The career, professional and personal development of members is a cornerstone of The LEAGUE’S mission. That’s why The LEAGUE is committed to being “The Education Organization”.
League Launches Major Additions to eLEAGUE Learning Center
Access requires your Member ID Number and the first 2 letters of your last name, if you do not know your ID number contact your State Branch President. Click here for State Branch Contact information.
How to pull your data for AEWL (PDF), Print the Variance pages. Contact your Branch President or Area Coordinator with the data or bring it to your next League 3 digit meeting and they can determine what your AEWL will be for leveling purposes in October 2014.
ASK THE LEAGUE
A regular feature where LEAGUE experts address the concerns of Postmasters and other members.
Q. Please explain the proper utilization of Postmaster Relief Employees (PMR’s)
A. As defined, “A Postmaster Relief/Leave Replacement (PMR) is a non-career hourly rate employee who performs as a relief or leave replacement during the absence of a postmaster in an EAS-16 or below Post Office.” (ELM 419.31)
Supplemental Workforce - Non-bargaining employees; “Leave replacements - noncareer hourly rate employees with unlimited term appointments who are employed as relief or leave replacements during the absence of postmasters.” (ELM 432.12)
Utilization - In offices without an assigned career clerk, a temporary postmaster relief/leave replacement may be used for a limited term to relieve the postmaster during all hours the Post Office is open to the public. The postmaster may be in a duty status or off duty during the period of absence. (ASM 123.42)
The USPS position is clear that PMR’s are not to be utilized to cover the absence of bargaining unit employees (PTF’s) or to supplement the PM/OIC when he/she is in the office. Simply put, PMR’s are to be utilized in Section 123.4 of the Administrative Support Manual.
Recruitment of Postmaster Relief/Leave Replacement can be referenced in EL-312; Section 234.72
Q. Are nonexempt Postmasters in travel status when they leave home to attend training? From the time they leave home?
A. That would depend upon the duration of the training and the distance of travel to attend. Handbook F-21, Section 260 governs.
If it is an 8 hour training within local commute distance (50 miles), then travel to/from is not compensible.
If it is an 8 hour training outside of local commute distance (50 miles), then it is compensible for non-exempt employees.
If the training is less than 8 hours, the non-exempt employee's workday schedule would be adjusted such that the travel to and from the training, and the training itself would encompass the eight hour schedule.
Q. How can I review POS Counts?
A. Log into EDW, then follow the paths below:
For Retail Floor Stock Counts: Accounting>Shared Reports>SAFR>Segmented Inventory Accountability>SIA Count Compliance
For Unit Cash Reserve Counts: Accounting>Shared Reports>SAFR>Segmented Inventory Accountability>SIA Unit Cash Reserve Count
For Unit Reserve Stock Counts: Accounting>Shared Reports>SAFR>Segmented Inventory Accountability>SIA Unit Reserve Stock Count
For Clerk Cash Retained Counts: Accounting>Shared Reports>SAFR>Segmented Inventory Accountability>Closing Accountabilities>Retail Associate (RA) Monthly Count Analysis
Q. Is it more beneficial to retire before January and will you still benefit with receipt of a lump sum? I was of the understanding that you had to work past January 1st.
A.The response from Mark Strong, Executive Vice President and author of the NPA tip of the Month:
As long as you separate before January 17 and work through September 30th you will get you NPA/PFP amount in a lump sum. You do not have to work until Jan 1 to get it, just through September 30th.
Q. There is some confusion in the field regarding travel for PMRs taking OIC assignments. With fewer clerks available, more PMRs are likely to be assigned as OICs, some of them in offices at some distance. Currently, when a Postmaster takes an OIC assignment, he/she is entitled to travel allowance for miles over his/regular commute. Does this policy apply to PMRs also?
A.The response from Corporate Accounting:
The Postmaster Reliefs are often assigned more than one permanent duty station on their Form 50. Travel to each office on the Form 50 is considered normal commute. You must look at the Form 50 and determine permanent duty station assignment(s). If the PMR is assigned only one permanent duty station and is assigned to go to other offices to help out, then the commute is to and from permanent duty station and travel over and above commute is local travel paid at the current EMA rate and reimbursed through eTravel.
Q. Once the posting freeze for EAS positions has been lifted, how much of a pay decrease would I receive if I decided to take a voluntary downgrade from my busy level 20 office to a postmaster in a quieter level 18 office? I am currently making $56,700 annually.
