The Use of Official Time for Union Activities at the Department of Veterans Affairs

Subcommittee on Government Operations
Subcommittee on Government Operations
Hearing Date: February 16, 2017 12:30 pm 2154 Rayburn House Office Building

PURPOSE:
  • To discuss challenges facing the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) regarding tracking official time.
  • To explore whether official time is being authorized in a manner that is most effective for both the veterans being served and the American taxpayer.
BACKGROUND:
  • Authorized under section 7131 of title 5, official time is paid time off from assigned government duties to represent a union.
  • A recent Government Accountability Office report found that VA does not have a standardized way of recording and calculating official time, resulting in unreliable data that inhibits VA’s ability to monitor official time use.
  • Annual reporting of official time by agencies is not required under law but the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) may request agencies to disclose information on official time usage.
  • OPM consistently published reports on official time usage from 2002 to 2011.

Witnesses and testimonies

Name Title Organization Panel Document
Ms. Mary Crenshaw Assistant Director, Education, Workforce, and Income Security U.S. Government Accountability Office
Ms. Kim McLeod Acting Executive Director, Labor-Management Relations U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Document
Mr. Trey Kovacs Policy Analyst Competitive Enterprise Institute Document
Mr. J. David Cox National President American Federation of Government Employees Document