On May 7, Industrial Relations Director Vance Zimmerman wrote a letter to Kathleen McGettigan, Acting Director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), requesting guidance on the interpretation of certain guidelines for Emergency Federal Employment Leave (EFEL).
Director Zimmerman’s letter follows OPM’s release of the EFEL guidelines on April 29. Since the release of the guidelines, management adopted overly restrictive interpretations for when EFEL could be used by Postal Service workers.
In his letter, Director Zimmerman asked whether the Postal Service would be mandated to provide EFEL to employees to receive and recover from COVID-19 vaccinations or whether OPM would provide management the discretion to decide whether this leave is offered.
Director Zimmerman also asked for clarification on whether Tour 1 and Tour 3 workers with child care responsibilities would be able to use EFEL to cover night shift hours, so they may be able to sleep at night and care for their child during the day.
“We are disappointed that management has taken an overly restrictive interpretation of OPM’s EFEL guidelines, and look forward to Acting Director McGettigan’s prompt response,” said Director Zimmerman. “The APWU has been a leader in encouraging postal employees to get vaccinated, and providing employees with administrative leave would be a great step in supporting the effort to vaccinate as many postal employees as possible.”
“Postal workers, many of them parents, have been on the front lines throughout the pandemic, including during difficult night shifts, to provide vital service to the people of the country,” said President Dimondstein. “We are optimistic that OPM will provide a clarification to these issues that allow postal workers the ability to use the leave that they deserve.”