JCAM – Article 10 Leave

Sources for Leave Rules

The rules governing the various types of Postal Service leave are contained in several source documents:

Article 10. Article 10 contains the National Agreement’s general provisions concerning the leave program. Article 10 guarantees continuation of the leave program (Sections 1-2), outlines the national program for the use of annual leave through vacation planning (Sections 3-4), provides for sick leave (Section 5), and states certain additional leave rules concerning minimum leave charges and leave without pay (LWOP) (Section 6).

• ELM Subchapter 510. Article 10.2 specifically incorporates the Employee and Labor Relations Manual’s (ELM) Subchapter 510. Subchapter 510 (Sections 511- 519) contains the specific regulations controlling leave for career letter carriers.

 Transitional Employees—Additional provisions. Leave provisions regarding Transitional Employees are found in the Article 10 section of the Memorandum of Understanding Re: Transitional Employees— Additional Provisions.

• National Memorandums of Understanding. Certain National Memorandums of Understanding, appearing on pages 157-165 of the National Agreement, also address leave issues.

• Local Memorandums of Understanding. Many important features of letter carrier leave are governed by local leave programs, which are negotiated locally under Article 30, Local Implementation, and contained in Local Memorandums of Understanding (LMOUs).

• Federal Law. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law that entitles eligible employees to time off to care for a new child, to care for a seriously ill family member and for an employee’s serious medical problems. The detailed rules governing the FMLA are found in the federal law and in the Code of Federal Regulations (Chapter 29 C.F.R. Part 825).

This material explains the main provisions of Article 10, summarizes other important leave rules and gives references to more detailed provisions concerning leave. It does not attempt to cover all of the detailed leave regulations contained in ELM Subchapter 510 or the FMLA.

 

10.1
Section 1. Funding

The Employer shall continue funding the leave program so as to continue the current leave earning level for the duration of this Agreement.

10.2
Section 2. Leave Regulations

The leave regulations in Subchapter 510 of the Employee and Labor Relations Manual, insofar as such regulations establish wages, hours and working conditions of employees covered by this Agreement, shall remain in effect for the life of this Agreement.

 

Continuation of Leave Program

Article 10.1 and 10.2 guarantee continuation of the leave program and refer to the detailed leave regulations published in the ELM.

Subchapter 510 of the ELM contains the detailed Postal Service regulations concerning the administration of the leave program. There are several categories of leave available for absences: Annual Leave (Section 512), Sick Leave (Section 513), LWOP (Section 514), Court Leave (Section 516), Military Leave (Section 517), and Administrative Leave (Section 519). Within these sections there may be distinctions defined for bargaining-unit, nonbargaining-unit, full-time, part-time regular and part-time flexible employees. In addition, Section 515 contains regulations concerning absences covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act and Section 518 contains regulations concerning holidays.

Annual Leave

Annual leave is paid vacation time. The rate of annual leave earnings is based on “creditable service,” that is, total cumulative federal service (employment), including certain kinds of military service (See ELM Section 512.2, Determining Annual Leave Category).

New employees earn annual leave but are not credited with the leave and may not take it prior to completing 90 days of continuous employment (ELM Section 512.313(b). There is an exception for employees who transfer without a break in service.

Annual leave is paid at an employee’s regular straight-time rate and is limited to a maximum of eight hours during any single day.

As explained further below, letter carriers typically use annual leave in three ways:

1. By annual bidding in advance, based on seniority, on vacation time as specified in this Article and in the Local Memorandum of Understanding (LMOU);

2. Other requests for annual leave, as needed throughout the year.

3. Emergency annual leave taken for emergencies.

Annual Leave Accrual—Full-Time Employees. Full-time employees earn annual leave as set forth in ELM Section 512.311, reproduced below. They are credited with the year’s annual leave at the start of each leave year.

512.311 Full-Time Employees

a. Accrual Chart. Full-time employees earn annual leave based on their _number of creditable years of service._

Leave Category Creditable Service Maximum Leave Per Year
4 Less than 3 years 4 hours for each full biweekly pay periods; i.e., 104 hours (13 days) per 26-period leave year.
6 3 years but less than 15 years 6 hours for each full biweekly pay period plus 4 hours in last pay period in leave year, i.e. 160 hours (20 days) per 26-period leave year.
8 15 years or more 8 hours for each full biweekly pay period; i.e., 208 hours (26 days) per 26-period leave year.

b. Credit at Beginning of Leave Year. Full-time employees are credited at the beginning of the year with the total number of annual leave hours that they will earn for that leave year.

Annual Leave Accrual—Part-Time Employees. Part-time employees earn annual leave as set forth in ELM Exhibit 512.312, reproduced here. ELM section 512.312.b provides that PTFs are credited with annual leave earnings at the end of each biweekly pay period.

Exhibit 512.312

Accrua and Crediting Chart for Pari -Time Employees
Hours Hours of Leave
Leave Creditable Maximum Leave Rate in Pay Earned per
Category Service per Year of Accrual Status Period
4 Less than 104 hours, or 13 1 hour for 20 1
3 years. days per 26-period each unit of 40 2
leave year or 4 20 hours in 60 3
hours for each pay status. 80 4 (max.)
biweekly pay
period.
6 3 years but 160 hours, or 20 1 hour for 13 1
less than 15 days per 26-period each unit of 26 2
years. leave year or 6 13 hours in 39 3
hours for each pay status. 52 4
full biweekly pay 65 5
period, plus 4 hours 78 6 (max.)
in last pay period in
leave year.
8 15 years 208 hours, or 26 1 hour for 10 1
or more. days per 26-period each unit of 20 2
leave year or 8 10 hours in 30 3
hours for each full pay status. 40 4
biweekly pay period. 50 5
60 6
70 7
80 8 (max.)

