Lawmakers Take a Closer Look at LWOP Use by Agencies

View this article online at and visit to sign up for free news updates
By on August 24, 2017 in Agency News, Human Resources with 0 Comments
Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI)

Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI)

Two lawmakers are taking a closer look at the use of leave by federal employees to participate in union political activity.

Congressman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) and Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) sent letters to ten federal agencies seeking information on how each of them grants leave to their employees for participating in campaign activities.

“We write to you regarding the use of the Department of Veteran’s Affairs’s (VA) policy of the use of union official Leave Without Pay (LWOP) for political campaign activity,” wrote the lawmakers.

Congressman Trey Gowdy (R-SC)

Congressman Trey Gowdy (R-SC)

The letters follow a recent investigation by the Office of Special Counsel in July which found the Postal Service violated the Hatch Act by granting leave requests for employees to campaign for union-endorsed candidates, even when local supervisors originally denied such requests.

The letter notes that the Office of Special Council concluded that the Postal Service had violated the Hatch Act by granting employees time off over the objections of local postmasters who needed the employees present to manage their workloads.

The lawmakers say in their letter they want to ensure that agencies are granting LWOP requests in a “politically neutral manner,” and consequently are seeking data since 2008 about each agency’s use of LWOP in the three months leading up to an election.

The letters were sent to these agencies:

  • Department of Commerce
  • Department of Homeland Security
  • Department of Defense
  • Department of Justice
  • Department of Labor
  • Department of Transportation
  • Social Security Administration
  • Department of Treasury
  • Department of Agriculture
  • Department of Veterans Affairs

A copy of one of the letters is included below.

2017- 08-21 Letter to VA LWOP for Union Activity

Want to see more articles like this one? Sign up for FedSmith's free email lists!

© 2020 Ian Smith. All rights reserved. This article may not be reproduced without express written consent from Ian Smith.


About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of He enjoys writing about current topics that affect the federal workforce.