A revised PS Form 3971, Request for or Notification of Absence — with a new look and functionality — is now available. The revised form provides more space for requests and designation of protected leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The front of the form contains an expanded Remarks section and provides more specific instructions regarding FMLA designation. The back of the 3971 includes assistance to help employees determine whether the request is a potential FMLA-protected absence. There’s also a space to enter an FMLA case number to make sure the requested leave is associated with a previously approved or designation-pending FMLA case.
The form is available on Blue. It also can be ordered from the Topeka Fulfillment Center through USPS eBuy2 system under the MDC eBuy2 catalog. The National Stock Number (NSN) is 7530-02-000-9136. The form also can be ordered using Touch Tone Order Entry (TTOE) at 800-273-1509 by those who have a 10-digit-access code or call 800-332-0317 to register for TTOE. Current forms, dated March 2008 or earlier, should be destroyed.
The postal service has developed a new Form 3971, Notification of Absence, for employees to use when making leave requests. The most significant changes deal with Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requests. Employees should pay close attention to the back of the Form 3971, which now includes a section allowing employees to alert the Postal Service that their absence may be covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act. If the leave request relates to an ongoing FMLA condition, the employee should notate the FMLA case number to speed up the handling of the leave request. If it is for a new FMLA condition, the employee should check the appropriate box, which will trigger the issuance of the forms the employee needs for the USPS to process and evaluate their FMLA eligibility and coverage. The new form now includes all categories of potential FMLA coverage, including provisions relating to family members in the military that were implemented in 2008 and 2010.
With the advent of the new form, local management is no longer a part of the FMLA approval process. The USPS has assigned that authority to Human Resources Shared Services Center (HRSSC), which is located in Greensboro, NC. All communication and documentation related to FMLA should be directed to HRSSC. For contact information, click here [pdf]. Employees should still follow the normal call-in procedures when reporting absences. However, if the absence is potentially a FMLA request, the determination will be made by HRSSC. Employees should not include medical information on the Form 3971; there is a notation on the back of the new Form 3971 reminding them of that fact.
I have made the new PS Form 3971 FILLABLE and SAVEABLE [pdf]. The one available on the USPS intranet is not. This pdf form will remember your data, so you don’t have to keep reentering it.