1Except that the accrual for the last pay period of the calendar year may be 10 hours, provided the employee has the 130 creditable hours or more in a pay status in the leave year for leave purposes.

27 Pay Period Leave Year. The accrual charts listed above are based on a 26 pay period leave year. In leave years with 27 pay periods, employees will earn additional leave. When determining if a leave year has 27 pay periods, remember a leave year differs from a calendar year. The 27th pay period in a leave year is not necessarily labeled pay period 27. A leave year is defined as the year beginning with the first day of the first complete pay period in a calendar year and ending on the day before the first day of the first complete pay period in the following calendar year.

Annual Leave Accrual—Transitional Employees (TEs). TE annual leave is governed by the Article 10 section of the Memorandum of Understanding Re: Transitional Employees—Additional Provisions. TEs are credited with one hour of annual leave for each twenty hours spent in a pay status during each biweekly pay period. TE “annual leave” is used both for the usual annual leave purposes (rest, recreation, emergencies, etc.) as well as for illness or injury in lieu of sick leave.

 

MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE AND THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF LETTER CARRIERS, AFL-CIO Re: Transitional Employees—Additional Provisions

ARTICLE 10 I. GENERAL

A. Purpose. Annual leave is provided to transitional employees for rest, recreation, emergency purposes, and illness or injury.

1. Accrual of Annual Leave. Transitional employees earn annual leave based on the number of hours in which they are in a pay status in each pay period.

Hours of Annual Leave

Rate of Accrual_Hours in Pay Status_Earned Per Pay Period

1 hour for each unit of

20 hours in pay status 20 1

in each pay period

40 2

60 3

80 4 (max.)

2. Biweekly Crediting. Annual leave accrues and is credited in whole hours at the end of each biweekly pay period.

3. Payment For Accumulated Annual Leave. A separating transitional employee may receive a lump-sum payment for accumulated annual leave subject to the following condition:

a. A transitional employee whose separation is effective before the last Friday of a pay period does not receive credit or terminal leave payment for the leave that would have accrued during that pay period.

II. AUTHORIZINGANNUAL LEAVE

A. General. Except for emergencies, annual leave for transitional employees must be requested on Form 3971 and approved in advance by the appropriate supervisor.

B. Emergencies and Illness or Injury. An exception to the advance approval requirement is made for emergencies and illness or injury; however, in these situations, the transitional employee must notify appropriate postal authorities as soon as possible as to the emergency or illness/injury and the expected duration of the absence. As soon as possible after return to duty, transitional employees must submit Form 3971 and explain the reason for the emergency or illness/injury to their supervisor. Supervisors approve or disapprove the leave request. When the request is disapproved, the absence may be recorded as AWOL at the discretion of the supervisor as outlined in Section IV.B below.

III. UNSCHEDULED ABSENCE

A. Definition. Unscheduled absences are any absences from work that are not requested and approved in advance.

B. Transitional Employee Responsibilities. Transitional employees are expected to maintain their assigned schedule and must make every effort to avoid unscheduled absences. In addition, transitional employees must provide acceptable evidence for absences when required.

IV. FORM 3971, REQUEST FOR, OR NOTIFICATION OF, ABSENCE

A. Purpose. Application for annual leave is made in writing, in duplicate, on Form 3971, Request for, or Notification of, Absence.

B. Approval/Disapproval. The supervisor is responsible for approving or disapproving application for annual leave by signing Form 3971, a copy of which is given to the transitional employee. If a supervisor does not approve an application for leave, the disapproved block on Form 3971 is checked and the reasons given in writing in the space provided. When a request is disapproved, the reasons for disapproval must be noted. AWOL determinations must be similarly noted.

Date: September 11, 2007

Annual Leave Sharing. Management Instruction EL-510-1999-4 sets forth the policy guidelines and standard procedures for administering the Annual Leave Sharing Program referenced in the Employee and Labor Relations Manual, Section 512.64, Annual Leave Sharing, and it obsoletes the 1991 Instructions. The MI EL-510-1999-4 does not amend or supersede the provisions of the collective bargaining agreement negotiated between the Postal Service and the National Association of Letter Carriers (national prearbitration settlement Q94N-4Q-C 00002159, M-01531, December 14, 2004).

On September 11, 2007, the parties agreed to modify the Leave Sharing Memorandum. Originally, the memorandum allowed career postal employees to donate annual leave to another career postal employee— but only within a postal district’s geographical area. The modified memorandum removed the geographic restriction in cases where the donating employee and the receiving employee are members of the same family (son or daughter, parent and spouse as defined in ELM 515.2). (See Memo on Leave Sharing on page 10-18.)

 

10.3.A
Section 3. Choice of Vacation Period

A. It is agreed to establish a nationwide program for vacation planning for employees in the regular work force with emphasis upon the choice vacation period(s) or variations thereof.

 

Vacation Planning—Local Implementation

Article 10.3 establishes a nationwide program for vacation planning for the regular work force and specifically addresses the selection of the choice vacation period(s). Article 30 provides for local implementation of more specific leave provisions consistent with the general provisions of Article 10.

A new Local Memorandum of Understanding (LMOU) may be negotiated shortly after each new National Agreement is finalized. The LMOU is negotiated between the parties at the local level pursuant to Article 30 and covers, among other items, the operation of local vacation selection. The LMOU typically sets forth a system where the leave year is divided into times known as the “choice vacation period” (also called “prime time”) and other times which are outside the choice vacation period (“non-prime time”). For example, the choice vacation period might run from the first week of May through the last week of October.

The LMOU usually provides that full-time regular and part-time flexible letter carriers bid, based on seniority, for blocks of continuous vacation time (annual leave). Part-time regulars also may bid on vacation time, but they are a separate category for bidding on vacation time, and their seniority is normally restricted to this category. Key LMOU provisions may establish the percentage of carriers (or a fixed number of carriers) to receive vacation each week, both during the choice vacation period and during the non-choice periods. The number of carriers that must be permitted off during the choice vacation period is typically higher than the number during non-prime time.

