With an organization as large as the U.S. Postal Service, it’s essential to move mail under any contingency, including when postal workers go on leave. Making sure the work gets done requires efficiently shifting personnel, which may mean USPS incurs additional costs, such as having to pay overtime to other employees.

Sometimes workers take leave without giving prior notice, and if they can’t be granted unscheduled leave status, they may be designated as Absence Without Leave (AWOL). Put simply, AWOL is a non-pay status that happens when USPS determines no kind of leave, even leave without pay, can be granted. With the onset of the pandemic in 2020, the Postal Service worked with its unions to implement a liberal leave policy, as long as employees could provide documentation. Despite that, monthly AWOL hours rose, doubling from April 2020 to September 2020.

In a recent report, OIG auditors assessed the Postal Service’s management of employees in AWOL status from fiscal years 2018 through 2020. The goal was to identify opportunities to address AWOL status in a timely manner and manage costs. While we understand USPS has faced challenges during the pandemic, we identified two areas for improvement.

Specifically, management didn’t always properly record AWOL hours, nor always collect or maintain supporting documentation for AWOL employees. Additionally, guidance for discipline of AWOL employees varied from district to district, causing confusion and potentially leading to managers and supervisors following different procedures. To address the situation, we made eight recommendations; Postal Service management generally agreed with all.

Have you had to take sudden leave from your job? What happened?

Comments (11)

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  • anon

    Recently, I was deemed AWOL even though I was marked SDO for that day and was never told verbally or received in writing that I was to go to work that morning. The only thing that was previously was concerning my OJT.

    Mar 11, 2022
  • anon

    If this doesn’t highlight once and for all why you should work a second of overtime for this postal plantation nothing will. There is little to no net to catch you when you get injured, you are hunted down by the likes of the OIG enabled postal Management when you attempt to rest an injury, what little net there is for when the inevitable happens and you are injured is all completely rigged and manipulated by the USPS. Your doctors are threatened, you are threatened, you have no rights. Look up the National Reassessment Process EEOC decision against the USPS in 2018. Despite this half billion dollar lesson, the USPS continues the exact same practices. You need to keep your human pack mule duties restricted to 8 hours per day. The USPS is notorious for being completely over staffed in the managerial department while understaffed in the actual mail moving business department.

    Jan 22, 2022
  • anon

    What were the 8 recommendations?

    Jan 20, 2022
  • anon

    Terry that’s what I wanna know .

    Jun 21, 2022
  • anon

    I was hurt on the job while casing mail. I followed all correct procedures, went to workers comp. Dr. , filed CA1, did all ecomp paperwork. It happened on Dec. 20th and I still have yet to receive COP

    Jan 19, 2022
  • anon

    So glad you asked! Six months ago, I couldn't take a shower, get dressed, or case mail without experiencing pain in my right shoulder. I knew it was work related because I don't do anything but work, since we are so short handed. I filed a CA-2 last July. I have not heard from them about my case.

    Jan 18, 2022
  • anon

    There is no real medical care or recuperation as an injured postal worker. You’re just a broken down pack mule to them. This is why you don’t work overtime for these people. Make sure to let all of your co-workers know that there is no net or reward for being a postal hero, it’s all just consequences of not using common sense.

    Jan 22, 2022
  • anon

    Recently tested positive for Covid. Had AL last week of December. I had to use 3 days or lose. It was changed to sick leave and 1 day LWOP. For the last 2 weeks of December. Nobody knows what they are doing nobody gives any info on what to do for Covid leave. Also they marked me 4 days unscheduled leave and I also lost 3 days AL because it rolled into pay period 2 got triple screwed.

    Jan 17, 2022
  • anon

    You need to get in touch with the Merit System Protection board anytime your pay is manipulated.

    Jan 22, 2022
  • anon

    And how do you do that.

    Jan 27, 2022
  • anon

    Yes. I was admitted to a mental health facility. My employer was forbearing. The USPS should thoroughly consider the aftermath when its computer systems malfunction. My pharmacy had not and I suffered.

    Jan 17, 2022

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