Q&A Session


Ask the Lawyer received the following question (paraphrased for easier reading and clarity) from a reader on a legal matter that might be of interest to the entire audience.

 Q:        If the government compensates an employee, who earns Law Enforcement Availability Pay (L.E.A.P.), overtime wages which the government now claims the employee is not entitled to, may the government recoup the unauthorized payments by withholding funds form a federal employee’s paycheck?

A:        Any federal law enforcement officer who receives availability pay (L.E.A.P.), generally may not receive any additional payment for unscheduled duty hours, or overtime.  As such, any payment received for the unscheduled duty hours, or overtime, worked is unauthorized.  Because that payment was improperly made, an employee is not entitled to the money, and has no property interest in money that he/she is not entitled to.   Conversely, the government has the authority to recoup that overpayment, and is not prevented from doing so by clerical mistakes that caused the improper payment.  Furthermore, the government may recoup the money in intervals by deductions from the employee’s paycheck.  However, the amount deducted may not exceed 15% of his/her disposable pay without the employee’s written consent. 

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About Author

Debra Roth

Debra L. Roth is a partner at the law firm Shaw Bransford & Roth, a federal employment law firm in Washington, D.C. She is general counsel to the Senior Executives Association and the Federal Managers Association, host of the “FEDtalk” program on Federal News Radio, and a regular contributor to Federal News Radio’s “Federal Drive” morning show. Email your legal questions to lawyer@federaltimes.com.

1 Comment

  1. During depostion the postal doctor for the western region, states that he does not known about the rehat act, does not know about the ADA, does not know about laws, does not know what a true fact is, this is his deposition! will you review the statements?

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