Official Time Proposals Advance

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has passed HR-1293, to require annual reporting on official time–working hours that can be spent on certain union duties–after amending it to require that the reports also account for time spent representing employees who are not dues-paying members. Also approved was HR-1364, to make days spent on more than 80 percent official time not creditable toward a federal annuity computation; that bill triggered lengthy debate and opposition from Democrats, who offered numerous amendments that were not accepted. The panel did approve a Republican amendment to similarly bar recruitment, retention and relocation incentives to employees who spend 80 percent of more of their working hours on official time status. Separately, a newly offered bill (HR-1461) would prohibit any VA employee from being on official time more than 50 percent of their time, and bar employees involved with direct patient care from being on it more than 25 percent.