[Excerpt] Title VII of the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978, commonly referred to as the “Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute” (FSLMRS), recognizes the right of most federal employees to engage in collective bargaining with respect to their conditions of employment. Although the FSLMRS does not permit the negotiation of matters that are specifically provided for by federal law, such as wages and retirement benefits, federal unions have bargained with management over a variety of other subjects, such as the availability of daycare facilities and the allocation of parking spaces. Under the FSLMRS, unions may also negotiate for the availability of “official time,” paid time off from assigned government duties to engage in activities related to labor-management relations. The ability to negotiate for official time has been of particular interest to Congress. Legislation that would require the reporting of official time and limit how such time is used has been introduced in the 115th Congress.
This report provides background on the FSLMRS and discusses key rights afforded to federal employees and management under the statute. The report also examines the availability of official time and reviews some of the significant official time cases decided by the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA), the federal agency that administers the FSLMRS.