The procedures for bidding on blocks of vacation time are controlled by the LMOU. Typically the bidding allows carriers to select available vacation slots by seniority, until all carriers have made vacation selections. Full-time regulars may bid based on all credited annual leave, including the year’s annual leave credited at the start of the leave year.

The LMOU also may set forth procedures for making vacation selections during times outside of the choice vacation period; this may be handled by a second round of bidding based on seniority. In addition, the LMOU may contain rules for handling other requests for annual leave, which may be requested by individual carriers as needed throughout the year, outside of the vacation bidding process.

 

10.3.B
B. Care shall be exercised to assure that no employee is required to forfeit any part of such employee’s annual leave.

 

Leave Carryover. A letter carrier may carry over up to 440 hours (55 days) of accumulated annual leave from one leave year to the next (see ELM 512.321a). Any amount beyond the carryover maximum is forfeited.

Leave carryover for Transitional Employees is addressed by the parties’ joint Questions and Answers on TEs, question 19. The complete TE Q&As are found on pages 7-10-7-15.

 

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS (42) NALC TRANSITIONAL EMPLOYEES

The attached jointly-developed document provides the mutual understanding of the national parties on issues related to NALC Transitional Employees. This document may be updated if agreement is reached on additional matters related to transitional employees.

Date: February 20, 2009

19. May transitional employees carry over leave from one appointment to another?

No. Transitional employees may be paid for any accrued leave pursuant to the Memorandum of Understanding, Re: Transitional Employees – Additional Provisions.

Avoiding Forfeiture of Annual Leave. Supervisors should exercise care to assure that no bargaining-unit employees have to forfeit any part of their annual leave. For their part, employees must be sure to submit sufficient leave requests. Stewards should encourage carriers to keep a watchful eye on their leave balances and vacation plans.

10.3.C
C. The parties agree that the duration of the choice vacation period(s) in all postal installations shall be determined pursuant to local implementation procedures.

 

Duration of Choice Period. Article 10.3.C should be read in conjunction with any applicable LMOU provisions negotiated pursuant to Article 30.B.(5). Article 10.3.C recognizes that the choice vacation peri-od(s) may vary among installations. This section empowers local installation heads and branches to engage in local implementation under Article 30 to determine the duration of the choice vacation period. The duration normally varies among LMOUs. During local implementation, the choice period’s duration is closely related to the issue of how many carriers are permitted to take vacation during the choice period—a subject under Article 10.3.D.1 & 2, and Article 30.B.9.

 

10.3.D
D. Annual leave shall be granted as follows:

l. Employees who earn 13 days annual leave per year shall be granted up to ten (10) days of continuous annual leave

during the choice period. The number of days of annual leave, not to exceed ten (10), shall be at the option of the employee.

2. Employees who earn 20 or 26 days annual leave per year shall be granted up to fifteen (15) days of continuous annual leave during the choice period. The number of days of annual leave, not to exceed fifteen (15), shall be at the option of the employee.

 

Number of Continuous Days Off. Article 10.3.D.1. establishes that those employees who have less than three years of creditable service will be granted a maximum of ten continuous days of annual leave. Article 10.3.D.2. establishes that, those employees with more than three years of creditable service will be granted a maximum of fifteen continuous days of annual leave for their choice vacation period selection(s).

These sections do not foreclose the right of an employee to request additional annual leave continuous with the maximum number of days applicable in either Article 10.3.D.1 or 3.D.2 above. Nor does it preclude an employee being granted additional annual leave during the choice vacation period(s) if there are fewer employees on annual leave than the maximum number or percentage negotiated in a LMOU pursuant to Article 30.B.9 (see Step 4 AC-C 10648, March 17, 1977, M-00865).

 

10.3.D.3
3. The subject of whether an employee may at the employee’s option request two (2) selections during the choice period(s), in units of either 5 or 10 working days, the total not to exceed the ten (10) or fifteen (15) days above, may be determined pursuant to local implementation procedures.

 

Requesting One or Two Vacation Selections. Article 10.3.D.3 should be read in conjunction with any applicable LMOU provisions established pursuant to Article 30.B.7. This section allows the LMOU to determine if the maximum number of days of continuous annual leave for choice vacation selection will be requested as a single block of either ten or fifteen continuous days or as two separate blocks of either five or ten continuous days each. For instance, an employee who has fifteen days may request ten continuous days of annual leave in May and five continuous days in August.

Additional leave provisions for Transitional Employees are addressed by the parties’ joint Questions and Answers on TEs, question 18. The complete TE Q&As are found on pages 7-10-7-15.

 

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS (42) NALC TRANSITIONAL EMPLOYEES

The attached jointly-developed document provides the mutual understanding of the national parties on issues related to NALC Transitional Employees. This document may be updated if agreement is reached on additional matters related to transitional employees.

Date: February 20, 2009

18. Are transitional employees covered by leave provisions of Articles 10 and 30 of the National Agreement?

No. The granting of annual leave to transitional employees is covered by the Memorandum of Understanding, Re: Transitional Employees – Additional Provisions.

10.3.D.4
4. The remainder of the employee’s annual leave may be granted at other times during the year, as requested by the employee.

 

Other Annual Leave Requests. Article 10.3.D.4 should be read in conjunction with Article 10.3.A & 4.C and with any applicable LMOU provisions established pursuant to Article 30.B.12. It establishes that employees may request annual leave in addition to their selection(s) for choice vacation period(s) (see Article 10.4.C below).

 

10.3.E
E. The vacation period shall start on the first day of the employee’s basic work week. Exceptions may be granted by agreement among the employee, the Union representative and the Employer.

