A group of lawmakers recently introduced a plan that would completely change the pay structure for U.S. Border Patrol agents. Specifically, their plan calls for standardizing the compensation program for Border Patrol agents, a move they say would save America’s taxpayers billions of dollars.
The proposed bill, which was conceived by Senators John McCain (R-Arizona) and Jon Tester (D-Montana), would provide Border Patrol agents with three different options regarding their pay schedule and would eliminate overtime payments, which the Office of Special Counsel recently discovered was being abused by employees who were claiming overtime they never worked.
A Controlled Pay Structure
In this new plan, Border Patrol Agents would be able to choose to work 80, 90, or 100 hours during every two-week period, with any time over 80 hours considered overtime and would compensate them as such. Any hours over the agreed-upon hours would reward the agents through paid time-off.
In essence, the proposed bill would completely eliminate Administratively Uncontrollable Overtime (AUO), which allowed agents to report overtime compensation, even when the hours were not planned.
An Endorsement by the National Border Patrol Council
The National Border Patrol Council (NBPC), which serves as the border agent’s union, backs AUO, stating that the act of patrolling the border is an “unpredictable duty” that requires agents to often exceed a standard, eight-hour shift. However, the NBPC also recognizes that the current pay structure opens the door for fraudulent overtime and has thus endorsed the new proposal.
Senator Tester calls the new bill “a common-sense pay schedule that provides stability for agents and their families…” He went on to say that the new pay schedule would ensure that America’s borders remain secure while saving American taxpayer dollars at the same time.
Both Tester and McCain estimate that, if passed, the bill would save taxpayers $1 billion over the next ten years.