These government employees are getting paid overtime to nap

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(This post originally appeared on The Washington Post)

Minimum wages are going up, pressure to provide more paid time off is increasing, compensation costs are rising and now small business owners are waiting expectantly to hear from federal courts over whether the government’s new overtime rules will take effect and when.

And yet, there are some organizations that seem immune to all these concerns. Take New York City’s Port Authority. According to this report from the New York Post, workers at the transportation agency are getting paid overtime…even when they’re napping.

The Post’s investigation revealed four employees curled up with blankets and pillows–all while on the job. One worker reportedly likes to bring his own mattress pad, pillows and blanket to ensure a more comfortable sleepy-time. “You walk into the locker room at two to three in the morning, it’s not uncommon to see eight or 10 guys asleep,” a source said in the report.

Where is management? Don’t ask. A number of the organization’s supervisors allegedly turn a blind eye to long lunch breaks, TV sessions and cellphone gaming while on the clock.

“They’ll give you a window of normally four hours of overtime to complete a work order,” one employee told the Post. “If you get it done in 15 minutes or an hour, the overtime should end. But that never happens. Everybody will say it lasted four or five hours. Management just lets it happen.”  Can you imagine this happening at your business?

In a follow-up article, the Post reported that the system’s commuters are understandably furious. “Me, I would be fired for doing that,” said one train rider. The Port Authority paid out more than $221 million in overtime last year alone, or 17 percent of its total labor expenses. Meanwhile, toll hikes in the area continue to rise.

A spokesman for the agency told the Post the matter was under investigation.

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