Postal Worker Loses $5.5 Million Suit Over USPS Failure To Credit Leave While Receiving OWCP Benefits

Although Palmer’s allegations are not entirely clear, he apparently alleges that USPS failed to credit him for annual and sick leave accrued while he was on leave without pay and receiving OWCP benefits. “An employee receiving OWCP benefits is not entitled to accrue sick or annual leave if he is solely in a non-pay status.”

The same applies to any postal employee in a non-pay status for 80 hours or more. For example, an employee who earns 8 hours of annual leave and 4 hours of sick leave per pay period and will lose if he or she exceeds 80 hours in non-pay (LWOP) status.  

Excerpts from the case :

In November 1998, Palmer, a mail processing clerk in a United States Postal Service (“USPS”) facility in Capitol Heights, Maryland, suffered an on-the-job injury. Palmer was placed on non-pay status and received Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (“OWCP”) benefits. After partially recovering from his injury, Palmer accepted an offer of a modified job assignment and returned to work on July 23, 2005.

In February 2007, Palmer filed an appeal with the Board, claiming he was entitled to, but did not accrue annual and sick leave during the time he was on leave without pay status. On March 14, 2007, an Administrative Judge of the Board ordered Palmer to submit evidence and argument to support Board jurisdiction over his appeal. Palmer filed a response, arguing that jurisdiction was proper under the USPS Employee and Labor Relations Manual. USPS filed a response, arguing that the Board lacks jurisdiction over appeals such as Palmer’s. On March 30, 2007, the Administrative Judge dismissed Palmer’s appeal for lack of jurisdiction. Palmer petitioned the Board for review, requesting damages of $5.5 million in addition to the previously requested award of annual and sick leave. On August 22, 2007, the Board denied Palmer’s petition for review, and the Administrative Judge’s initial decision became final. This appeal followed.

read entire case- Palmer vs MSPB