Career employees earn 4 hours of sick leave for a full pay period (80 hours), or at a rate of 5 percent. Some career employees are currently taking sick leave at approximately the same rate, liquidating their leave bank. The Postal Service’s sick leave absence rate (absenteeism) was 4.3 percent in 2008. This seems high compared to the 1.1 percent rate the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports for employees in the private sector and 1.7 percent rate for employees in the federal sector. So why was the Postal Service’s rate higher? A 2007 private sector survey by CCH Incorporated indicates two thirds (66 percent) of U.S. workers who take unscheduled sick leave do so for reasons other than physical illness, such as personal and/or family issues, stress, or entitlement. Is the Postal Service’s sick leave rate higher because employees call in sick for reasons other than physical illness?

The Postal Service cannot ignore the $1.4 billion spent on sick leave last year and recognizes that the best person to do the job is the person hired for it rather than a replacement. The Postal Service identified approximately 35,000 employees in 2008 with 20 or more unscheduled absences. That means 5 percent of its employees have nearly one absence for every paycheck! What is the impact on morale to the other 640,026 career employees? Is there something the Postal Service can do to reduce the number of unscheduled absences? We’d like to know how you feel about these issues.

Please take our survey.

This blog topic is hosted by OIG Human Capital.

Comments (156)

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  • anon

    Hey Nice Article! Thanks for the good information Keep up the good posting.

    Nov 15, 2011
  • anon

    Good post with good information. I'm not sure I agree with everything that was mentioned but it definitely has made me think.

    Dec 07, 2011
  • anon

    Very useful content, keep up the good work. Awesome info, very useful will take into consideration.. I like this info you are providing here, keep up the good work..

    Dec 20, 2011
  • anon

    Thanks for the info.. Great insight :)

    Jan 06, 2012
  • anon

    Worthwhile read. I'm not sure I agree with everything that was mentioned but it definitely has given me something to consider.

    Jan 30, 2012
  • anon

    Are you willfully misreading the report on absenteeism? You didn't use the absense rate numbers and your postal percentage is not a part of the report at all. It must be from another source entirely, with possibly an entirely different way of looking at things. Manipulating numbers is another way of lying.

    Apr 03, 2012


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