Official Time

Read the Official Time Q&A.

Official time ensures federal employees have a voice at the worksite – including workers who belong to the union and those who do not.

Employee representatives use official time to enhance working conditions, such as establishing telework policies, improving workplace safety, and arranging for training and educational opportunities.

Official time also is used to protect employees from discrimination on the basis of race, gender, age, sexual orientation and other factors unrelated to their job performance.

It saves taxpayers money by helping resolve workplace conflicts as early as possible, without resorting to expensive and time-consuming administrative or legal fights.

Official time is a win for agencies and the customers they serve, since it gives unions and managers a forum for discussing ways to improve service delivery.

Office Time Handbook   Download Official Time: Time Well Spent 

Official Time Works for Taxpayers and Federal Employees

  • Union representatives used official time to work with management on a new program to improve the adjudication of compensation claims filed by veterans seeking benefits at the Veterans Benefits Administration’s Regional Office in Houston, Texas; the accuracy rate for claims improved from 74% to 90% as a result, meaning veterans got their correct benefits more quickly.
  • Union representatives at the U.S. Army’s Fort McCoy in Wisconsin used official time to meet with management on how to mitigate the impact of agency downsizing on employees and their families; as a result, 80 employees were successfully placed in other positions on the installation, saving the Army relocation costs.
  • The Federal Bureau of Prisons launched a pilot program to equip some correctional officers with pepper spray following prolonged negotiations with AFGE representatives that occurred using official time; these officers now are better able to protect themselves and other employees from dangerous inmates.
  • Kathleen Dahl, president of the AFGE Local representing 2,500 employees in the Pittsburgh VA Health Care System, used official time to blow the whistle on management’s attempts to cover up an outbreak of Legionnaires disease that killed six veterans and sickened 16 others.

Official Time Q&A

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