These Agencies Saw the Biggest Changes in Use of 'Official Time' Over Two Years

VA saw one of the biggest decreases in official time use over the two years in OPM's report. VA saw one of the biggest decreases in official time use over the two years in OPM's report. By Pamela Au / Shutterstock.com

The Office of Personnel Management’s new report on the use of official time at federal agencies in fiscal 2016 found that while the overall amount of time union officials governmentwide were paid to perform representational duties had increased by 4.12 percent since fiscal 2014, some individual agencies saw much greater increases and decreases.

The Veterans Affairs Department, for instance, which has been under a magnifying glass since the patient wait list scandal of 2014, actually decreased use of the practice by 4.13 percent over the two-year period. The Homeland Security Department saw a 9.6 percent decrease. At the other extreme, the Health and Human Services Department experienced a 209.9 percent increase in use of official time during those two years. 

According to OPM's figures, the three large agencies (defined as having at least 25,000 bargaining unit employees) that saw the biggest increases in the use of official time from fiscal 2014 to fiscal 2016 were:

1. Health and Human Services, 209.90 percent

2. Justice, 38.2 percent

3. Defense, 15.24 percent

The three large agencies where the use of official time decreased the most over the two-year period were:

1. Homeland Security, 9.63 percent

2. Treasury, 4.52 percent

3. Veterans Affairs, 4.13 percent

The three medium-sized agencies as delineated by the report (employing between 1,000 and 25,000 bargaining unit workers) that saw the biggest increases in official time use from fiscal 2014 to fiscal 2016 were:

1. Agency for International Development, 53.28 percent

2. Smithsonian Institution, 41.20 percent

3. Environmental Protection Agency, 39.02 percent

The three medium-sized agencies with the greatest decreases in official time use were:

1. Government Publishing Office, 71.90 percent

2. Commerce, 47.76 percent

3. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 36.78 percent

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