Report text available as:

(PDF provides a complete and accurate display of this text.) Tip?


115th Congress    }                                         {   Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 1st Session      }                                         {  115-118

======================================================================

 
  AMENDING TITLE 5, UNITED STATES CODE, TO REQUIRE THAT THE OFFICE OF 
 PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT SUBMIT AN ANNUAL REPORT TO CONGRESS RELATING TO 
             THE USE OF OFFICIAL TIME BY FEDERAL EMPLOYEES

                                _______
                                

  May 11, 2017.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

 Mr. Chaffetz, from the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 1293]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, to whom 
was referred the bill (H.R. 1293) to amend title 5, United 
States Code, to require that the Office of Personnel Management 
submit an annual report to Congress relating to the use of 
official time by Federal employees, having considered the same, 
report favorably thereon with an amendment and recommend that 
the bill as amended do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
Committee Statement and Views....................................     2
Section-by-Section...............................................     5
Explanation of Amendments........................................     6
Committee Consideration..........................................     6
Roll Call Votes..................................................     6
Application of Law to the Legislative Branch.....................     6
Statement of Oversight Findings and Recommendations of the 
  Committee......................................................     6
Statement of General Performance Goals and Objectives............     6
Duplication of Federal Programs..................................     6
Disclosure of Directed Rule Makings..............................     7
Federal Advisory Committee Act...................................     7
Unfunded Mandate Statement.......................................     7
Earmark Identification...........................................     7
Committee Estimate...............................................     7
Budget Authority and Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate...     7
Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported............     8

    The amendment is as follows:
  Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 
following:

SECTION 1. REPORTING REQUIREMENT.

  (a) In General.--Section 7131 of title 5, United States Code, is 
amended by adding at the end the following:
  ``(e)(1)(A) Not later than March 31 of each calendar year, the Office 
of Personnel Management, in consultation with the Office of Management 
and Budget, shall submit to each House of Congress a report on the 
operation of this section during the fiscal year last ending before the 
start of such calendar year.
  ``(B) Not later than December 31 of each calendar year, each agency 
(as defined by section 7103(a)(3)) shall furnish to the Office of 
Personnel Management the information which such Office requires, with 
respect to such agency, for purposes of the report which is next due 
under subparagraph (A).
  ``(2) Each report by the Office of Personnel Management under this 
subsection shall include, with respect to the fiscal year described in 
paragraph (1)(A), at least the following information:
          ``(A) The total amount of official time granted to employees.
          ``(B) The average amount of official time expended per 
        bargaining unit employee.
          ``(C) The specific types of activities or purposes for which 
        official time was granted, and the impact which the granting of 
        such official time for such activities or purposes had on 
        agency operations.
          ``(D) The total number of employees to whom official time was 
        granted, and, of that total, the number who were not engaged in 
        any activities or purposes except activities or purposes 
        involving the use of official time.
          ``(E) The total amount of compensation (including fringe 
        benefits) afforded to employees in connection with activities 
        or purposes for which they were granted official time.
          ``(F) The total amount of official time spent by employees 
        representing Federal employees who are not union members in 
        matters authorized by this chapter.
          ``(G) A description of any room or space designated at the 
        agency (or its subcomponent) where official time activities 
        will be conducted, including the square footage of any such 
        room or space.
  ``(3) All information included in a report by the Office of Personnel 
Management under this subsection with respect to a fiscal year--
          ``(A) shall be shown both agency-by-agency and for all 
        agencies; and
          ``(B) shall be accompanied by the corresponding information 
        (submitted by the Office in its report under this subsection) 
        for the fiscal year before the fiscal year to which such report 
        pertains, together with appropriate comparisons and analyses.
  ``(4) For purposes of this subsection, the term `official time' means 
any period of time, regardless of agency nomenclature--
          ``(A) which may be granted to an employee under this chapter 
        (including a collective bargaining agreement entered into under 
        this chapter) to perform representational or consultative 
        functions; and
          ``(B) during which the employee would otherwise be in a duty 
        status.''.
  (b) Applicability.--The amendment made by subsection (a) shall be 
effective beginning with the report which, under the provisions of such 
amendment, is first required to be submitted by the Office of Personnel 
Management to each House of Congress by a date which occurs at least 6 
months after the date of the enactment of this Act.

                     Committee Statement and Views


                          PURPOSE AND SUMMARY

    H.R. 1293 amends title 5, United States Code, to require 
the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), in consultation with 
the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), to submit an annual 
report to Congress relating to the use of ``official time'' by 
federal employees.

