Is carrying a 99-year-old employee on workers’ comp a good idea? How about almost 1,000 workers over age 80? Are these workers disabled and unable to work, or are they just too old to work? Ask the U.S. Postal Service.
Reporter Sean Reilly writes in the Federal Times that the income-deficient USPS is currently carrying this high number of very senior citizens on its long-term disabled rolls. Also, the U.S. Inspector General estimates these benefits cost 35 percent more than comparable benefits in the private sector.
The obvious issue is whether these employees will ever be ready to go back to work. Another issue is when was the last time anyone at the federal workers’ compensation program, run by the U.S. Department of Labor, actually checked on the status of these particular workers? It’s no surprise that USPS is the federal program’s largest participant.
According to the article, a DOL official told a House subcommittee that federal workers’ comp benefits are tax-free and often exceed what the employees would have taken home if they were actually working—which would probably place them among top earners in their age group!
Do you have a strange workplace story? Share your experience and it could be featured in a future column!