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A Summer Refresher Course
By Chuck Mulidore
NAPS Executive Vice President
Welcome, June! Summertime is in the air and while schools may be out for summer, this month I wanted to give a summer refresher course on a couple issues about which we regularly hear at NAPS Headquarters. So, take notes and be prepared for a test at the end!
One such issue is personal leave or personal absence time. This is referenced in the Employee and Labor Relations Manual (ELM), Section 519.72:
“Nonbargaining unit exempt employees are paid on a salary basis. This means that under the FLSA they are not considered to be hourly rate employees. Therefore, partial day absences are paid the same as work time. While exempt employees are expected to work a full day, they may request time off to attend to personal matters during the workday, including time off due to conditions covered by FMLA. If approved, the time off is “personal absence time” and is not charged to annual leave, sick leave, or LWOP.”
ELM 519.732, “Nonbargaining Unit Partial-Day Absences,” further states:
“Normally, personal absence time is limited to no more than half an employee’s workday. However, when an unanticipated need for time off occurs after the employee reports to work and the employee is allowed to leave work but is unable to return, the half-day limit does not apply. For example, when an employee gets sick after 2 hours at work and must leave for the remaining 6 hours of the workday, the entire 6 hours is treated as personal absence time. However, a manager may disapprove personal leave requests when necessary to carry out their responsibilities to control work hours as set forth in 519.75. In this regard, managers may require the use of an appropriate leave category, for example, sick leave in the case of partial-day absences for FMLA-covered conditions.”
Of course, there is ELM 519.733, “Directed to Work:”
“When an exempt employee is directed to work a full day on a holiday or other full day in addition to normal workdays, the supervisor may grant a full day of personal absence without charging it to official leave.”
This is a critical piece of information for EAS employees who are required to work a full day or holiday. You can request a full day of personal absence not chargeable to your leave!
Another issue that often comes up is how a promoted supervisor leaves the craft union once they become an EAS employee. This is governed by the ELM in section 925.122(c), “Special Circumstances:”
“An employee whose documented position is not within a recognized bargaining unit (such as a supervisor), but who is having dues withheld for a labor organization that is recognized as a bargaining agent (see 923a), may voluntarily cancel the dues withholding authorization, effective the first full pay period after the request for cancellation is received at the HRSSC. The PS Form 1188 should be annotated to reflect the employee’s current job title and effective date.”
In other words, once you have been promoted to a titled, supervisory EAS position, you may leave the union at any time, provided you note your current position title and effective date of your promotion on the Form 1188 you would submit to the Human Resources Shared Services Center (HRSSC) in Greensboro, NC.
Unfortunately, another issue about which we receive calls involves members who work at USPS Headquarters or in a field position who report to USPS Headquarters and are told, at times, they cannot be represented by NAPS or even join NAPS. We are not sure why these individuals misrepresent the facts, but the truth of the matter is this: Any EAS field, Headquarters, district or area employee can join NAPS and be represented by NAPS in any disciplinary matter.
Such participation is governed by ELM Section 912.1, “Right to Participation:”
“Postal personnel have the right, freely and without fear of penalty or reprisal, to form, join, or assist a supervisory or managerial organization or to refrain from any such activity. Such personnel are protected in the exercise of such rights. Such rights include participation in the management of the organization and acting as organization representative and may include the presentation of the organization’s views to Postal Service officials, officials of the Executive Branch, the Congress, or other appropriate authority.”
ELM Section 912.2, “Right to Membership,” also addresses this issue:
“No interference, restraint, coercion, or discrimination to encourage or discourage membership in such an organization shall be effected in the Postal Service.”
The right to have NAPS represent members in matters that may become disciplinary in nature is governed by ELM 651.2, “Representation:”
“Subject to prohibitions regarding Executive and Administrative Schedule (EAS)/Craft representation, employees have free choice of representation. Representatives designated by employees, if postal employees and if otherwise in a duty status, are granted a reasonable amount of official time to respond to notices of proposed disciplinary action, to prepare for and represent the employee at a hearing held in accordance with 652.24, and/or to represent an employee who has appealed a letter of warning or emergency placement in a nonduty status in accordance with 652.4. Employees covered under these provisions may request representation during investigative questioning if the employee has a reasonable belief disciplinary action may ensue.”
There you have it! Use the rights you are granted as an EAS employee by the ELM. These comprise requesting personal absence time or filling out a Form 1188 to leave the union on promotion, pursuing your right to join and actively participate in NAPS, as well as to be represented by NAPS in any matters that may be disciplinary in nature—no matter your EAS role in the Postal Service.
These are the foundation of a PhD postal career!