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FY 2004

The Office of Personnel Management is issuing this guidance to help departments and agencies report on the number of hours of official time used by unions to perform representational functions in Fiscal Year 2004. Please complete your agency’s report and submit it to OPM no later than March 4, 2005.

Scope of Report

Each department and agency will submit a single consolidated report that encompasses all sub-components. Your report should cover all agency components with the exception of non-appropriated fund instrumentalities.

Only those representational activities related to labor relations, such as those provided for by 5 U.S.C. Chapter 71 and collective bargaining agreements, should be reported. Agencies should not report activities under non-labor relations laws or regulations (e.g., civil rights laws or agency administrative grievance procedures).

Agencies should provide the actual or best estimate of the number of hours of official time used by employees in FY 2004. Agencies are being asked to report total official time hours used to perform representational functions. In addition, agencies are being asked to break out total hours, categorizing them into one of four categories related to the activities for which official time hours were used. The four reporting categories are: term negotiations, mid-term negotiations, dispute resolution, and general labor-relations activities. More detailed descriptions of the reporting categories are provided in Definitions & Terminology below.

Definitions and Terminology

Official Time means all time regardless of agency nomenclature granted to an employee by the agency to perform representational functions under 5 U.S.C. Chapter 71 or by collective bargaining agreement when the employee would otherwise be in a duty status. 

Official Time Reporting Categories— agencies are being asked to report four categories of official time use. 

  • Term Negotiations— this category for reporting official time hours refers to time used by union representatives to prepare for and negotiate a basic collective bargaining agreement or its successor.
  • Mid-Term Negotiations— this category for reporting official time hours refers to time used to bargain over issues raised during the life of a term agreement.
  • Dispute Resolution— this category for reporting official time hours refers to time used to process grievances up to and including arbitrations and to process appeals of bargaining unit employees to the various administrative agencies such as the MSPB, FLRA and EEOC and, as necessary, to the courts.
  • General Labor-Management Relations— this category for reporting official time hours refers to time used for activities not included in the above three categories. Examples of such activities include: meetings between labor and management officials to discuss general conditions of employment, labor-management committee meetings, labor relations training for union representatives, and union participation in formal meetings and investigative interviews.

Representational Functions refers to activities undertaken by employees acting on behalf of the union or fulfilling the union’s responsibility to represent bargaining unit employees in accordance with 5 U.S.C. Chapter 71 or a collective bargaining agreement.

Completing the Report

A. Each report will provide:

  •  the name of the department or agency responsible for completing and submitting the information;
  • the name of the activity, administration, or bureau if appropriate; and
  • the name and telephone number of a contact person for management and for the labor organization that provided input.

B. Provide the actual or best estimate of the number of hours of official time used to perform representational functions in FY 2004. Total official time hours should be categorized into one of the four designated categories of official time. If actual data on official time is not available, you may estimate the hours of official time based on the best available data or use standard statistical sampling methods. If you provide an estimate or sample, please explain the methodology that was used.

C. Provide any information that may explain unusually high or low usage of official time during FY 2004 as compared to prior years.

D. OPM encourages each agency to work with their labor organizations to help determine or verify the information reported.

Due Date and Submission Instructions

Please complete your report by Friday, March 4, 2005. In addition to forwarding hard copies, we are asking agencies to also submit reports electronically, forwarding them via email to Paula Lucak at Hard copies should be mailed to: U.S. Office of Personnel Management, Center for Workforce Relations and Accountability Policy, 1900 E. Street, NW, Room 7H28, Washington, DC 20415.