Inadequate Recordkeeping on Official Time Used for Representational Functions

FPCD-79-77: Published: Sep 17, 1979. Publicly Released: Sep 17, 1979.

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In a recent survey of several labor-management relations activities in the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the Department of Transportation (DOT), the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW), and the Department of Labor (DOL), GAO examined how the agencies accounted for and monitored the amount of official time employees spent on representational functions in 26 agency units with recognized labor organizations (unions). About 1.2 million of all nonpostal Federal civilian employees are organized and covered by about 3,000 collective bargaining agreements; the amount of official time authorized for Federal employees to perform representational functions is not known.

It was found that over 70 percent of these units do not keep records on this time, although Federal regulations require them to do so. OPM will implement recordkeeping requirements when negotiations on a union contract are completed. Although HEW has no plans to issue a written requirement, it had previously given verbal instructions that the Federal regulations requirement be followed. Official time spent by employees representing recognized labor organizations in collective bargaining negotiations is not included under representational functions subject to the recordkeeping requirement. Although agencies are not required to keep records on official time used for these negotiations, 21 of the 26 did. Nearly all the agency officials believed that records should be required for this function to determine the cost of negotiations and to provide management with a complete record of official time employees use for union activities.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Director of OPM should: improve the definitions of representational function by eliminating the uncertainty caused by different interpretations; revise the recordkeeping requirement to include all official time used for collective bargaining negotiations; direct agency compliance with the recordkeeping requirement; require agencies to prepare reports on all official time authorized for this purpose; and require annual reports from agencies on time used for this purpose.

    Agency Affected:


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