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Overtime rates and absenteeism at the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) have declined in the first two months of 2016 compared with the same period in the previous year, the agency announced Monday.The number of trips cancelled due to employee absences also fell year over year, MBTA officials said in a press release.The new data, which will be presented today to the agency's fiscal and management control board, show that overtime expenses fell 54 percent compared with expenses during the same period last year. Train and bus operator absenteeism also declined 29 percent for the period. Reductions in absences led to a 37 percent decrease in the number of dropped weekday rail trips, MBTA officials said.On Jan. 1, the MBTA instituted a new leave and attendance policy that requires employees to substitute or run concurrently accrued paid leave, personal and vacation leave with days under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act.In April last year, a panel report commissioned by Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker found that 15 percent of all MBTA employees took at least one day of paid leave during 2015's winter storm recovery efforts.
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