The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is set to advance several federal employment-related bills, including one (HR-1293) to require OPM to report annually on each agency’s use of “official time,” on-the-clock time that federal employees can spend on certain union-related duties. OPM’s most recent report on the practice covers data only through 2012. Greater reporting on the practice is a potential first step in limiting or eliminating that time, which unions say is a trade-off for their duty to represent bargaining unit members who don’t pay dues. While the committee passed a similar bill with bipartisan support in the last Congress, it also plans to take up a more controversial measure, HR-1364, which would deem certain activities to be lobbying and thus ineligible for official time, and prohibit employees who spend the majority of their time on official time from counting that time as creditable service toward retirement benefits. Also up for a vote in the committee are HR-653, to extend many standard job protections for federal employees to interns working at federal agencies, and HR-680, to require OMB to issue policies barring access to sexually explicit websites through federal agency computers, except when needed for investigative purposes.
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