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ELM Chapter 5 - Employee Benefits 510 - Leave (USPS)
Memorandum: USPS’ position when light and/or limited duty employees are subject to Article 12 reassignment (pdf)


safeguarding SSN, medical files

Timekeeping (TACS)
Sick Leave
Sick Leave Dependent Care vs FMLA
Annual Leave
Family Medical Leave Act Court Cases
Pregnancy Discrimination Act
Injured at work

Approved FMLA Leave Inappropriate Subject for Official Discussion

(APWU Arbitration)

Employer May Be Sued for Disclosing FMLA-Request Contents-An employee may sue his employer if the contents of his medical certification under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) are disclosed to his coworkers, a federal appeals court ruled Feb. 7.
Attendance Control and FMLA -Questions and Answers (from APWU Denver Metro Area Local)
OSHA Requirements When a Worker Experiences a Job-Related Injury or Illness
Light Duty v. Reasonable Accommodation
29 CFR 825.310 - Under what circumstances may an employer require that an employee submit a medical certification that the employee is able (or unable) to return (Dept. of Labor)
Postal Attendance   discussion board -21st Century Postal Worker


EEOC: USPS discriminated against diabetic -In a ruling which deals a major blow to the Postal Service's attendance terror policy, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission found in favor of a Postal Service truck driver- By Dan Sullivan, Southwest Michigan Area Local
Court Rules in 2001 Postal Employee Can Sue Under FMLA
Attendance Crackdown Underway --demands for documentation rise as management cracks the whip -By Dan Sullivan, Southwest Michigan Area Local
Heart attack follows postal attendance terrorism-By Dan Sullivan, Southwest Michigan Area Local

Postal Attendance Control General Information 

New Call-in Number to Request Unscheduled Leave (3/14/04)
Beginning this month, a new call-in number-1-877-477-3273-will be available in selected PCs that use the enterprise Resource Management System (eRMS). More than 600,000 employees working in PCs already on-line with eRMS will be able to use this new service when the rollout is completed this year. Sites participating in Phase I of the rollout include: Norfolk, VA, P& DC • Ft. Worth/Dallas, TX, P &DC • Tennessee PC • Portland, OR, P& DC • Chicago, IL, Information Service Center • San Diego, CA, PC • Greensboro, NC, P & DC • New York City's Morgan P & DC • Buffalo, NY, P & DC.

How will you know when you can use the new call-in number? You're eligible after your supervisor gives you a service talk and provides you a wallet card and magnet. The wallet card serves as a handy guide to help you through the telephone prompts when using the call-in number. For easy reference, the magnet has the call-in number printed on it and should be kept in a convenient place at home. Once eligible, you no longer will have to call your attendance control office to report unscheduled leave request.

How the system works:
Call 1-877-477-3273. Menu prompt #4 will take you to the unscheduled leave request system. Have your SSN, and if applicable, any FMLA case numbers handy. Once connected, the voice response system will guide you. Your information is kept secure and confidential and is maintained in accordance wit the Privacy Act. The 1-877-477-3273 call-in number is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Hearing impaired employees should call TTY 1-866-833-8777
(source: USPS)

USPS Attendance Control Crackdown 2010

(January 21, 2010)

Letter sent out from Area VP to District Managers: "The Office of Inspector General (OIG) recently conducted an audit of the Postal Service's attendance control policies and procedures. The report concluded that supervisors have failed to comply with Postal Service policies and procedures regarding unscheduled absences and recommended the following three actions: provide refresher training to supervisors, establish and implement internal controls to evaluate and ensure supervisors compliance, and mandate the use of the Enterprise Resource Management System."


eRMS and TACS Merge

(From USPS 6-27-07)

Two USPS programs will be joining forces this summer. The Enterprise Resource Management System (eRMS) and the Time and Attendance Collection System (TACS) are used by the Postal Service to record clock rings and manage leave, respectively. The two applications will maintain their functionality while sharing the same database.

What does this merger mean to supervisors who use both systems? When supervisors approve leave, the information will automatically reside in TACS. That means we will all use real-time information to manage time and attendance. eRMS has been redesigned to be more user friendly, making it easier to find information and get what you need when you need it. Reports will run faster and can be exported to other applications such as Excel.

