During the last 2 years the NPMHU and the USPS negotiated a series of MOUs to address COVID-19 and the impact that it had on all postal employees. These MOUs included the following:
- Additional MHA Leave
- Temporary MHA Exception Periods
- Transfer MOU-COVID-19
- Step 3/Arbitration Extensions
- A Liberal Leave Policy was also in effect regarding COVID-19 related absences. The Postal Service agreed that COVID-19 related absences would be considered “scheduled” and could not be used as a basis for discipline.
These MOUs and the Liberal Leave Policy were first negotiated in March 2020 and were extended ten Times (in May/July/September/December-2020, in March/June/September/December-2021, and in February/March-2022) and are scheduled to expire on May 6, 2022. The NPMHU and the USPS have mutually agreed not to extend the COVID-19 MOUs, and the Postal Service has unilaterally decided not to extend the Liberal Leave Policy.
The USPS also has decided to cease operations of its COVID Command center. This means that the Postal Service will stop the recording and reporting of COVID-19 cases. The NPMHU believes that this decision is premature in that COVID-19 numbers and hospitalizations are slowly rising as of early May 2022, and there are many medical experts predicting a summer surge of COVID infections. The NPMHU will continue to monitor the situation and take any action that may be necessary.