 

Start of Vacation Period. Article 10.3.E establishes that the first day of an employee’s vacation period(s) shall start on the first day of the employee’s basic work week. Exceptions may be granted when the employee, the NALC representative and the employer agree. This section should be read in conjunction with any applicable LMOU provisions established pursuant to Article 30.B.6, which states that the local parties can determine the beginning day of an employee’s vacation period selection(s). Where the LMOU provides that the employee’s vacation period selection(s) begins on a day other than the first day of an employee’s basic work week, the LMOU is controlling.

 

10.3.F
F. An employee who is called for jury duty during the employee’s scheduled choice vacation period or who attends a National, State, or Regional Convention (Assembly) during the choice vacation period is eligible for another available period provided this does not deprive any other employee of first choice for scheduled vacation.

 

Jury Duty or NALC Convention Interrupting Vacation. Article 10.3.F provides that if an employee serves on jury duty, attends a National, State, or Regional convention or assembly during the employee’s scheduled choice vacation period, the employee is entitled to another choice vacation period selection(s). However, that employee can not

deprive any other employee of his/her scheduled vacation period(s). The provisions of this section should be read in conjunction with any applicable LMOU provisions established pursuant to Articles 30.B.8 & B.20. Those sections authorize an LMOU to determine whether those absences will be charged to the choice vacation period and whether annual leave for union activities requested prior to the determination of the choice vacation period will be a part of the local vacation plan. See Article 24, Employees on Leave with Regard to Union Business.

 

10.4
Section 4. Vacation Planning

The following general rules shall be observed in implementing the vacation planning program:

10.4.A
A. The Employer shall, no later than November l, publicize on bulletin boards and by other appropriate means the beginning date of the new leave year, which shall begin with the first day of the first full pay period of the calendar year.

 

Notification of Start of New Leave Year. Article 10.4.A should be read in conjunction with any applicable LMOU provisions established pursuant to Article 30.B.11. The local installation head must notify all employee’s when the new leave year will begin. Where LMOU provisions established pursuant to Article 30.B.11 provide for another date and means of notifying employees, the LMOU is controlling.

 

10.4.B
B. The installation head shall meet with the representatives of the Union to review local service needs as soon after January 1 as practical. The installation head shall then:

1. Determine the amount of annual leave accrued to each employee’s credit including that for the current year and the amount he/she expects to take in the current year.

2. Determine a final date for submission of applications for vacation period(s) of the employee’s choice during the choice vacation period(s).

3. Provide official notice to each employee of the vacation schedule approved for each employee.

Deadline to Apply; Official Notice of Schedule. Articles 10.B.2 & B.3 should be read in conjunction with any applicable LMOU provisions established pursuant to Articles 30.B.4 & B.10, under which the local parties may negotiate LMOU provisions concerning, respectively: (1) the final date for employees to submit applications for choice vacation period(s); and (2) how management must give employees official notice of their approved vacation schedule.

 

10.4.C
C. A procedure in each office for submission of applications for annual leave for periods other than the choice period may be established pursuant to the implementation procedure above.

 

Applying For Annual Leave Outside Choice Period. Article 10.4.C should be read in conjunction with Article 10.3.A & 3.D.4 and any applicable LMOU provisions established pursuant to Article 30.B.12. The LMOU may provide for two different kinds of leave rules under Article 30.B.12:

(a) Selections Outside the Choice Period. An LMOU may establish additional rounds of bidding immediately following the choice selections, enabling carriers to make advance vacation selections during times outside the choice vacation period (or during any remaining time during the choice period).

(b) Other Requests for Annual Leave. In addition, an LMOU may specify rules governing other requests for annual leave which are made as the need arises throughout the year rather than through the advance annual vacation bidding process. For example, a carrier might win tickets to a World Series game the following week and request leave to attend. A typical LMOU might specify that such leave requests must be made prior to the posting of the next week’s schedule. It also might specify how long management has to reply to such requests, set forth procedures for handling daily leave, and specify priorities—by seniority or first-come, first served—for both advance and daily requests for annual leave.

Where LMOU provisions do not cover rules concerning annual leave of this type, ELM Section 512.61(a) provides, “For all regular employees, both full-time and part-time, vacation leave is granted when requested— to the extent practicable.”

10.4.D
D. All advance commitments for granting annual leave must be honored except in serious emergency situations.

 

Honoring Advance Commitments For Annual Leave. Article 10.4.D requires management to honor annual leave approved in advance, in nearly all circumstances.

Emergency Annual Leave. In an emergency a carrier need not obtain advance approval for leave, but must notify management as soon as possible about the emergency and the expected duration of the absence. The carrier must submit Form 3971 and explain the reason for the absence to the supervisor as soon as possible. ELM Section 512.411-12.

 

10.5
Section 5. Sick Leave

The Employer agrees to continue the administration of the present sick leave program, which shall include the following specific items:

A. Credit employees with sick leave as earned.

B. Charge to annual leave or leave without pay (at employee’s option) approved absence for which employee has insufficient sick leave.

C. Employee becoming ill while on annual leave may have leave charged to sick leave upon request.

D. For periods of absence of three (3) days or less, a supervisor may accept an employee’s certification as reason for an absence.

 

Sick Leave. Article 10.5 provides for the continuation of the sick leave program, whose detailed regulations are contained in ELM Section 513. Section 513.1 defines sick leave as leave which “insures employees against loss of pay if they are incapacitated for the performance of duties because of illness, injury, pregnancy and confinement, and medical (including dental or optical) examination or treatment.”

Sick Leave Accrual. Full- and part-time employees accrue sick leave as shown in ELM Section 513.21:

513.21 Accrual Chart

Employee Category Time Accrued
a. Full-time employees 4 hours for each full biweekly pay period—i.e., 13 days (104 hours) per 26-period leave year.
b. Part-time employees 1 hour for each unit of 20 hours in pay status up to 104 hours (13 days) per 26-period leave year.