At the end of the day, these changes will save time and make sure we are using accurate data to make decisions.

A pilot site in the Tennessee Performance Cluster is scheduled to go online in July. A phased national release is set for August and September. New features resulting from the merger will be real-time leave information for managers and supervisors, eRMS leave management protocols applied to TACS leave entry and TACS providing eRMS with “Available for Duty” statistics.

Revision to PS Form 3970-R, Request to Receive Donated Leave
(From Postal Bulletin 3-30-06)

Effective February 2006, PS Form 3970-R, Leave Sharing Program: Request to Receive Donated Leave, has been revised to require the employee's identification number instead of the Social Security number and to allow the supervisor to enter the date the applicant accumulated 40 hours of leave without pay (LWOP) before completing the signature block.

Revision: Sick Leave for Dependent Care
(From Postal Bulletin 10-27-05) Effective October 27, 2005, Employee and Labor Relations Manual (ELM) 513.1, Purpose, and 513.32, Conditions for Authorization, are revised to differentiate sick leave taken for employee incapacitation from sick leave taken for dependent care, and then to clarify that leave taken for care of a qualifying family member, after a maximum of 80 hours of sick leave, will be charged to annual leave, or to leave without pay, at the employee's option.

513.12 Sick Leave for Dependent Care

A limited amount of sick leave may also be used to provide for the medical needs of a family member. Nonbargaining unit employees, and bargaining unit employees if provided in their national agreements, are allowed to take up to 80 hours of their accrued sick leave per leave year to give care or otherwise attend to a family member (as defined in 515.2) with an illness, injury, or other condition that, if an employee had such a condition, would justify the use of sick leave. If leave for dependent care is approved, but the employee has already used the maximum 80 hours of sick leave allowable, the difference is charged to annual leave or to LWOP at the employee's option. (See 515 for information about FMLA entitlement to be absent from work.)

IVR/eRMS Confirmation Numbers for Unscheduled Leave Call-ins
Union Wins Major Attendance Case [pdf]

In an award issued Jan. 28, 2005, Arbitrator Shyam Das sustained the APWU's arguments on two of three outstanding issues in a significant attendance case. Arbitrator Das said that the Postal Service may not require an employee to describe the nature of an illness or injury during a phone call to report an absence from work. He also ruled that the USPS policy on second and third medical opinions is inconsistent with the Family & Medical Leave Act and the National Agreement. The arbitrator found that management is not in violation of the FMLA, however, when it requires medical evidence for absences of more than three days in instances in which an employee makes a request to substitute paid sick leave for unpaid intermittent FMLA leave.

More from National Mail Handlers Union (pdf)

FYI.  After a discussion with our local Attendance Control Officer, [omitted] (Royal Oak District - Michigan), the APWU suggested that the system generate the confirmation number of a person's call on the PS Form 3971 in the box, next to the employee signature, which was historically for the person recording the time/date of leave/absence request.

[omitted] forwarded this up to the administrator of the system and they stated that this would be an excellent enhancement to the system for verification purposes and that this would be implemented.  Donna and I both stated that this would help both sides of the house when verification is needed, or inquiries are made.

This may help to resolve some conflicts/problems regarding whether or not a call was made, and will prevent local disputes with the front line manager.  We have had front line managers delete this data (by innocence or intent) from the system and end up recording the person as AWOL.  We were able to have the leave status overturned as the employee had the confirmation number.

Until all disputes are resolved at the National level, hopefully this will help to make our jobs a little easier.

Lucy A. Morton
Executive Vice President
480-481 Area Local
American Postal Workers Union

The USPS has a Management Instruction EL-510-83-9 titled Attendance Control. Section IV addresses absences and part B and see actually addresses scheduled and unscheduled absences.

As a general rule unless you have a locally defined definition for unscheduled absences the question you ask, the first day of illness would be considered unscheduled and the second and third would be scheduled.

The fact an absence is scheduled or unscheduled does not mean a whole lot unless the USPS does something. The absence can be scheduled and unscheduled and could be a FMLA issue as well.