                  BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION

    Section 7131 of title 5, United States Code, authorizes 
federal employees who serve as union representatives to 
negotiate collective bargaining agreements, participate in 
proceedings before the Federal Labor Relations Authority, and 
perform certain representational activities in lieu of their 
regularly assigned duties, commonly referred to as ``official 
time.'' Under current law, the use of official time must be 
reasonable, necessary, and in the public interest.
    Under existing law, federal agencies are not required to 
report annually to Congress on the amount of time employees 
perform representational activities on official time. Without 
reporting requirements, it is difficult to determine with 
certainty how federal employees utilize official time or with 
what frequency.\1\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\Office of Personnel Mgmt., Official Time Usage in the Federal 
Government, Fiscal Year 2014, available at https://www.opm.gov/policy-
data-oversight/labor-management-relations/reports-on-official-time/
reports/2014-official-time-usage-in-the-federal-government.pdf.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    However, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has 
requested information from federal agencies related to the 
amount of official time used by federal employees and federal 
agencies have provided such information for OPM's reporting 
purposes. OPM issued its first report on official time usage in 
1998, pursuant to a requirement in the House report 
accompanying H.R. 2378, the Treasury, Postal Service, and 
General Government Appropriations bill for fiscal year 1998. 
Although there are no current requirements for OPM to report on 
federal employees' use of official time, as a matter of 
practice, OPM has continued to provide reports on the use of 
official time by federal workers since 2002. While OPM has 
provided guidance to federal agencies on the collection, 
recording, and calculation of official time data, there are 
currently no government-wide standards or procedures to ensure 
consistency of agency reporting.
    In March 2017, OPM published information related to the 
hours spent on, and costs resulting from, official time for 
fiscal year 2014.\2\ OPM found the use of official time was on 
the rise, with agencies reporting that bargaining unit 
employees spent a total of 3.468 million hours performing 
representational activities on official time.\3\ This 
represented a 0.84 percent increase compared to FY 2012.\4\ The 
FY 2014 report shows that taxpayers paid $162 million for 
salary and benefit costs related to official time.\5\ 
Additionally, the number of official time hours used per 
bargaining unit employee increased from 2.81 hours in FY 2012 
to 2.88 hours during FY 2014.\6\ This increase is similar to 
the last time OPM reported on official time, when the agency 
provided data for FY 2012.\7\ For FY 2012, OPM reported that 
federal employees performed 3.439 million total hours on 
official time, which represented a 1.3 percent increase 
compared to FY 2011.\8\ The FY 2012 report also shows taxpayers 
paid $157 million for costs related to official time.\9\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \2\Id.
    \3\Id.
    \4\Id.
    \5\Id.
    \6\Id.
    \7\Office of Personnel Mgmt., Reports on Official Time, available 
at https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/labor-management-
relations/reports-on-official-time/.
    \8\Id.
    \9\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Having the data contained in the OPM report for FY 2014 was 
progress, since until recently, the last official time data was 
from FY 2012; nonetheless, information related to official time 
could be improved. According to OPM's FY 2014 report:

          While there is no uniform requirement concerning the 
        degree and specificity of records kept [by agencies to 
        provide to OPM for the annual report], OPM provides 
        guidance to agencies to record official time by using 
        the following categories: (1) Term Negotiations; (2) 
        Mid-Term Negotiations; (3) Dispute Resolution; and (4) 
        General Labor-Management Relations.\10\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \10\Id.

