Q & A Session – Travel Compensatory Time Off for Union Activities


Ask the Lawyer received the following question (paraphrased for easier reading and clarity) from a reader on a legal matter that might be of interest to the entire audience.


As a Union officer who is asked to travel by managers at my agency to attend various partnership and pre-decisional forums, I have been told repeatedly that I am not eligible for travel compensatory time off. When I question why, I am referred to 5 CFR 550.1403, which defines travel as “travel for work purposes that is approved by an authorized agency official or otherwise authorized under agency policies. Time spent traveling in connection with union activities is excluded.” However, there is no definition of “union activities” in the CFR. Is a labor-management forum, formed at the request of the agency, really a “union activity”? Aren’t labor-management forums and other PDI activities, which are intended to improve the efficiency of the agency, of any benefit to the agency?


I suggest that you have your union raise this at the agency or national forum level. At a minimum, you should not have to personally pay for travel.

Bill Bransford is managing partner of Shaw Bransford & Roth PC.

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About Author

Debra Roth

Debra L. Roth is a partner at the law firm Shaw Bransford & Roth, a federal employment law firm in Washington, D.C. She is general counsel to the Senior Executives Association and the Federal Managers Association, host of the “FEDtalk” program on Federal News Radio, and a regular contributor to Federal News Radio’s “Federal Drive” morning show. Email your legal questions to lawyer@federaltimes.com.

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