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Explanation of Changes Shown on Schedule C

STATEMENT OF APPROPRIATIONS

This account has been frozen at the FY'96 appropriated level.

OFFICE OF COMPLIANCE

OFFICE OF COMPLIANCE

January 5, 1996

The Honorable Ron Packard
Chairman, Subcommittee on
Legislative

Committee on Appropriations
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Mr. Chairman:

The Office of Compliance hereby transmits its budget estimate of $3,268,000 for fiscal year 1997 operations. Included within this letter is a presentation of activities the Office of Compliance has undertaken within the last five months since it began operations, and those it contemplates for the remainder of FY 1996 and FY 1997.

Overview of the Office of Compliance's Authority and Role

The Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 (CAA)--the first law to be passed by the 104th Congress--established an independent Office of Compliance ("Office") in the federal legislative branch. In general, the CAA applies the rights and protections of the following eleven labor and employment statutes to covered employees within the legislative branch: the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, chapter 71 of title 5 of the U.S. Code (relating to Federal service labor-management relations), the Employee Polygraph Protection Act of 1988, the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and chapter 43 of title 38 of the U.S. Code (relating to veterans' employment and reemployment). On January 23, 1996, key provisions of the law will take effect, covering the House of Representatives, the Senate, the Capitol Guide Service, the Capitol Police, the Congressional Budget Office, the Office of the Architect of the Capitol, the Office of the Attending Physician, the Office of Compliance, the Office of Technology Assessment, and their employees.

The Office's mission is to provide employees with an independent, neutral, dispute resolution process, as a viable alternative to the court system, through which they may pursue claims under the laws applied by the CAA. The Office is charged with enforcing the CAA's provisions, as well as with providing education and information to Members of Congress, other employing offices of the legislative branch, and employees of the legislative branch.

ROOM LA 200, JOHN ADAMS BUILDING 110 SECOND STREET S.E. RECORDED INFORMATION LINE: 202-724-9260 ● TELEPHONE: 202-724-9250

WASHINGTON, D.C. 20540-1999
FAX: 202-426-1913 TDD: 202-426-1912

(269)

The Honorable Ron Packard

January 5, 1996
Page 2

The Office is headed by a five-member Board of Directors. Pursuant to the CAA, the Chair of the Board, with Board approval, appointed an executive director, a deputy executive director for the Senate, a deputy executive director for the House, and a General Counsel. To date the Office has hired an additional 12 employees, including counselors, attorneys, and support staff.

The CAA requires the executive director, subject to Board approval, to adopt rules governing the procedures of the Office. The CAA further requires the Board to adopt substantive regulations for implementation of the CAA. The procedural rules are in place and all the substantive regulations for laws that take effect on January 23, 1996 will have been adopted by the Board and sent to Congress for approval prior to that date. The Office will open and begin to accept inquiries and claims on January 23, 1996, the date mandated by the САА.

Dispute Resolution

The Office's primary function will begin on January 23, 1996, the date upon which the CAA takes effect. As of that day, the Office will provide employees who have inquiries or claims relating to employment rights and protections with an efficient, neutral, and confidential dispute resolution process. The CAA requires employees with claims under the CAA to participate in counseling and mediation through the Office of Compliance before filing a formal complaint. In order to ensure consistency with statutory timeframes, efficiently manage, and report to Congress as mandated, the Office is developing an extensive computerized case-tracking system.

Pre-Counseling

The Office's procedural rules advise that employees and employing offices may, at any time, seek informal advice and information on the procedural rules of the Office and the rights, protections, and responsibilities under the CAA and the substantive rules. The Office will respond to all inquiries on a confidential basis, and will track the number and the nature of the inquiries.

Counseling

Pursuant to the CAA, the Office will provide a period for counseling for employees who have concerns about alleged violations of the CAA. The counseling period will give the employee an opportunity to discuss the employee's concerns in a neutral, confidential setting. The counseling period generally will last 30 days. The counselor will elicit information

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