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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