All attendance related discipline must be investigated and the test for just cause must be met.

The USPS has defined their definition of just cause in the EL-921 Supervisors Guide to Handling Grievances. A brief summary just cause from the EL 921 is listed below.

Is there a rule?

Is the rule a reasonable rule?

Is the rule consistently and equitably enforced?

Was a thorough investigation completed? Before administering the discipline, management must make an investigation to determine whether the employee committed the offense. Management must ensure that its investigation is thorough and objective. This is the employee's day in court privilege. Employees have the right to know with reasonable detail what the charges are and to be given a reasonable opportunity to defend themselves before the discipline is initiated.

Was the severity of the discipline reasonably related to the infraction itself and in line with that usually administered, as well as to the seriousness of the employee's past record?

Was the disciplinary action taken in a timely manner?

One of the most difficult areas of discipline is the determination of the amount or type of discipline to be issued for a particular offense.

Bobby Donelson via 21st Century Postal Worker

Management's Attendance Policies – Ignoring FMLA? Many of our APWU members have been adversely affected by the Postal Service’s recent attendance policy changes. Most of the postal districts now require employees to call an 800 number to report an absence, speak to someone who does not directly supervise them, provide explanations for their absences that far exceed the requirements of the Employee & Labor Relations Manual (ELM), and submit documentation for Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA) absences to a manager who, again, has little or no actual knowledge of that employee because the FMLA “Coordinator” does not supervise the employee.  by APWU NBA Sam Lisenbe
Settlement of outstanding issues surrounding management's use of the Resource Management Database (RMD) and enterprise Resource Management System (eRMS), which track leave usage. Settlement provides that these systems do not alter or reduce letter carriers' contractual rights. (NALC)
USPS New Call-ln Number for Leave Request Begins -Postal Employees in various parts of the nation are being told to call in the "old way' until implementation of the new call in system. 2/7/04

APWU's Step 4 grievances on the subject--Interactive Voice Recognition System (IVR) Dispute and Resource Management Database (RMD) Dispute [pdf]

Check out "General Summary of the Duties for a

city carrier| mail handler |manual distribution clerk| automation clerk| automated flat sorter clerk | spbs clerk. The summaries are designed to assist treating physicians in their recommendations for appropriate work restrictions. 10/21/03

USPS & APWU resolve Resource Management Database (RMD) issues-This settlement resolves many of the issues related to management’s implementation of these systems, including Privacy Act issues, multiple call-in requirements, medical documentation to protect the interests of USPS and fixed numbers of absences for triggering discipline.-APWU 4/3/03
Enterprise Resource Management System (eRMS) is an upgraded version of RMD. It is a web-based program. eRMS is a management tool. The Enterprise Resource Management System (eRMS) is a tool used to:

The eRMS application maintains and tracks employee data that relates to leave. Specific information gathered includes:

1. Help management record, track and manage attendance

2. Produce reports.

3. Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) absences, hours used in an aggregate total as well as per individual FMLA case, instances used per FMLA case and work hours in the last 26 pay periods.

4. Sick Leave/Dependent Care (SLDC) hours used in the leave year.

5. Number of unscheduled, non-FMLA absences in the last 90, 180 and 365 days.

6. All scheduled, unscheduled and denied leave.

7. Administrative actions and grievance data related to attendance.

he system Manager’s Employee Schedules

Perform the following tasks from the Scheduling Data area in the Employee Administration Window to create or update employee schedules:

1. Create, edit or view a base schedule.

2. Create, edit or view a current week schedule.

3. Create, edit or view the next week schedule.

The attendance control person will ask two questions when an employee calls in for leave

1. Is the absence a result of a job related condition? (If the employee answers "Yes", apply your local standard operating procedure for reporting job-related injuries.)

2. Is this leave FMLA? ( If the employee answers “Yes” then Further questions may be necessary to determine whether an absence has the potential for protection under the FMLA statute).

The attendance control person will also make two determinations.

1. Is documentation required?

2. Is the absences scheduled?

eRMS programs also generates many reports and local union officials should ask for them when the USPS issues needless discipline or request unnecessary

Individual Employee Reports (Single Employee Group Reports) The Reports under this heading, Single Employee Group Reports, return information on the selected employee only.