    H.R. 1293 requires agencies to provide OPM with the 
information it requires for the report. In addition, H.R. 1293 
requires that OPM's report include ``the specific types of 
activities or purposes for which official time was granted, and 
the impact which the granting of such official time for such 
activities or purposes had on agency operations.'' This 
requirement expands the current guidance provided by OPM to 
agencies and puts OPM's authority to require such information 
into statute. In response to Government Accountability Office 
recommendations regarding data collection on official time, OPM 
stated, ``OPM has been given no authority to direct agency 
actions regarding official time, [. . .] including how official 
time data is collected and reported.''\11\ H.R. 1293 grants OPM 
statutory authority to require agencies to furnish specific 
data for purposes of OPM's annual report on official time.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \11\Letter from Mark Reinhold, Assoc. Director, Office of Personnel 
Mgmt., to Seto J. Bagdoyan, Acting Director, Strategic Issues, Gov't 
Accountability Office (Oct. 10, 2014), available at http://www.gao.gov/
assets/670/666619.pdf.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Although some information that H.R. 1293 would require 
federal agencies and OPM to report is already captured in OPM's 
reporting, H.R. 1293 will provide a clearer picture of the 
impact of official time on agency operations. H.R. 1293 will 
also provide more reliable data for how many employees are 
granted official time, and of that total, how many employees 
spend all their time on official time. In addition, H.R. 1293 
will provide more transparency related to compensation of 
employees on official time. Finally, H.R. 1293 will require a 
description of any room or space designated at agencies where 
official time takes place.
    An amendment adopted during Committee consideration of the 
bill requires OPM to include in the annual report official time 
performed on behalf of non-union members. Given that 80 percent 
of the federal workforce is not unionized, this amendment will 
provide greater transparency on how much time federal employees 
on official time dedicate to their non-union counterparts.\12\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \12\Union Membership and Coverage Database, CPS (last updated Feb. 
11, 2017), available at http://unionstats.gsu.edu/.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The overall objective of H.R. 1293 is to increase 
transparency and accountability regarding the use and costs of 
official time by providing Congress, and the American public, 
with accurate, timely information. The information required by 
H.R. 1293 is needed to ensure federal government employees are 
using official time in a manner that is ``reasonable, 
necessary, and in the public interest.''

                          LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    H.R. 1293 was introduced on March 1, 2017, by 
Representative Dennis Ross (R-FL) and referred to the Committee 
on Oversight and Government Reform. On March 8, 2017, the 
Committee on Oversight and Government Reform ordered H.R. 1293 
favorably reported, as amended.
    On February 16, 2017, the Subcommittee on Government 
Operations held a hearing examining the use of official time at 
the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). At the hearing, the 
Committee heard testimony from the Government Accountability 
Office (GAO). GAO found the VA does not have a standardized way 
of recording and calculating official time, which results in 
unreliable data that inhibits VA's ability to monitor official 
time use.\13\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \13\The Use of Official Time for Union Activities at the Department 
of Veterans Affairs: Hearing Before the H. Comm. On Oversight & Gov't 
Reform, 115th Cong. (Feb. 16, 2017) (statement of Mary Crenshaw, U.S. 
Gov't Accountability Office).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The bill is similar to legislation, H.R. 4392, introduced 
by Rep. Ross in the 114th Congress. During the 114th Congress, 
the Committee favorably reported the bill, as amended, by voice 
vote.
    Rep. Ross introduced similar legislation, H.R. 568, during 
the 113th Congress. The Committee favorably reported H.R. 568, 
as amended, by voice vote. In the 112th Congress, Rep. Ross 
introduced similar legislation, H.R. 2066, and the Committee 
held a hearing on June 1, 2011 to review the use of official 
time by federal workers. That bill saw no further action.

                           Section-by-Section


Section 1. Reporting requirement

    Subsection (a) of section 1 amends 5 U.S.C. 7131 by adding 
a subsection (e).
    Paragraph (1) of the new subsection 7131(e) requires the 
OPM to submit an annual report on official time.
    Paragraphs (2)(A) through (F) of section 7131(e) requires 
OPM's report to include:
           the total amount of official time granted to 
        employees;
           the average amount of official time expended 
        per bargaining unit employee;
           the specific types of activities or purposes 
        for which official time was granted and the impact that 
        the granting of such official time for such activities 
        or purposes had on agency operations;
           the total number of employees to whom 
        official time was granted, and of that total, the 
        number who were not engaged in any activities or 
        purposes except activities or purposes involving the 
        use of official time;
           the total amount of compensation afforded to 
        employees in connection with activities or purposes for 
        which they were granted official time; and
           a description of any room or space 
        designated at an agency where official time activities 
        are conducted.
    Paragraph (3)(A) of section 7131(e) mandates that all the 
information in OPM's report on official time be shown on both 
an agency-by-agency basis and for all agencies.
    Paragraph (3)(B) of section 7131(e) mandates that the 
report contain information for the fiscal year before the 
fiscal year of the latest report submitted by OPM.
    Paragraph (4) of section 7131(e) defines ``official time'' 
as any period of time granted to an employee to perform 
representational or consultative functions, and during which 
the employee would otherwise be in a duty status.
    Subsection (b) of section 1 requires OPM to submit the 
report at least six months after the date of enactment of the 
bill.

                       Explanation of Amendments

    During Full Committee consideration of the bill, Ranking 
Member Elijah Cummings (D-MD) offered an amendment adding a 
requirement to the list of reporting requirements on official 
time to include data showing the amount of official time used 
on behalf of non-union members. The amendment was adopted by 
voice vote.

