I am making available some of the items that will be mentioned tonight at the Online Zoom meeting. If any member would like an invite to our Zoom Union meetings, please email me at Rob@apwulocal215.com. Click the links below to see some of the items that will be mentioned.
Another letter has been issued extending management’s guidance for approving leave based on the Emergency Federal Employee Leave Act…. You can download it below.
Unfortunately, OPM has not yet provided guidelines for EFEL, as was anticipated. Thus, as a result, the USPS at the headquarters level has put out the attached document, dated March 30, 2021, as follow up to the two prior Tulino documents dated March 12, 2021, and March 18, 2021 (previously disseminated). Please note that the attached is a unilateral USPS document.
Once OPM issues its guidelines APWU will issue its interpretation of said guidelines.
You can see the new letter put out by the USPS here.
Please see the attached documents. President Dimondstein signed extensions on the COVID MOUs through June 4, 2021. Also attached is the extension of the liberal leave policy. He also signed extensions on the annual leave carryover which will allow 520 hours to be carried into leave year 2022 and career employees can also sell up to 80 hours of leave for leave year 2022. One MOU that was not extended–but was suspended–was the additional leave for PSEs. Under the new EFEL all employees could be paid up to 600 hours for COVID related absences.
The APWU has received more information regarding the Emergency Federal Employees Leave.
Attached is the most recent document from the USPS that was sent from VP Doug Tulino on the Emergency Federal Employee Leave. This is a USPS created document, it was not created in consultation with the APWU. This document is being provided as information only and does not imply or suggest the APWU is in agreement with this interim guidance. OPM will release their guidance in the coming weeks and once they do the APWU will release further information. We have also attached the guidance from 3-12-2021 as well.
Click the above links to see the actual documentation.
Further Guidance has been shared… it is as follows:
American Rescue Plan Act
Update on Emergency Federal Employee Leave (EFEL)
Multiple questions have submitted regarding the recently passed stimulus bill known as the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA). Under section Title IV Section 4001 of the bill, funding for Emergency Federal Employee Leave (EFEL) was appropriated. The APWU is monitoring all developments regarding EFEL and will continue to share information as it is received.
The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is responsible for administering the fund and issuing the guidelines on this new leave. How this leave will be implemented government wide will not be known until OPM issues the regulations and guidelines.
However, this is what is known:
- All Postal Employees, career or non-career, qualify for EFEL.
- $570,000,000 has been allotted for payment of EFEL government wide.
- Employees can utilize up to 600 hours of total EFEL.
- The law allows these 600 hours to currently be used through September 30, 2021 or until the fund is depleted—whichever comes first.
- There are 8 qualifying reasons to utilize this leave if unable to work due to a COVID-19 related reason:
- Is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19.
- has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19.
- is caring for an individual who is subject to such an order as in (1) or has been so advised as in (2).
- is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis.
- is caring for the employee’s son or daughter if the school or place of care of the son or daughter has been closed, requires or makes optional a virtual learning instruction model, requires or makes optional a hybrid of in-person and virtual learning instruction models, or if the child-care provider of the son or daughter is unavailable, due to COVID-19 precautions.
- is experiencing any other substantially similar condition.
- is caring for a family member with a mental or physical disability or who is 55 years of age or older and incapable of self-care, without regard to whether another individual other than the employee is available to care for such family member, if the place of care for such family member is closed or the direct care provider is unavailable due to COVID-19.
- is obtaining immunization (vaccination) related to COVID-19 or is recovering from any injury, disability, illness, or condition related to such immunization.
- Pay is at the employee’s normal rate of hourly pay, up to a maximum of $2,800 per pay period.
- NTFT, PTF, PTR, and PSEs weekly hours paid will be based upon the average numbers the employee worked the 26-pay periods prior to the leave being taken up to a maximum of 40 hours a week.
- Employees will not earn credit towards retirement, retirement contributions, contribute to TSP, or receive TSP matching funds on hours paid under the EFEL.
The Postal Service has sent out a communication to management on EFEL and the current method to request the leave and how it is to be coded in TACS.
According to Management’s initial communication employees should submit a PS Form 3971 and indicate they are requesting EFEL on the form. Employees must identify which of the 8 qualifying conditions they qualify under for the leave. Postal management is to code the leave under TACS code 086-21. The Postal Service informed the APWU that this code was made available in TACS on March 17, 2021, at 8:00 CDT.
The Postal Service is taking the position that qualifying reasons number 1 does not apply to postal employees as they are not subject to Federal, State, or local quarantine/isolation orders related to COVID-19. Also, there has not been “any other substantially similar condition” identified at this time that would qualify under number 6.
In an update provided to President Mark Dimondstein the afternoon of March 18, 2021, the Postal Service informed him that they are awaiting further clarification from OPM on the implementation, documentation, and other items related to the usage of EFEL. OPM has instructed all government agencies including the Postal Service not to issue their own official permanent policies until the OPM issued guidance is released. It is anticipated that the OPM guidance will be released sometime during the week of March 22, 2021. If the Postal Service issues any additional interim guidance prior to the OPM guidance being released, the APWU will share the interim guidance after an initial review.
Industrial Relations Director
American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO
1300 L Street, NW
Washington, DC 20005-4128
Regarding the Emergency Federal Employees Leave discussed below in a previous post, the only update I have at this time is that this law does not require employees to exhaust their sick or annual leave as a prerequisite to EFEL.
As more information becomes available, I will update this page.
Below I have the letter I am posting on the Bulletin Boards at the Jefferson Rd P&DC, and will be leaving copies in the Swing Room magazine rack for employees to take with them.
If you are not at the Jefferson Road Plant, and Management has not provided you with a phone number to call in case of a Covid related absence, ask them for one, and if they do not provide one, contact your steward.
