WASHINGTON — Everyone looks forward to payday. But for about 40,000 federal employees, Friday’s regular payroll deposits never materialized.
A mistake by the payroll center that serves 23 federal agencies meant that paychecks were not deposited into bank accounts Friday as they usually are.
Officials at the Interior Business Center (IBC), a part of the Interior Department, apologized in a statement and assured employees their paychecks would appear in their accounts Tuesday.
“IBC knows that this is a serious matter for those affected and sincerely regrets any inconveniences the error may have caused,” said Michael Fernandez, IBC spokesman said in the statement.
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To put the glitch in perspective, the federal government had 2.7 million civilian employees in 2011, according to the Office of Personnel Management.
The biggest problems for the employees are likely to be bounced checks or other overdrafts from automatic withdrawals. The payroll center’s statement acknowledged those issues but said federal rules limit what officials can do to help out.
The processing center said the federal government cannot compensate employees for overdraft fees, based on past comptroller general decisions. But the agency promised to make requests on behalf of employees that their banks waive any penalties resulting from the mistake.
The center said it was asking more than 1,800 banks to address the situation. Some banks have recognized the electronic payments as being made on Friday rather than Tuesday, the agency said.
Material from The Washington Post is included in this report.