                        Committee Consideration

    On March 8, 2017, the Committee met in open session and 
ordered H.R. 1293, favorably reported, as amended, by voice 
vote, a quorum being present.

                            Roll Call Votes

    No roll call votes were requested or conducted during Full 
Committee consideration of H.R. 1293.

              Application of Law to the Legislative Branch

    Section 102(b)(3) of Public Law 104-1 requires a 
description of the application of this bill to the legislative 
branch where the bill relates to the terms and conditions of 
employment or access to public services and accommodations. 
This bill amends title 5, United States Code, to require the 
Office of Personnel Management to submit an annual report to 
Congress relating to the use of official time by Federal 
Employees. As such, this bill does not relate to employment or 
access to public services and accommodations.

  Statement of Oversight Findings and Recommendations of the Committee

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(1) of rule XIII and clause 
(2)(b)(1) of rule X of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives, the Committee's oversight findings and 
recommendations are reflected in the descriptive portions of 
this report.

         Statement of General Performance Goals and Objectives

    In accordance with clause 3(c)(4) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee's performance 
goal or objective of this bill is to amend title 5, United 
States Code, to require the Office of Personnel Management to 
submit an annual report to Congress relating to the use of 
official time by Federal Employees.

                    Duplication of Federal Programs

    In accordance with clause 2(c)(5) of rule XIII no provision 
of this bill establishes or reauthorizes a program of the 
Federal Government known to be duplicative of another Federal 
program, a program that was included in any report from the 
Government Accountability Office to Congress pursuant to 
section 21 of Public Law 111-139, or a program related to a 
program identified in the most recent Catalog of Federal 
Domestic Assistance.

                  Disclosure of Directed Rule Makings

    The Committee estimates that enacting this bill does not 
direct the completion of any specific rule makings within the 
meaning of section 551 or title 5, United States Code.

                     Federal Advisory Committee Act

    The Committee finds that the legislation does not establish 
or authorize the establishment of an advisory committee within 
the definition of Section 5(b) of the appendix to title 5, 
United States Code.

                       Unfunded Mandate Statement

    Section 423 of the Congressional Budget and Impoundment 
Control Act (as amended by Section 101(a)(2) of the Unfunded 
Mandate Reform Act, P.L. 104-4) requires a statement as to 
whether the provisions of the reported bill include unfunded 
mandates. In compliance with this requirement, the Committee 
has included below a letter received from the Congressional 
Budget Office.

                         Earmark Identification

    This bill does not include any congressional earmarks, 
limited tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits as defined in 
clause 9 of rule XXI.

                           Committee Estimate

    Clause 3(d)(1) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives requires an estimate and a comparison by the 
Committee of the costs that would be incurred in carrying out 
this bill. However, clause 3(d)(2)(B) of that rule provides 
that this requirement does not apply when the Committee has 
included in its report a timely submitted cost estimate of the 
bill prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget 
Office under section 402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 
1974, which the Committee has included below.

     Budget Authority and Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate

    With respect to the requirements of clause 3(c)(2) of rule 
XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives and section 
308(a) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 and with respect 
to requirements of clause (3)(c)(3) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives and section 402 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Committee has received 
the following cost estimate for this bill from the Director of 
Congressional Budget Office:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                    Washington, DC, March 17, 2017.
Hon. Jason Chaffetz,
Chairman, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 1293, a bill to 
amend title 5, United States Code, to require that the Office 
of Personnel Management submit an annual report to Congress 
relating to the use of official time by federal employees.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Matthew 
Pickford.
            Sincerely,
                                                        Keith Hall.
    Enclosure.

H.R. 1293--A bill to amend title 5, United States Code, to require that 
        the Office of Personnel Management submit an annual report to 
        Congress relating to the use of official time by federal 
        employees

    H.R. 1293 would require the Office of Personnel Management 
(OPM) to provide annual reports to the Congress on the use of 
official time by federal employees who also serve as union 
officers. Official time is paid time off from assigned 
government duties to represent a labor union. The bill would 
require the OPM report to include the purpose for the use of 
official time, the amount of compensation paid for official 
time, and the locations where the official time duty occurs.
    OPM collects some information on the use of official time. 
CBO expects that information currently collected would be 
combined with other aggregate and estimated information to 
prepare the report for the Congress. Thus, CBO estimates that 
any additional costs would be less than $500,000 annually; such 
spending would be subject to the availability of appropriated 
fluids.
    Enacting H.R. 1293 could affect direct spending by agencies 
not funded through annual appropriations; therefore, pay-as-
you-go procedures apply. CBO estimates, however, that any net 
increase in spending by those agencies would be negligible. 
Enacting the bill would not affect revenues.
    CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 1293 would not increase 
net direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four 
consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2028.
    H.R. 1293 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and 
would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal governments.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Matthew 
Pickford. The estimate was approved by H. Samuel Papenfuss, 
Deputy Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.

         Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

  In compliance with clause 3(e) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, changes in existing law made by 
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (new matter is 
printed in italic and existing law in which no change is 
proposed is shown in roman):

TITLE 5, UNITED STATES CODE

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *



PART III--EMPLOYEES

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


SUBPART E--LABOR-MANAGEMENT AND EMPLOYEE RELATIONS

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


CHAPTER 71--LABOR-MANAGEMENT RELATIONS

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *



           SUBCHAPTER IV--ADMINISTRATIVE AND OTHER PROVISIONS


Sec. 7131. Official time

  (a) Any employee representing an exclusive representative in 
the negotiation of a collective bargaining agreement under this 
chapter shall be authorized official time for such purposes, 
including attendance at impasse proceeding, during the time the 
employee otherwise would be in a duty status. The number of 
employees for whom official time is authorized under this 
subsection shall not exceed the number of individuals 
designated as representing the agency for such purposes.
  (b) Any activities performed by any employee relating to the 
internal business of a labor organization (including the 
solicitation of membership, elections of labor organization 
officials, and collection of dues) shall be performed during 
the time the employee is in a non-duty status.
  (c) Except as provided in subsection (a) of this section, the 
Authority shall determine whether any employee participating 
for, or on behalf of, a labor organization in any phase of 
proceedings before the Authority shall be authorized official 
time for such purpose during the time the employee otherwise 
would be in a duty status.
  (d) Except as provided in the preceding subsections of this 
section--
          (1) any employee representing an exclusive 
        representative, or
          (2) in connection with any other matter covered by 
        this chapter, any employee in an appropriate unit 
        represented by an exclusive representative,
shall be granted official time in any amount the agency and the 
exclusive representative involved agree to be reasonable, 
necessary, and in the public interest.
  (e)(1)(A) Not later than March 31 of each calendar year, the 
Office of Personnel Management, in consultation with the Office 
of Management and Budget, shall submit to each House of 
Congress a report on the operation of this section during the 
fiscal year last ending before the start of such calendar year.
  (B) Not later than December 31 of each calendar year, each 
agency (as defined by section 7103(a)(3)) shall furnish to the 
Office of Personnel Management the information which such 
Office requires, with respect to such agency, for purposes of 
the report which is next due under subparagraph (A).
  (2) Each report by the Office of Personnel Management under 
this subsection shall include, with respect to the fiscal year 
described in paragraph (1)(A), at least the following 
information:
          (A) The total amount of official time granted to 
        employees.
          (B) The average amount of official time expended per 
        bargaining unit employee.
          (C) The specific types of activities or purposes for 
        which official time was granted, and the impact which 
        the granting of such official time for such activities 
        or purposes had on agency operations.
          (D) The total number of employees to whom official 
        time was granted, and, of that total, the number who 
        were not engaged in any activities or purposes except 
        activities or purposes involving the use of official 
        time.
          (E) The total amount of compensation (including 
        fringe benefits) afforded to employees in connection 
        with activities or purposes for which they were granted 
        official time.
          (F) The total amount of official time spent by 
        employees representing Federal employees who are not 
        union members in matters authorized by this chapter.
          (G) A description of any room or space designated at 
        the agency (or its subcomponent) where official time 
        activities will be conducted, including the square 
        footage of any such room or space.
  (3) All information included in a report by the Office of 
Personnel Management under this subsection with respect to a 
fiscal year--
          (A) shall be shown both agency-by-agency and for all 
        agencies; and
          (B) shall be accompanied by the corresponding 
        information (submitted by the Office in its report 
        under this subsection) for the fiscal year before the 
        fiscal year to which such report pertains, together 
        with appropriate comparisons and analyses.
  (4) For purposes of this subsection, the term ``official 
time'' means any period of time, regardless of agency 
nomenclature--
          (A) which may be granted to an employee under this 
        chapter (including a collective bargaining agreement 
        entered into under this chapter) to perform 
        representational or consultative functions; and
          (B) during which the employee would otherwise be in a 
        duty status.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


                                  [all]