Two government workers in Spain were fired this week when it was discovered they may not have done any actual work in 15 years despite continuing to collect their paychecks, the Independent reports. The town of Jerez de la Frontera's HR department discovered the men hadn't been to work between January 2015 and the end of this past May. But a deeper investigation revealed the problem was actually much worse. The city says the men—one a gardener, the other a driver—admitted to not working for up to 15 years.
The workers' union claims the men were just taking their "accumulated days" off and the whole thing was totally legitimate, the Local reports. The union allows days off to be shared between employees and says the two men were using the days off accumulated by other workers, as well. One of the fired workers attempted to explain this in a letter to HR, but the city found it "insufficient to free him from work for the rest of the year, which was his intention.” “The municipal government only seeks to eliminate unjustified acquired habits that do considerable damage to the operation of the city council, its services, and, especially, its battered coffers,” Money quotes a statement from the city as saying. The union plans to fight the mens' firing. (Another Spanish man was discovered in February to have been skipping work for at least six years when his employer tried to give him an award.)