Sick leave is credited at the end of each pay period and can accumulate without any limitation of yearly carryover amounts (ELM Section 513.221).

27 Pay Period Leave Year. The accrual charts listed above are based on a 26 pay period leave year. In leave years with 27 pay periods employees will earn additional leave. (See page 10-4 for further explanation.)

Transitional Employees. Transitional employees do not earn sick leave. Rather, they receive “annual” leave to be used for rest, recreation, emergency purposes as well as illness or injury. See the explanation under Article 10.2 above.

Sick Leave Use. Letter carriers apply for sick leave, either in advance or after returning to work, by submitting a Form 3971. When an employee has an unexpected need for sick leave, he or she must notify the appropriate postal authorities as soon as possible of the illness or injury and the expected duration of the absence. Upon returning to work, the employee must submit a Form 3971 (ELM Section 513.332).

In applying ELM 513.332 in the context of the RMD (Resource Management Database) process, ACSs (Attendance Control Supervisors) may ask questions necessary to make FMLA determinations and to determine whether the absence is due to an on-the-job injury or for a condition which requires ELM 865 return-to-work procedures in a manner consistent with the findings in this decision, but may not otherwise require employees to describe the nature of their illness/injury (National Arbitrator Das, Q00C-4Q-C-03126482, January 28, 2005, C-25724).

ELM Section 513.65 provides, “If an employee becomes ill while on annual leave and the employee has a sick leave balance, the absence may be charged to sick leave.”

Sick leave is paid at the employee’s regular straight-time rate, and limited to maximums of 8 hours per day, 40 per week and 80 per pay period (ELM Section 513.421(b)). Full-time employees may request paid sick leave on any scheduled workday of the employee’s basic workweek (ELM Section 513.411). Part-time employees receive sick leave in accordance with ELM Section 513.42 which provides:

 

513.42 Part-Time Employees

513.421 General

a. Absences due to illness are charged as sick leave on any day that an hourly rate employee is scheduled to work except national holidays.

Exception: If employees shown to be eligible in 434.422 elect to receive annual leave credit in lieu of holiday leave pay (see 512.65), sick leave may be charged to supplement work hours, up to the limit of their regular work schedule, on the holiday worked, provided the requirements of section 513.32 are met.

b. Except as provided in 513.82, paid sick leave may not exceed the number of hours that the employee would have been scheduled to work, up to:

(1) A maximum of 8 hours in any 1 day.

(2) 40 hours in any 1 week.

(3) 80 hours in any one pay period. If a dispute arises as to the number of hours a part-time flexible employee would have been scheduled to work, the schedule will be considered to have been equal to the average hours worked by other part-time flexible employees in the same work location on the day in question.

c. Limitations in 513.421b apply to paid sick leave only and not to a combination of sick leave and workhours. However, part-time flexible employees who have been credited with 40 hours or more of paid service (work, leave, or a combination of work and leave) in a service week are not granted sick leave during the remainder of that service week. Absences, in such cases, are treated as nonduty time which is not chargeable to paid leave of any kind. (Sick leave is not intended to be used to supplement earnings of employees.)

The restriction in ELM 513.421.c on granting sick leave to PTF employees “who have been credited with 40 hours or more paid service” applies only to PTF employees who have already been credited with 40 hours of service at the time the sick leave request is made (Step 4, I94N-4I-C 98093715, December 22, 1998, M-01374).

Note that the exception in ELM 513.421a above does not apply to letter carriers.

Sick Leave Authorization. The conditions for authorization of sick leave are outlined in Section 513.32 of the ELM. When a request for sick leave is disapproved, the supervisor must check the block “Disapproved” and write the reason(s) on the Form 3971, and note any alternative type of

leave granted. (ELM Section 513.342). If sick leave is disapproved and the absence is nonetheless warranted, the supervisor may approve, at the employee’s option, annual leave or LWOP (ELM Section 513.63).

If the employee does not have sufficient sick leave to cover the absence, at the option of the employee any difference may be charged to annual leave and/or LWOP (ELM Section 513.61). Likewise, if the employee does not have any sick or annual leave for an approved absence, the approved absence may be charged to LWOP (ELM Section 513.62).

Medical Certification. ELM Section 513.361 and 362 establish three rules:

a. For absences of more than three days, an employee must submit “medical documentation or other acceptable evidence” in support of an application for sick leave (“three days” means three scheduled workdays; see Step 4 H1N-5B-C 3428, November 3, 1983, M-00489); and

b. For absences of three days or less a supervisor may accept an employee’s application for sick leave without requiring verification of the employee’s illness (unless the employee has been placed in restricted sick leave status, in which case verification is required for every absence related to illness regardless of the number of days involved); however

c. For absences of three days or less a supervisor may require an employee to submit documentation of the employee’s illness “when the supervisor deems documentation desirable for the protection of the interests of the Postal Service.”

Numerous disputes have arisen over situations in which a supervisor has required an employee not in restricted sick leave status to provide medical documentation for an illness of three days or less. Generally, to challenge such a decision successfully the union should demonstrate that the supervisor acted arbitrarily, capriciously or unreasonably in requiring the employee to obtain medical documentation. The union should be prepared to show that the grievant has a good overall sick leave record and no record of abuse.

Consistent with the Rehabilitation Act, the parties agree that ELM 513.362 and 513.364 do not require the employee to provide a diagnosis (August 3, 2007 USPS correspondence M-01629).

Employees who are on extended periods of sick leave must submit at regular intervals, but not more frequently than once every 30 days, satisfactory evidence of their continued inability to perform their regular duties, unless “a responsible supervisor has knowledge of the employee’s continuing incapacity for work” (ELM Section 513.363).