For Jefferson Road employees:
COVID Related Absences – March 14, 2021
The following numbers were provided to myself as numbers the employees of the Rochester P&DC should call if they are calling in for a Covid related absence. Due to the fact that Management has consistently failed to provide employees pertinent Covid related information, I have come up with this letter. I urge you to try the numbers below. The Privacy Act allows you to protect your personal information, so if you reach someone other than a Postal Management official, simply request to talk to one , and let the Management official know that you are calling in for a Covid related absence. If you get a voicemail, leave a message, including a contact number, and take a written note of date and time you left the message and to what number. If unable to get even a voicemail to answer the phone, or your call is not returned, I urge you to contact your Union, provide a phone number for contacting you, and explain your situation.
Tour 1 – (585) 272-5724 Tour 1 MDO/Supervisors
(585) 272-5789 Tour 1 MDO
Tour 2 – (585) 272-5609 Security/Tour Clerk/Supervisors
(585) 272-5604 Dispatch Desk
Tour 3 – (585) 272-5758 Tour 3 MDO
(585) 272-5608 Tour 1 Supervisors
We should expect more from Management at the Rochester P&DC, such as these phone numbers, as well as being notified through stand up talks when there is a Covid Positive in our building. Stay safe everyone and care for each other because it is quite obvious how much management cares for us.
ROB STAHL, PRESIDENT
Effective March 12, 2021 postal employees are eligible for Emergency Federal Employee Leave (EFEL). The leave is available for the 8 qualifying reasons indicated below. Employees are entitled to up to 600 hours, and the eligibility period continues through September 30, 2021, or until funding for reimbursement is exhausted.
As more information becomes available it will be disseminated.
The following was received from the USPS concerning this recently passed legislation. (The American Rescue Plan Act – ARPA)
Effective March 12, 2021,theAmerican Rescue Plan Act (Act) provides employees with up to 600 hours of paid Emergency Federal Employee Leave (EFEL). This leave is available to employees beginning on March 12, 2021, and continuing through September 30, 2021—or until the funding established in the Emergency Federal Employee Leave Fund (Fund) for reimbursement is exhausted. The leave is available to eligible employees who are unable to work due to one of eight qualifying reasons as summarized in the chart below:
|Emergency Federal Employee Leave|
|Qualifying Reasons||Leave Eligibility|
|An employee is entitled to take EFEL related to COVID-19 if the employee is unable to work because the employee: |
(1) is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19.
(2) has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19.
(3) is caring for an individual who is subject to such an order as in (1) or has been so advised as in (2).
(4) is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis.
(5) is caring for the employee’s son or daughter if the school or place of care of the son or daughter has been closed, requires or makes optional a virtual learning instruction model, requires or makes optional a hybrid of in-person and virtual learning instruction models, or if the child care provider of the son or daughter is unavailable, due to COVID-19 precautions.
(6) is experiencing any other substantially similar condition.
(7) is caring for a family member with a mental or physical disability or who is 55 years of age or older and incapable of self-care, without regard to whether another individual other than the employee is available to care for such family member, if the place of care for such family member is closed or the direct care provider is unavailable due to COVID-19.
(8) is obtaining immunization (vaccination) related to COVID-19 or is recovering from any injury, disability, illness, or condition related to such immunization.
|All career and non-career employees, regardless of tenure, are immediately eligible for EFEL. Full-time Employees can receive up to 600 hours of paid EFEL, capped at $2,800 per pay period. Part–time Employees can receive up to the proportional equivalent of 600 hours, capped at a proportional equivalent of $2,800 per pay period.|
|EFEL does not count as creditable service toward an employee’s retirement benefits. Employees cannot contribute to Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) while on EFEL.|
As a reminder, the Postal Service provides an essential federal government service as part of the nation’s critical infrastructure. Therefore, postal employees are generally not subject to Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation orders related to COVID-19, so employees will generally not be eligible to use EFEL for qualifying reason (1) above. Additionally, no substantially similar condition has been identified that would qualify an employee to use leave for qualifying reason (6) above.
We are continuing to work the issues associated with implementation of these new leave requirements, and we anticipate receiving additional guidance from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), which will administer the Fund, in the coming weeks. In the interim, employees seeking to use EFEL should submit a PS Form 3971 indicating for which of the eight qualifying reasons they must take leave, and employees must affirmatively state that they are unable to work because of the qualifying reason.
For now, this leave should be managed and trackedwithin the Enterprise Resource Management System (eRMS). Timekeepers will be instructed to enter the interim hours code 086-21 in eRMS for all employees, and then verify the Administrative Leave is entered in the appropriate timekeeping system using either hours code 086-21 for City or DACA Code O for Rurals. For immediate reference, attached is the timekeeping quick reference table.
We will update you with additional instructions and guidance as our processes for managing this new leave are developed and implemented. We ask that you sharethis information with yourteams as soon as possible, given that this leave will become available on March 12.
Thank you for your support as we continue to prioritize the safety and well-being of our employees during this challenging time.
As this important battle continues, we recommend the following for any postal worker that has been exposed to COVID-19, is experiencing symptoms, or been diagnosed as COVID positive/presumptive positive:
• Follow the USPS policy as outlined in a multitude of stand-up talks, policy documents, and statements and stay home from work.
• Follow the USPS policy and report the diagnosis, exposure, or symptoms to the USPS.
• When reported, workers should ask management what next steps to take.
• When management initiates the action that the employee cannot report to work, workers should ask whether they will be placed on administrative leave.
• If management instructs and compels workers to use their own leave (sick or annual) a grievance should be filed documenting the fact circumstances of each case, including the date when management was notified, management response, name (s) of management officials involved and when and how exposure happened. [ Leave slip should be filled out and the denied slip should be included in a grievance.]