Most federal employers are known for having great benefits, and since USPS is a federal employer, it follows that their benefits would be better than average as well.
Sick leave is a part of employer’s benefits plans- so what is USPS’ sick leave policy, and how do you know when to use it? Here is what I discovered.
USPS Sick Leave Policy
Sick leave is a part of USPS’ benefits policy that allows employees to take time off for various medical reasons that apply to the employee or the employee’s immediate family. Sick leave is accrued at the end of every bi-weekly pay period at a rate of 4 hours per pay period for full-time employees and 1 hour per 20 hours worked for part-time employees.
There’s so much more to understand about USPS’ sick leave policy and what it applies to, so be sure to read the rest of the article to learn more!
What Is the Difference Between Sick Leave and Other Types Of Leave?
Sick leave, as denoted in the name, is the type of leave provided to cover the absences of an employee due to a medical reason.
These medical reasons do not just have to apply to an employee, however.
Sick leave can also be used to care for a family member who is ill, such as a parent, child, spouse, sibling, or another dependent.
Other types of leave tend to cover things like personal absences, vacations, and holidays, whereas sick leave is only approved for instances caused by a medical issue.
Sick leave also accrues differently than other types of leave, typically at a faster rate than others, and is unpaid as opposed to annual leave, which is a type of paid time off.
How Do You Accrue Sick Leave With USPS?
USPS allows different leave times depending on the type of employee, how much that employee works, and their seniority within the company.
However, sick leave is not accrued depending on seniority, only on the type of employee and how often they work.
All sick time is accrued at the end of the bi-weekly pay period.
Full-time employees accrue 4 hours of sick leave every pay period, whereas part-time employees accrue an hour of sick time for every 20 hours worked.
Part-time employees are not credited with any leave earned in excess of 104 hours, or 13 days, per year.
If you want to learn more about the accrual of sick leave with USPS and acceptable instances in which to use it, you can find their full policy here.
When Can You Use Sick Leave With USPS?
There are a myriad of circumstances that apply to the sick leave policy, but a general rule of thumb is that sick leave can be used whenever there is a medical reason for an absence.
Sick leave for an employee can be used in an instance of illness, injury, or contraction of a contagious disease.
Sick leave can also be used to cover absences due to an appointment that is only available during hours where an employee would typically work, such as a medical, dental, or optical examination or treatment.
Other instances where sick leave can be used include medical treatment for a disabled veteran, caregiving for a dependent who is suffering from a medical issue that would exclude the employee from working, and anything to do with a death/funeral.
USPS does not operate under a restricted sick leave policy, however, they do use a “deems desirable” policy.
This means that for any sick leave absence, a supervisor can request a statement or some form of documentation to support the employee’s request for sick leave.
You can read an article written by a USPS employee advocate on the “deems desirable” policy here.
How Do You Use Sick Leave at USPS?
To use sick leave as a USPS employee, you have several options available to you.
The best choice, when possible, is to fill out a PS Form 3971 in advance to turn it into your supervisor.
If you’re requesting the absence to take care of a dependent who is ill, you must document that in the “remarks” section of the form.
The supervisor is then responsible for approving or denying the form and giving you a copy once a decision has been made.
Most of the time, however, you have no way of knowing in advance when you’ll be sick!
If on the morning you’re supposed to work, you find yourself too sick to attend, you can always call your supervisor and let them know what’s happening.
Your supervisor will then fill out the form for you and (typically) approve it, so there’s documentation of your absence.