USPS OIG Recommends Better Oversight Of Postal Employees Unscheduled Absenteeism

USPS Could Have Save $4 Million

Excerpts from the USPS OIG report:

This report presents the results of our audit of Postal Service Absenteeism (Project Number 09YG016HM000). Our overall audit objective was to determine if the Postal
Service’s absenteeism rate is comparable with the rate of the private and federal sectors and, if not, to determine the potential causes. We were also asked to determine if sick leave usage by Postal Service employees in the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) was less than that of employees in the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) who are 3 to 4 years from retirement. This report responds to a request from the Deputy Postmaster General and Chief Operating Officer to review Postal Service absenteeism. This audit addresses financial risk

The Postal Service’s total absenteeism rate for major benefits is comparable to the total absenteeism rate of the federal sector, but higher than that of the civilian sector.1 We identified two potential causes for the difference between the Postal Service and the civilian sector absenteeism rates — the Postal Service offers more leave benefits than the civilian sector and they offer fewer incentives for employees to accumulate leave. In addition, we determined some supervisors were not complying with attendance control procedures related to unscheduled absences. We also determined that CSRS and FERS retirees use comparable amounts of sick leave in the last years before they retire

Comparison to Federal and Civilian Sectors
The Postal Service’s total absenteeism rate for major benefits2 is comparable to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) rate for federal employees. However, it was
almost double the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) rate for private industry and approximately 4 percent higher than the state and local government rate.3 The higher
absenteeism rates of the Postal Service and the federal sector may be due to the fact that, comparatively, they offer more leave benefits (more hours) and fewer incentives to employees to bank leave. We are not making any recommendations regarding these findings.

Controls Over Unscheduled Absences
We estimated supervisors did not comply with Postal Service policies and procedures regarding unscheduled absences for at least 11,468 employees nationwide. We
identified several causes, including lack of training, supervisors not using the Enterprise Resource Management System (eRMS) as the system of record for controlling
unscheduled absences, and insufficient oversight. In addition, Labor Relations indicated they did not have adequate resources to monitor attendance control. As a
result, overtime was used to cover 17.4 percent of the unscheduled sick leave4 and the Postal Service could have saved $4.0 million in overtime costs by following proper attendance control procedures during the 12-month audit period.5 Postal Service officials are responsible for administering the leave program and controlling
unscheduled absences, while its employees are responsible for avoiding these types of absences.6 Labor Relations professionals stated they provided supervisors with training on attendance control and advice on proper corrective actions; however, opportunities exist to improve oversight and reduce unscheduled absences.

We recommend the area vice presidents require district managers to:
1. Provide refresher training to supervisors to ensure they are aware of unscheduled leave policies and procedures and the importance of following them.
2. Establish and implement internal controls to evaluate and ensure supervisors’ compliance with unscheduled leave policies and procedures (for example,
performance and accountability measures or periodic management reviews).
3. Require supervisors and labor relations specialists to use the Enterprise Resource Management System to record employees’ inability to meet position requirements,
corrective actions taken, and grievance data.

Management’s Comments
Management generally agreed with the findings and recommendations. Specifically, seven of the eight areas agreed with all three recommendations. Great Lakes area
management agreed with recommendations one and two, but disagreed with recommendation three. They stated based on current Memorandums of Understanding
(MOUs) with various unions, supervisors, and labor relations specialists should not document corrective actions and grievance data in an open system, because this could
be viewed as a violation. Additionally, Eastern and Southeast area management commented on the accuracy of our monetary impact. Management’s comments, in their
entirety, are included in Appendix E. Some area vice presidents also provided extensive documentation that supports their corrective actions. Although we have not
included this information in this report, it is available upon request.

Evaluation of Management’s Comments
Overall, the OIG considers management’s comments responsive to the recommendations, and the corrective actions should resolve the issues identified in the
report. Regarding the Great Lakes area management’s disagreement to recommendation 3, we reviewed the MOUs in question and determined they do not
preclude management from implementing this recommendation. Additionally, the Privacy Act restricts disclosure of personally identifiable information by agencies and
prescribes penalties for improper disclosure. 7 Our recommendations are consistent with the routine uses contained in Postal Service policy, as all Postal Service
employees are responsible for protecting such information, and its use would not excuse improper dissemination that could arise from access and use.8
The OIG considers all three recommendations significant, and therefore requires OIG concurrence before closure. Consequently, the OIG requests written confirmation when corrective actions are completed. These recommendations should not be closed in the Postal Service follow-up tracking system until the OIG provides written confirmation that the recommendations can be closed.

see full report: USPS OIG Audit Report – Postal Service Absenteeism

15 thoughts on “USPS OIG Recommends Better Oversight Of Postal Employees Unscheduled Absenteeism

  1. Sick leave in my office has become the new incudental leave. Management has cut the complement to the bone. They are denying most if not all incidental leave. And our union can’t seem to win. Just so tired of the games and politics.