Restricted Sick Leave. Management may place an employee in “restricted sick leave” status, requiring medical documentation to support every application for sick leave, if: (a) management has “evidence indicating that an employee is abusing sick leave privileges”; or (b) if management reviews the employee’s sick leave usage on an individual basis, first discusses the matter with the employee and otherwise follows the requirements of ELM Section 513.391.

Advance Sick Leave. Up to 30 days (240 hours) of sick leave may be advanced to an employee with a serious disability or ailment if there is reason to believe the employee will return to duty (ELM Section 513.511). The USPS installation head has authority to approve such requests. An employee need not use up all annual leave before receiving advance sick leave.

Sick Leave for Dependent Care

The National Agreement provides a right to use sick leave in certain situations, known as Sick Leave for Dependent Care. Under language contained in the national Memorandum of Understanding (reprinted at the end of this Article), a letter carrier is entitled to use up to 80 hours of Sick Leave for Dependent Care per year:

.. .to give care or otherwise attend to a family member with an illness, injury or other condition which, if an employee had such condition, would justify the use of sick leave by that employee. Family members shall include son or daughter, parent, and spouse as defined in ELM Section 515.2. Approval of sick leave for dependent care will be subject to normal procedures for leave approval.

The right to use paid sick leave does not add to the amount of sick leave earned. Rather, it enables a carrier to use earned sick leave for a new purpose—caring for an ailing family member.

The carrier’s right to Sick Leave for Dependent Care under the contract is separate and different from the right to leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, explained below. Sick Leave for Dependent Care is a benefit established by the National Agreement; the FMLA is a federal law. Still, there are certain overlaps. For instance, the definitions of son, daughter, spouse and parent used for Sick Leave for Dependent Care are the same as the FMLA def-initions—so an employee may take time off to care for the same persons under both Sick Leave for Dependent Care and the FMLA.

 

10.6
Section 6. Minimum Charge for Leave

The minimum unit charged for sick leave and annual leave for regular work force employees as defined in Article 7, Section 1.A, is one hundredth of an hour (.01 hour).

Employees may utilize annual and sick leave in conjunction with leave without pay, subject to the approval of the leave in accordance with normal leave approval procedures. The Employer is not obligated to approve such leave for the last hour of the employee’s scheduled workday prior to and/or the first hour of the employee’s scheduled workday after a holiday.

[see Memos, pages 157-165]

(Additional leave provisions regarding Transitional Employees are found in the Memorandum Re: Transitional Employees-Additional Provisions on page 140.)

Minimum Charge for Leave The one-hundredth-of-an-hour minimum leave usage amount means, for example, that an employee who obtains advance approval for 2-3 hours of sick leave for a doctor’s appointment and who returns to work and clocks in after 2 hours and 37 minutes, will be charged only for the amount of sick leave actually used, rounded to the hundredth of an hour.

Leave Without Pay

An employee may request unpaid time off—leave without pay (LWOP)—by submitting a Form 3971. If the requested LWOP is for more than 30 days, the application must contain a written statement giving the reason for the requested LWOP absence (ELM Section 514.51).

As a general rule, management may grant LWOP as a matter of administrative discretion. There are certain exceptions concerning disabled veterans, military reservists and members of the National Guard. See ELM Section 514.22 for more information.

A national Memorandum of Understanding establishes that an employee need not exhaust annual leave and/or sick leave before requesting leave without pay. ELM Exhibit 514.4(d). Furthermore, the parties have agreed that if requested, an employee may use LWOP for an FMLA-covered absence.

Administrative Leave is governed by the provisions of Section 519 of the Employee and Labor Relations Manual (ELM). It is defined as absence from duty authorized by appropriate postal officials without charge to annual or sick leave and without loss of pay. The ELM authorizes administrative leave under certain circumstances for various reasons such as civil disorders, state and local civil defense programs, voting or registering to vote, blood donations, attending funeral services for certain veterans, relocation, examination or treatment for on-the-job illness or injury and absence from duty due to “Acts of God”. National Arbitrator Parkinson ruled in case J90M-1J-C 95047374 (C-23564) that the term “without loss of pay” in the definition of administrative leave means that employees should also receive night differential while on such leave if they would have otherwise earned it.

 

MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE AND THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF LETTER CARRIERS, AFL-CIO
Re: Sick Leave for Dependent Care

The parties agree that, during the term of the 2006 National Agreement, sick leave may be used by an employee to give care or otherwise attend to a family member with an illness, injury or other condition which, if an employee had such condition, would justify the use of sick leave by that employee. Family members shall include son or daughter, parent, and spouse as defined in ELM Section 515.2. Up to 80 hours of sick leave may be used for dependent care in any leave year. Approval of sick leave for dependent care will be subject to normal procedures for leave approval.

Date: September 11, 2007

 

MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE AND THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF LETTER CARRIERS, AFL-CIO
Re: Bereavement Leave

City letter carriers may use a total of up to three workdays of annual leave, sick leave or leave without pay, to make arrangements necessitated by the death of a family member or attend the funeral of a family member. Authorization of leave beyond three workdays is subject to the conditions and requirements of Article 10 of the National Agreement, Subsection 510 of the Employee and Labor Relations Manual and the applicable local memorandum of understanding provisions.

Definition of Family Member. “Family member” is defined as a:

(a) Son or daughter — a biological or adopted child, stepchild, daughter-in-law or son-in-law;

(b) Spouse;

(c) Parent; or

(d) Sibling—brother, sister, brother-in-law or sister-in-law; or

(e) Grandparent.

Use of Sick Leave. For employees opting to use available sick leave, the leave will be charged to sick leave for dependent care, if eligible.

Documentation. Documentation evidencing the death of the employee’s family member is required only when the supervisor deems documentation desirable for the protection of the interest of the Postal Service.

Date: September 11, 2007

Note: As clarification, in-laws covered by the Memorandum of Understanding Re: Bereavement Leave include the spouse of a child (whether biological, adopted, or stepchild). The memorandum also applies to the parents and siblings of the employee’s spouse (whether biological or adoptive).

