15 AM

    You have to take into account that OBS employees don't work the same schedule as most of us. And if something happens on the train that is beyond anyone's control (accidents, Mother Nature, etc) that employee has to stay on dut. So yeah, I can see the massive overtime for an OBS employee, but only if there is a train delay to back it up

  • Suzanne on 2015-06-24 1:33:04 AM

    Actually some of those could be accurate, as there are times when I did in fact work at 26 hour day, because I went through two time zones in that 24 hour day and did not get any sleep because of late trains and passengers demands.

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