A. An employee who voluntarily changes to a lower level position is immediately reduced to the lower salary grade, and the salary is set at the maximum of the lower position’s salary range. If the current salary is below the maximum of the lower position’s salary range (as in this case), there is no reduction in salary. In no case may the salary be set above the maximum for the new grade or above the employee’s salary immediately before the change. This change to the downgrade pay rules became effective in May of 2004.
The following is the source in the ELM:
415.51 Voluntary Change to Lower Grade.
Q. I'm an exempt postmaster, and I worked the last two Saturdays during the rural count and my POOM won't let me take a full day of Comp time. Is he correct with this?
A.Technically, yes he is! There is no such thing as Comp time. You do not "bank" hours for personal leave. You are required to work at times outside of your normal schedule, but as an exempt postmaster you ARE entitled to personal leave.
Personal leave can be used for absences up to four hours in a workday, and is self approved. The hours are recorded as work hours, and you must maintain a Form 3971, and most districts require one to be submitted to the POOM. Anything over four hours will usually require you to take a full day of leave of some type. Again, there is no banking or Comp time, this leave is completely independent of your working any hours outside of your normal schedule.
Personal leave abuse can be dealt with just like sick leave, etc, so do not abuse this privilege.
Q. Where can I find out how much vacation I earn as a new Postmaster? How much leave can I carry over as a Postmaster? Where can I find the pay scale?
A. New Postmasters receive 4 hours of vacation leave per pay period within their first 3 years. From 3 to 15 years they earn 6 hours per pay period. After 15 years they earn 8 hours per pay period. Postmasters can carry over 560 hours of annual leave each year. Visit The LEAGUE’s Pay For Performance webpage to view the EAS Pay Package and 2008 pay schedule.
Q. How do customers get off national mailing lists?.
A.Write to the Direct Marketing Preference Service. This is a free service good for five years and works on national mail only, not local mail and only for residential addresses.
MAIL PREFERENCE SERVICE
DIRECT MARKETING ASSOC
PO BOX 9008
FARMINGDALE NY 11735-9008
Q. Does your district require you to print out your eBuy certifications from bills you pay in "post-certify"? If so, would you rather print out one page with the pertinent information on it and save that second page that just prints the writing from the bottom of the eBuy web page?
A. Here's how you can save 50% of the paper and ink used for this purpose:
Once you get the message that the bill has been certified for payment, put your cursor just before the first letter in that certification statement at the top of the page. Hold your left click button on the mouse down while you scroll to the right then all the way down to where your name (and date) shows as the certifying person, but no further. Let go of the left button, click on File>Print at the top to open the printer dialog box, then click on "selection" under "Print what?". Then click on Apply and Print and you should get just one page that has all the data you'll need. Staple it to the bill and file away.
Q Over the last year the League received many inquiries from Postmasters regarding the personal use of postal equipment, specifically, personal computers.
A. The following is the response the League received from Special Agent Olihovik regarding this issue; below is a link to a Word document Limited Personal Use that gives a great explanation of the Postal Service's policy, and the EL 660, a management instruction which covers this issue. Please read these carefully. You'll see that there is no outright prohibition of personal use Postal Service owned computers; however, there are restrictions on its use which are clearly delineated in the documents. With most other things, a little common sense goes a long way. Limited personal use yes, but don't overdo it. Read the letter, follow the instructions and you should stay out of trouble.
Limited Personal Use
EL-660-2004-31 Limited Personal Use of Government Office Equipment Including Information Technology
Q. If you are an EAS 21 or above you need to know what goes into the expense line that will affect your TOE and your PFP/NPA. So what are some lines that you should check at the start and then at the finish?
A. One very important line is your rent line if the Post Office is not government owned. Your District may not have given you the correct allotment to cover this charge. As a Postmaster you have no control over the yearly rent charge. So this could be a mitigating factor if your district does not make you whole at the end of the year. You need to check your lease for the yearly amount due in FY 07. This is usually charged in equal monthly payments to the rent line. What should you do if you are over charged in this line? You need to call your facilities to see if they paid the taxes on the property. You need to get this figure and document. This is normal for the USPS to pay the taxes at odd intervals during the fiscal year. This could be a substantial amount of money that will affect your NPA. If you deduct this amount from your expense lines you TOE certainly will be impacted. If it moves the cell to the right by just one then the mitigating factor should be accepted.