  2. The supervisors in our office are fed up with doing all the work involved in issuing discipline because the employees end up filing a grievance, it goes to Labor Relations and LR reduces the discipline. Nothing ever sticks. I know of one employee who had over 160 unscheduled absences in one year, and still has a job with USPS. I know of another employee that has been brought back on “Last Chance” status – six times!! As long as labor continues to reduce the discipline, the emloyees will continue to abuse the sick leave because they know they can get away with it. And no, I’m not management—I’m a clerk and am fed up with the sorry people that get to keep their jobs.

  3. Until they come out with a written “rule” of when a employee can be discilplined, forget about it.

  4. What a joke…private industry, is MUCH more flexible, in most instances, with absences due to sickness or emergencies. The morale in private industry is MUCH higher than it is in the Postal Service. A happy employee is a healthy employee and is one who does not take leave as often. Postal environments, especially P&DC’s, are TOXIC and UNHEALTHY in MANY WAY…emotionally, psychologically, and physically. Private industry employees are treated with RESPECT and DIGNITY by BUSINESS PROFESSIONALS…..There is nothing professional about postal management. Most of them can barely speak english, have controlling attitudes and above all, are racist. Most managers, who came from craft, were the WORST OF THE WORST and now they are telling hard working employees how to do a job they, as craft employees, could never and would never do.


  5. This is the equivalent to the spending of time and money to investigate the abused use of the uniform allowance. May we be blessed with an oig opinion on that? By the way….why in the Wide World of Sports,, is a law enforcement branch of anything doing this. This should be GAO’s jurisdiction.

  6. In issuing this report, the OIG should have began by comparing their sick leave to the ‘civilian sector’……….what?………….case closed.

    These guys are absolute terrorists.

    I love this quote from the final paragraph:
    “3, we reviewed the MOUs in question and determined they do not
    preclude management from implementing this recommendation”

    It’s not up to the OIG to ‘determine’ or create policy – let’s see what an arbitrator or judge has to say….jeez! The OIG’s ‘determining’ is as worthless as Homer Simpson’s – or mine……

  7. Fire’em ALL, see if they do it Mcdonalds, the second most job the are qualified for!!!!!!!!!! LOL

    Damn over paid paperboys and 7-11 cashiers

  8. Sick leave is earned and if you don’t use it you lose it when you retire. Most people feel that they should be able to use it at will. The Postal Service should save the money they spend on trying to fire people for being sick. ALLOW EMPLOYEES TO USE SICK LEAVE WHENEVER THEY CHOOSE. Find something else to hold employees accountable for instead of just being at work.

  9. Hey they didn’t complain when I earned it all !
    Now that I needed due to aging situations…. Oh my I committed a crime.

    I’ll tell you why:
    Because it’s dollar bill—there’ s nothing in there $$$ to back up the sick leave
    Until it’s Used—- then they cry & Whine!
    It reminds me of the Wimpie in the Popeye cartoon–I’ll glad you pay you Tuesday–for a hamburger “Today” !

  10. USPS management encourages craft employees to get FMLA so absenses won’t hurt their sick leave percentages. This makes their jobs easier but solves nothing. Nice job. Just another example of how they avoid doing their jobs so they can micro manage craft employees.

    Carriers should go to evaluated routes. This would eliminate most of the floor supervisors. It would result in higher morale, huge money savings, and yes …BETTER SERVICE. Wow, remember that idea?

  11. The OIG (Office of Incompetent Goofs) did not look into management use of sick leave. If they did you would read where managers abuse sick leave on a regular basis.

  12. It’s amazing that the people that do these studies never look at the fact that postal service is a 6 day per week operation. It’s a grueling schedule, with no days off sometimes. They hassle you when you try to schedule doctor’s appointments, etc. etc. Yet they harp on attendance and what not. Not to mention that you touch that mail with all those germs, you are outside most of the time and they have this belief that you are not supposed to get sick.

  13. How much did the OIG spend coming up with this? $4million is money out of the petty cash drawer. People are sick and they use sick leave. What’s so complicated about that?

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