By Ethan Barton
Some government employees can still collect paychecks on the taxpayer’s dime for doing federal union work during a shutdown, according to the government’s human resources agency.
Government employees who are exempted from a shutdown can still use official time — the bureaucratic term that allows federal union representatives to conduct union work on government time, guidance from the Office of Personnel Management shows.
“Exempted employees … serving as union officials may continue to be granted official time to the same extent and in the same manner as they would under non-shutdown conditions,” the guidance said.
“Exempted employees” are government workers who aren’t paid through annual congressional appropriations for various reasons, according to the guidance.
The guidance also describes a “narrow set of circumstances” where official time can be used during a shutdown. A representative can get a government paycheck for union work if they need to assist an employee who’s under an investigation that’s needed “to protect life and property.”