Another line to check is accident charges and workers compensation lines. Postmaster again have little control over these line items and if you are new to the office you certainly should not have an accident from years past charged against you. This again would be a mitigating factor for a new Postmaster.
Two important expense lines that EAS 21 and above should be aware of........
Q. What other resource can I use to find businesses to contact?
A. Postmasters are required to complete 2 Business Connect activities each month, which may be difficult if they have exhausted all their local resources. Following, is a tip to help you “grow the business” - a link that provides you with a listing of ALL the businesses in your zip area. It is amazing to see names of businesses that you had no idea existed. Please keep in mind that you do not have to limit your “activities” to your specific 5-digit area. Many of the smaller offices have few or no businesses. Connect with businesses in other towns, or with business owners in your own family, at church, at school, in the Lions Club, Rotary and other.
Q. Is the cost of ReadyPost charged against my Financial Performance Report (FPR) and impacting my TOE ?
A. Technically - no. ReadyPost is a Revenue offset. Your revenue is reduced the amount the product costs the postal service. There is a 50-70% markup on ReadyPost so until you sell enough to offset the original purchase it is hurting your retail revenue line. After you reach the breakeven point the rest of the revenue is a positive increase.
**Here is a heads-up. Headquarters has a big ReadyPost push for the Fall and Holidays. Hopefully yours did not come in September. You would not have enough time to sell the product and breakeven, and if on the border of a cell, this could have a negative impact on your retail revenue and hurt FY/07 PFP. Review your September FPR.
Q. My husband has been diagnosed with a serious disease and I will have to provide care for him at home as well as transporting him for various treatments. Why is my district telling me I can only use 80 hours of my sick leave for this, when it qualifies as an FMLA case?
A. Eligible employees must be allowed a total of up to 12 workweeks of leave within a Postal Service leave year for qualified FMLA cases, and the above scenario would qualify. However, the 12 weeks is of leave, not specifically sick leave. According to the ELM, section 515.42 Absences that qualify as FMLA leave may be charged as annual leave, sick leave, continuation of pay, or leave without pay, or a combination of these. Leave is charged consistent with current leave policies.
Since the FMLA leave is charged consistent with current leave policies, ELM section 513.12 Sick Leave for Dependent Care would apply:
A limited amount of sick leave may also be used to provide for the medical needs of a family member. Nonbargaining unit employees 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.
So yes, the Postmaster would only be able to use 80 hours of sick leave each leave year for this purpose, but you can use up to 10 additional weeks of other type leave or LWOP, and still be protected by FMLA, once the case is approved as an FMLA case.
For further information, go to http://blue.usps.gov/hrisp/comp/family_md_lve.htm or the applicable ELM section 515 Absence for Family Care or Illness of Employee.
Q. How do you determine delivery points to apply to the PS150?
A. Count the number of "Active" PO Boxes and verify that this number is in your edit book. This number should include all "No Fee" Boxes in use and caller service.
Count the number of delivery points on the carrier case. Verify this number with the route edit book. If different reconcile with carrier or physical verification of the route. This would be for "all" types of carrier delivery. (City, Rural, CDS). Count the number of active PS1527 General Delivery customers. General Delivery must have an active PS1527 on file to qualify.
Q. Re:counting po boxes for form 150. Your answer says to count "active" boxes per your edit book. What that doesn't take into account is that a number of vacant boxes are receiving mail to be forwarded AND you must do maintenance on these boxes. IN THE PAST, you counted all boxes in a section if there were some rented boxes in that section since you were having to service that section. The point is - the vacant boxes are not just sitting there not costing you time.
A. To clarify; your statement might be true but the instructions are specific in the area of crediting on the PS150. Only "Active" PO Boxes which are defined on the instructions and in a postal policy statement as those "Rented" or "No Fee" may be used on the PS150. It would be the same for Rural Customers also. You only get credit for "Actual" Delivery for Rural and CDS customers on the PS150. This is the rub as City Delivery gets credit for "Possible Delivery" and on top of that get more "factor crediting" (1.33 vs. 1.00) for each delivery.
We are continuing to work on the inequity of this established process. The League is leading the way in finding a fairer system. Your input added some over looked information. However, we do not think that a vacant box will ever receive credit on the PS150.