Use of 'official time' on the rise
- By Sherkiya Wedgeworth
- May 17, 2018
More federal employees are using official time to conduct union activities, according the latest report by the Office of Personnel Management.
The amount of paid time used by union officials for representational duties increased by 4.12 percent from fiscal 2014 to 2016.
Official time is paid time spent by federal employees performing representational work for a bargaining unit in lieu of their regularly assigned work and is treated as work time.
According to the report, in fiscal 2016, union employees used 3,611,112 hours of official time, up from 3,468,170 hours in 2014.
The number of official time hours used per bargaining unit employee across the federal government increased from 2.88 hours in fiscal 2014 to 2.95 hours in fiscal 2016.
“We estimate that the total taxpayer funded costs for official time hours used by bargaining unit employees increased over a two year period by 7.55 percent; from approximately $162.5 million in fiscal year 2014 to approximately $174.8 million in fiscal year 2016,” an OPM press release states.
OPM Director Jeff Pon said the statement: “The data shows that taxpayer funded union time is at a steady increase. This administration is passionate about protecting hardworking Americans and the use of their tax dollars. OPM will continue exploring opportunities to identify useful practices for monitoring and reporting on the use of official time and sharing these practices with agencies across the government to assist agencies in strengthening internal controls and increasing transparency, accountability, and accuracy.”
View the full report here.