Bereavement leave for Transitional Employees is addressed by the parties’ joint Questions and Answers on TEs, question 20. The complete TE Q&As are found on pages 7-10-7-15.

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS (42) NALC TRANSITIONAL EMPLOYEES

The attached jointly-developed document provides the mutual understanding of the national parties on issues related to NALC Transitional Employees. This document may be updated if agreement is reached on additional matters related to transitional employees.

Date: February 20, 2009

20. Are transitional employees covered by the Memorandum of Understanding, Re: Bereavement Leave?

Yes, however, transitional employees do not earn sick leave and therefore, may only request annual leave or leave without pay for bereavement purposes

 

MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE AND THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF LETTER CARRIERS, AFL-CIO
Re: Leave Sharing

The Postal Service will continue a Leave Sharing Program during the term of the 2006 Agreement under which career postal employees will be able to donate annual leave from their earned annual leave account to another career postal employee, within the same geographic area serviced by a postal district. In addition, career postal employees may donate annual leave to other family members that are career postal employees without restriction as to geographic location. Family members shall include son or daughter, parent, and spouse as defined in ELM Section 515.2. Single donations must be of 8 or more whole hours and may not exceed half of the amount of annual leave earned each year based on the leave earnings category of the donor at the time of donation. Sick leave, unearned annual leave, and annual leave hours subject to forfeiture (leave in excess of the maximum carryover which the employee would not be permitted to use before the end of the leave year), may not be donated, and employees may not donate leave to their immediate supervisors. To be eligible to receive donated leave, a career employee (a) must be incapacitated for available postal duties due to serious personal health conditions or pregnancy and (b) must be known or expected to miss at least 40 more hours from work than his or her own annual leave and/or sick leave balance(s), as applicable, will cover, and (c) must have his or her absence approved pursuant to standard attendance policies. Donated leave may be used to cover the 40 hours of LWOP required to be eligible for leave sharing.

For purposes other than pay and legally required payroll deductions, employees using donated leave will be subject to regulations applicable to employees in LWOP status and will not earn any type of leave while using donated leave. Donated leave may be carried over from one leave year to the next without limitation.

Donated leave not actually used remains in the recipient’s account (i.e., is not restored to donors). Such residual donated leave at any time may be applied against negative leave balances caused by a medical exigency. At separation, any remaining donated leave balance will be paid in a lump sum.

Date: September 11, 2007

(The preceding Memorandum of Understanding, Leave Sharing, applies to Transitional Employees.)

 

MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE AND THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF LETTER CARRIERS, AFL-CIO
Re: Return to Duty

The parties reaffirm their understanding concerning the review of medical certificates submitted by employees who return to duty following extended absences due to illness.

We mutually agree to the following:

1. To avoid undue delay in returning an employee to duty, the on-duty medical officer, contract physician, or nurse should review and make a decision based upon the presented medical information the same day it is submitted.

Normally, the employee will be returned to work on his/her next workday provided adequate medical documentation is submitted within sufficient time for review.

2. The reasonableness of the Service in delaying an employee’s return beyond his/her next workday shall be a proper subject for the grievance procedure on a case-by-case basis.

MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE AND THE JOINT BARGAINING COMMITTEE (American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO, and National Association of Letter Carriers, AFL-CIO)

Re: Leave Policy

The parties agree that local attendance or leave instructions, guidelines, or procedures that directly relate to wages, hours, or working conditions of employees covered by this Agreement, may not be inconsistent or in conflict with Article 10 or the Employee and Labor Relations Manual, Subchapter 510.

MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE AND THE JOINT BARGAINING COMMITTEE (American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO, and National Association of Letter Carriers, AFL-CIO)

Re: Paid Leave and LWOP

The parties agree that an employee need not exhaust annual leave and/or sick leave before requesting leave without pay. As soon as practicable after the signing of the 1990 National Agreement, Employee and Labor Relations Manual (ELM) Exhibit 514.4(d) will be amended to conform to this Agreement.

The parties further agree that this Memorandum does not affect the administrative discretion set forth in ELM Part 514.22, nor is it intended to encourage any additional leave usage.

Grievance Number H7C-NA-C 61 is withdrawn.

MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE AND THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF LETTER CARRIERS, AFL-CIO

Re: Clarification of Regulations for National Day of Observance

The parties agree that the following procedures will apply to affected employees if the Postmaster General or designee determines that the Postal Service will participate in a National Day of Observation (e.g., National Day of Mourning), subsequent to the declaration of a National Day of Observance having been made by Executive Order of the President of the United States.

1. Full-time employees whose basic work week includes the National Day of Observance as a scheduled work day but who are not directed to report for work, will be granted administrative leave for that day.

2. Full-time employees whose basic work week includes the National Day of Observance as a scheduled work day, and who perform service, will be granted a day of administrative leave at a future date, not to exceed eight hours.

3. Full-time employees whose basic work week includes the National Day of Observance as a non-scheduled day and are not directed to report for work, will be granted a day of administrative leave at a future date.

4. If the National Day of Observance is a full-time employee’s non-scheduled day and the employee is scheduled to work, the employee will receive overtime pay, plus up to eight hours of future administrative leave for the number of hours worked.

5. The same provisions apply to part-time regular employees as apply to full-time employees. The total hours of administrative leave should only equal the scheduled hours for the National Day of Observance, which may be less than eight hours. However, part-time regular employees whose basic work week includes the National Day of Observance as a non-scheduled work day and who are not directed to report for work on the National Day of Observance will be granted a day of administrative leave at a future date equal to the average number of daily paid hours in their schedule for the service week previous to the service week in which the National Day of Observance occurs, which may be less than eight hours.

