New Memorandum Establishes Additional Paid Leave for Mail Handler Assistants

Captioned below is a new MOU signed by the NPMHU and the Postal Service establishing on a temporary basis additional paid leave for Mail Handler Assistant (MHA) employees.

As you know, unlike career mail handlers, MHAs currently are not eligible for paid sick leave or paid administrative leave. Under this MOU, however, for the 60-day duration of this Memorandum of Understanding, MHAs will be permitted to use up to 80 hours of paid leave for use in conjunction with the COVID-19 pandemic in any of the following circumstances:

  • The employee has contracted COVID-19 or has been directly exposed to someone with COVID-19;

  • The employee has visited any country identified by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as a level-3 country (currently China, South Korea, Iran, Italy, and most other European countries) within 14 days of the employee returning to work;

  • The employee returns from a trip on a cruise ship in which an identified case of COVID-19 was detected on board the ship;

  • The employee is experiencing symptoms generally associated with COVID-19; or

  • Consistent with the recently signed MOU Re: Temporary Expanded Sick Leave for Dependent Care During COVID-19.

Leave used for the above purposes will be coded as TACS Code 086, Other Paid Leave.

Except for emergencies, paid leave for the circumstances listed above must be requested on PS Form 3971, Request for or Notification of Absence, and approved in advance by the appropriate supervisor. Employees should designate the reason for the absence as “Other” and write “LC19” in the space provided.

An exception to the advance approval requirement is made for emergencies and unexpected illness; however, in these situations, the MHA must notify the appropriate postal authorities as soon as possible as to the emergency or illness and the expected duration of the absence. As soon as possible after return to duty, MHAs must submit PS Form 3971 and explain the reason for the emergency or illness to their supervisor.

The supervisor is responsible for approving or disapproving the application for paid leave by signing PS Form 3971, a copy of which is given to the MHA. If a supervisor does not approve an application for leave, the disapproved block on PS Form 3971 is checked and the reasons must be noted in writing in the space provided. AWOL determinations must be similarly noted.

The total 80-hour allotment will not be increased due to a MHA’s break in service during the 60-day period. Any remaining leave balance at the end of the 60-day period is forfeited.

Please do not hesitate to contact the National CAD should you have any questions.

A copy of this MOU has been posted here. (pdf)