U.S. Federal Labor Relations Authority

Search form

Checklist for Filing Arbitration Appeals (Exceptions)

The following provides more detailed information about the time limits for filing arbitration appeals (or exceptions), the required contents of exceptions, and other procedural requirements for filing exceptions.  If you require additional information that is not covered below, then contact the Authority's Office of Case Intake and Publication.

Timeliness of Exceptions

In order to be timely, an exception to an arbitration award must be filed (through eFiling (the preferred method), or by mail (postmarked), commercial delivery, or hand delivery) with the Office of Case Intake and Publication within 30 days beginning on the date after the arbitrator serves the award on the filing party.  5 C.F.R. § 2425.2(b).

  • For example:  If the arbitrator serves the award on the parties on May 1, then May 2 is day 1, and May 31 is day 30.  An exception filed on May 31 would be timely, and an exception filed on June 1 would be untimely.  But if May 31 is a Saturday, Sunday, or federal holiday, then the filing date extends to the next business day.  Further, if service of the arbitrator's award is by mail or commercial delivery, then 5 days are added to the due date.  5 C.F.R. § 2429.22.

Note:  If the arbitrator serves the award by more than one method, then the first method of service is generally controlling when determining the date of service for purposes of calculating the time limit for filing exceptions.  But if the arbitrator serves the award by email, fax, or personal delivery on one day, and by mail or commercial delivery on the same day, then the excepting party will NOT receive an additional 5 days under § 2429.22.  5 C.F.R. § 2425.2(c)(5).

Note further:  The Authority may not extend or waive the time limit for filing exceptions to an arbitrator's award.  5 C.F.R. § 2429.23(d).  In other words, if you file your exceptions past the 30-day deadline, then the Authority generally will not consider them.

Contents of Exceptions

What Your Exceptions Must Include

Under 5 C.F.R. § 2425.4(a), you must date your exceptions (unless you eFile them), and you must ensure that your exceptions are self-contained and set forth:

  • A statement of the grounds upon which you are asking the Authority to review the award (5 C.F.R. §§ 2425.4(a)(1) & 2425.6)
  • Supporting arguments and citations (5 C.F.R. § 2425.4(a)(2))
  • Legible copies of any documents that you reference in your arguments, if they are the types of documents that the Authority cannot easily access, such as internal agency regulations or provisions of collective-bargaining agreements (5 C.F.R. § 2425.4(a)(3))
  • A statement regarding whether you are requesting an expedited, abbreviated decision, and, if so, arguments in support of such a request (5 C.F.R. §§ 2425.4(a)⁠(4)2425.7)
  • A legible copy of the arbitrator's award (5 C.F.R. § 2425.4(a)(5))
  • The arbitrator's name, mailing address, and, if available and authorized for use by the arbitrator, the arbitrator's email address or fax number (5 C.F.R. § 2425.4(a)(6))
  • A table of contents if the document exceeds 10 double-spaced pages (unless eFiled)

What Your Exceptions Do Not Need to Include

Copies of documents that the Authority can easily access, such as:

  • Authority decisions
  • Decisions of federal courts
  • Current provisions of the U.S. Code
  • Current provisions of the Code of Federal Regulations (5 C.F.R. § 2425.4(b))

What Your Exceptions Must Not Include

  • Any evidence, factual assertions, arguments (including affirmative defenses), requested remedies, or challenges to an awarded remedy that you could have presented, but did not present, to the arbitrator (5 C.F.R. §§ 2425.4(c) & 2429.5)

Other Procedural Requirements

Where and How to File

Number of Copies

  • Unless you eFile (the preferred method of filing), you must file an original and four copies of each document, including any attachments.  (5 C.F.R. § 2429.25)

Service and Statement of Service

  • You must serve all parties with anything you file, including all attachments to your filings
  • You must submit a signed, dated statement of service (or electronic eFiling certification) that includes names and addresses of the parties served, date served, and method of service (5 C.F.R. § 2429.27)

Table of Contents

  • Generally, any document exceeding ten double-spaced pages (including any brief that you eFile) must include a table of contents
  • But you do not need to submit a table of contents for eFiled fillable forms (5 C.F.R. § 2429.29)