1. Employee Leave - Daily Number or Average of particular leaves used by a date range

2. Absence Analysis by Leave Year (3972)

3. 3973 Military Leave Control Report by Fiscal Year

4. Employee Key Indicators- Lists key information regarding the employee’s leave history. Information such as sick leave balance and YTD usage, annual leave balance and YTD usage, unscheduled leaves by date and type, unscheduled lates by date and administration action summary by date will be displayed on the report

5. Time and Attendance Reconciliation - Lists the discrepancies between eRMS entries and Time and Attendance data by date

6. Payroll Reconciliation - Lists the discrepancies between eRMS entries and Payroll data by date

7. Hours Use - Lists hours usage by day or in summary for the date range

8. Hours Use Analysis - Summarizes the hours used for a range of days. Shows each leave category and the categories percentage as compared to work hours

Multiple Employee Reports (Multiple Employee Group Reports) The Reports under this heading, Multiple Employee Group Reports, return information on all employees within the finance number/pay location or subgroup parameters selected.

1. Employee Leave - Daily Number, Aggregate, Analysis, Averages of particular leaves used by a date range. Also includes the Denied Leave Report (only report which includes denied leave)

2. Sick/FMLA Leave Usage - Sick Leave and FMLA Leave Usage by Employee, by Date. Includes EOD, Sick Leave, FMLA separated into Sick, LWOP, COP, IOD, SLDC, and SLDC (nonFMLA)

3. Unscheduled Occurrences - Unscheduled and No Unscheduled Occurrence

4. Leave Summary by Day - Number of instances and hours of leave by date

5. % Leave Requiring Doc - Percentage of leave entered requiring documentation. Report includes the total # of entries, the # that required documentation and the % thereof by day

6. Leave Usage Log - How much and what leave was used; report includes Employee Name, ID, Leave Start and End times, Request and Leave Date, Leave Type, Hours, Scheduled Y or N and Doc Req Y or N

7. Call In Log

8. Employee Ready for Review - Employees whose Review is due

9. PS3971 - Print, or reprint, all, or a selection of, 3971’s for a particular date range of leave entry

10. FMLA Eligibility - Reports of employees who may be eligible for FMLA, who may not be eligible for FMLA, and those who have a high usage of FMLA leave

11. FMLA Reports - Approaching FMLA Re-Certification Report, Pending Documentation Due Report, Pub 71 Six Month Report , The button says Approaching FMLA Recert

12. Time and Attendance Reconciliation- List of discrepancies between eRMS and Time and Attendance data

13. Payroll Reconciliation - List of discrepancies between eRMS and Payroll data

14. Messages - Lists of, or a count of, system-generated messages

15. Message Hierarchy & Role Definition - Message Role Hierarchy Report, Pay Location/Role Cross Reference Report, Unassigned

16. Mandatory Roles Report.

17. Schedules - Employee Schedules

18. Hours Use Analysis - Summarizes the hours used for a range of days. Shows each leave category and the categories percentage as compared to work hours


What federal/postal executives and managers don't know about the Family and Medical Leave Act could get them sued. (also an article written by the author  is posted on PR)

The FMLA Handbook: A Union Guide to the Family and Medical Leave Act by Robert M. Schwartz

The FMLA: Understanding The Family And

Medical Leave Act-Will Aitchison 2003



Pub 71 Notice for Employees Requesting FMLA Leave. PDF (5/05)
Employee and Labor Relations Manual (ELM) (USPS)
ELM Section 355 Light Duty Assignments


PS 3971-Request for Leave
Light Duty Request Form

News Articles

Postal Service rolls out new pay system-TACS replaces five antiquated timekeeping systems Federal Computer Week (9/2/03)
Study: Workers should stay home when sick-American workers should stop trying to be heroes and just stay home when they're sick — it could be cheaper for their employers, according to a study. Workers who come in sick cost their employers an average of $255 each per year. Sick employees have difficulty concentrating, work more slowly and have to repeat tasks, bogging down productivity, according to the study. (They also get their co-workers sick, but those costs were not counted in the study.) (4/24/04)

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