Use of 'official time' on the rise

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.

Reader comments

Mon, May 21, 2018 LA

Unions encourage unprofessional conduct, inefficiencies and protect unproductive employees.

Sat, May 19, 2018 Big Dave

bad leadership causes more strife and more OT used.

Fri, May 18, 2018 Reid Shimabukuro Navy Region Hawaii

If you take a step back and ask yourself “why” a union official is required to “be approved the use of official time” and truly understand what “performing representational work” is then you may realize that this isn’t “free time off”! When the Union speaks for the entire Bargaining Unit and is the exclusive representative recognized and certified by the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) it should make sense that those duties require “official time”. Last, the normal process is management takes action and the Union has an opportunity to respond. Some of us believe in due process.

Fri, May 18, 2018

Union encourages and upholds unproductive workers.

Fri, May 18, 2018

Maybe they should be paid out of the union dues they collect.

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