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COVID-19—The Saga Continues
By Dioenis D. Perez
Long Island, NY, NAPS Branch 202 Vice President and Postmaster of Syosset
I prayed back in May when my first column was published concerning COVID-19 that, by now, the pandemic would be over. I pray again when this column is published that we are past this terrible scourge.
More than likely, though, we won’t be. It saddens me to say that, but behaviors are difficult to correct. As EAS employees, we know this to be true. However, we must continue to set the example for all our employees, every day, until we all are safe and life returns to “normal.”
Praise needs to be given to USPS Headquarters for how it has continued to provide us with an environment that’s safe as possible in which to work. USPS Headquarters has provided face masks, gloves, disinfectant wipes, spray bottles, social distancing, split shifts/tours, window counter sneeze guards, many educational service talks and liberal leave policies. Thank you!
However, USPS Headquarters can do more. In a prior consultative meeting between NAPS and the USPS, NAPS proposed extending the 560-hour annual leave carry-over rule. Unfortunately, USPS Headquarters disregarded the idea. I’ve received emails like crazy on this topic. The time in which we are living and working is difficult; nobody is taking vacation time. We are working for the American public.
Today, life for EAS employees is full of stress, responsibilities and goals to achieve, regardless of the pandemic. A smart move by USPS Headquarters would be to extend the 560-hour annual leave carry-over rule; it’s to the Postal Service’s benefit.
Why wouldn’t you want EAS employees at work nearly every day in these difficult times? Parcels are over SPLY by anywhere from 40% to 200% on any given day, depending on the area, while workplace complement is way down due to injuries, COVID-19, prime-time vacation period and the lack of CCAs. I know of offices that will be entering prime time with one-third of their routes not covered; it may be even higher.
Is this any time to have EAS employees sitting home on vacation because they are maxed out and don’t want to lose their annual leave? In the real business world, companies would appreciate it, then compensate you to come to work—especially when employees are just asking to extend annual leave carry-over so they don’t lose time already earned. If this was my business, I would want all hands on deck, every day, to run this business.
Perhaps the new PMG can make this happen: Consider unlimited carry-over of annual leave and allow you to cash out when you retire. It’s to the company’s benefit and more—it’s smart business!