6. Part-time flexible employees should be scheduled based on operational needs. Part-time flexible employees who work will be granted a day of administrative leave at a later date. The day of administrative leave will be based on the number of hours actually worked on the National Day of Observance, not to exceed eight hours. Part-time flexible employees who are not directed to work on the National Day of Observance will be granted administrative leave at a future date equal to the average number of daily paid hours during the service week previous to the service week in which the National Day of Observance occurs, not to exceed eight hours.

7. Transitional employees will only receive pay for actual work hours performed on the National Day of Observance. They will not receive administrative leave.

8. If an employee is on leave or Continuation of Pay on the National Day of Observance, the employee will be granted a day of administrative leave at a future date, not to exceed eight hours.

9. An employee on OWCP, AWOL, suspension or pending removal on the National Day of Observance will not be granted administrative leave. If the employee on AWOL, suspension or pending removal is returned to duty and made whole for the period of AWOL, suspension or removal, the employee may be eligible for administrative leave for the National Day of Observance if the period of suspension or removal for which the employee is considered to have been made whole includes the National Day of Observance. Such determination will be made by counting back consecutive days from the last day of the suspension or removal to determine if the employee had been made whole for the National Day of Observance.

10. Where provisions in this Memorandum of Agreement provide for a day of administrative leave to be taken at a future date, such leave must be granted and used within six months of the National Day of Observance or by the end of the Fiscal Year, whichever is later. However, administrative leave will not be granted to employees who are on extended leave for the entire period between the Day of Observance and six months from that date, or between the Day of Observance and the end of the Fiscal Year, whichever is later.

11. Administrative leave taken at a future date must be taken at one time.

12. Administrative leave to be taken at a future date may, at the employee’s option, be substituted for previously scheduled but not used annual leave.

13. Administrative leave to be taken at a future date should be applied for by using the same procedures which govern the request and approval of annual leave consistent with Local Memoranda of Understanding.

Date: May 4, 2000

MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE AND THE JOINT BARGAINING COMMITTEE (American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO, and National Association of Letter Carriers, AFL-CIO)

Re: PTF Court Leave

1. Effective September 26, 1987, part-time flexible employees who have completed their probationary period shall be eligible for court leave as defined in Employee and Labor Relations Manual Part 516.1 and Part 516.31.

2. Appropriate provisions of the applicable handbooks and manuals shall be amended to carry out these changes consistent with the principles expressed in paragraphs 3, 4, and 5 below. The handbooks and manuals, including Part 516 of the Employee and Labor Relations Manual, shall be amended pursuant to Article 19, except that the sixty (60) day notice of such changes shall be waived.

3. A part-time flexible employee will be eligible for court leave if the employee would otherwise have been in a work status or annual leave status. If there is a question concerning the status, the part-time flexible employee will be eligible if the employee was in work status or annual leave status on any day during the pay period immediately preceding the period of court leave.

4. If eligibility is established under paragraph 3, the specific amount of court leave for an eligible part-time flexible employee shall be determined on a daily basis as set forth below:

a. If previously scheduled, the number of straight-time hours the Employer scheduled the part-time flexible employee to work;

b. If not previously scheduled. the number of hours the part-time flexible employee worked on the same service day during the service week immediately preceding the period of court leave;

c. If not previously scheduled and if no work was performed on the same day in the service week immediately preceding the period of court leave, the guarantee as provided in Article 8, Section 8, of the National Agreement, provided the part-time flexible would otherwise have been requested or scheduled to work on the day for which court leave is requested.

5. The amount of court leave for part-time flexible employees shall not exceed 8 hours in a service day or 40 hours in a service week.

Date: July 21, 1987

INTERPRETIVE STEP SETTLEMENT BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE AND THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF LETTER CARRIERS AFL-CIO

Re: Q98N-4Q-C 01051141 (M-01468)

The interpretive issue is whether or not the RMD or its web-based counterpart enterprise

Resource Management System (eRMS), violates the National Agreement.

It is mutually agreed that no national interpretive issue is fairly presented. The parties agreed

to settle this case based on the following understandings:

• The eRMS will be the web-based version of RMD, located on the Postal Service intranet. The eRMS will have the same functional characteristics as RMD.

• The RMD/eRMS is a computer program. It does not constitute a new rule, regulation or policy, nor does it change or modify existing leave and attendance rules and regulations. When requested in accordance with Articles 17.3 and 31.3, relevant RMD/eRMS records will be provided to local shop stewards.

• The RMD/eRMS was developed to automate leave management, provide a centralized database for leave-related data and ensure compliance with various leave rules and regulations, including the FMLA and Sick Leave for Dependent Care Memorandum of Understanding. The RMD/eRMS records may be used by both parties to support/dispute contentions raised in attendance-related actions.

• When requested, the locally set business rule, which triggers a supervisor’s review of an employee’s leave record, will be shared with the NALC branch.

• Just as with the current process, it is management’s responsibility to consider only those elements of past record in disciplinary action that comply with Article 16.10 of the National Agreement. The RMD/eRMS may track all current discipline, and must reflect the final settlement/decision reached in the grievance-arbitration procedure.

• An employee’s written request to have discipline removed from their record, pursuant to Article 16.10 of the collective bargaining agreement, shall also serve as the request to remove the record of discipline from RMD/eRMS.

• Supervisor’s notes of discussions pursuant to Article 16.2 are not to be entered in the “supervisor’s notes” section of RMD/eRMS.

• RMD/eRMS users must comply with the Privacy Act, as well as handbooks, manuals and published regulations relating to leave and attendance.

• RMD/eRMS security meets or exceeds security requirements mandated by AS-818.

• It is understood that no function performed by RMD/eRMS now or in the future may violate the National Agreement.

Date: September 9, 2002

8 hours for each full biweekly pay period; i.e., 208 hours (26 days) per 26-period leave year.

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