Objective

Our objective was to assess the Postal Service’s effectiveness of processing selected personnel actions and identify potential process improvements. We limited our scope to selected late resignation and reassignment personnel actions.

Personnel actions are changes to an employee’s status such as hiring, reassignment, promotion, benefit changes, separations, and retirements. Local Human Resources personnel, as well as supervisors and managers across the organization, are responsible for initiating actions by providing the relevant information online to the Human Resources Shared Services Center (HRSSC). The HRSSC processes the action and produces a Postal Service Form 50, Notification of Personnel Action (Form 50). The Form 50 has multiple purposes, including updating Postal Service employee and payroll records, notifying the employee of the status change, and documenting the salary and service history of the employee in their official personnel folder.

Personnel actions processed on or after day 13 of the effective pay period are considered late and may result in a manual pay adjustment. When actions are not processed timely, the Postal Service may incur additional time and monetary costs to process payroll adjustments or review late separations. According to Payroll Operations Branch management, the Postal Service processed about 175,000 late personnel actions during the 12-month period ending May 7, 2021, that required either a payroll adjustment or additional review. Postal Service management has only tracked this metric for about a year, so trending is not available.

We analyzed late actions and coordinated with the Postal Service to identify the types of personnel actions on which to focus based on volume, which actions were most problematic for the Payroll Operations Branch, and the potential opportunity for improvement. Based on this analysis, we selected resignation and reassignment personnel actions.

We focused on 150 selected resignation and reassignment late personnel actions from a total of 45,193 actions in fiscal year (FY) 2020 and identified opportunities to improve the timeliness of processing those types of actions.

Findings

The Postal Service did not always effectively process selected personnel actions. We reviewed a judgmental sample of 150 late resignation and reassignment personnel actions processed during FY 2020 to determine the reasons for the late submissions and found that:

  • HRSSC management had not clearly defined or communicated the timeline for processing personnel actions at the HRSSC. As a result, field partners were not always aware of the number of days allowed for HRSSC processing. The number of days allotted for each party involved can impact whether actions are processed on time.
  • Field partners did not always comply with established procedures or know what their responsibilities were or how to perform them; or made avoidable errors when submitting personnel actions to the HRSSC.

Additionally, we found that HRSSC management did not gather or monitor data when field partners submitted actions to them after the effective date. With monitoring, the HRSSC can identify trends in late submissions that may indicate their field partners would benefit from additional guidance and support or the need to reexamine the time required to process actions.

The Postal Service incurs additional time and costs to process payroll adjustments or review late separations. Without management’s consideration of opportunities to improve the timeliness of processing personnel actions, the risk of committing resources for additional work remains. Other potential operational impacts of not timely processing personnel actions include delayed staffing decisions because a separated employee remains on the employment records and separated employees retaining access to computer and facility resources.

Recommendations

We recommended management:

  • Engage with their field partners to re-evaluate the timeline for processing personnel actions including the time allowed for processing at the HRSSC and adjust as warranted.
  • Update training to include the comprehensive timeline of personnel actions processing and documentation requirements, and provide to all Postal Service personnel responsible for submitting personnel actions.
  • Monitor data regarding the timeliness of personnel actions processing including the causes of late submissions, and address issues identified.

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Comments (5)

  • anon

    The north augusta post office is in dire need of revamping. Management has not been able to hire enough and are running the, elder/senior employees that do care about the future of the usps, in the ground. The usps will not last much longer like this.

    Oct 06, 2021
  • anon

    That is a great tip particularly to those fresh to the blogosphere. Brief but very precise information… Appreciate your sharing this one. A must read article!

    Jul 05, 2022
  • anon

    As my spouse has worked dedicate; I see the way supervisors and managers un-motivate by doing thing to Cover their own A$$ expectations aren't realistic and although its a federal job.... it doesn't mean expectations are above quality of labor hours over quantity of work done... Leadership and mentoring should be re-evaluated in the south florida region ! Nip the bad weeds out and let hard working people be the best that they can do... the mind and body can not function without rest 9days straight of a 12 hour day; is never okay, even for some one who loves the job! The USPS must do better for ALL their carriers. And take out lazy management level staff.

    Sep 08, 2021
  • anon

    I have been physically separated from the USPS and now with the DoD for about a year. However on several occasions I was paid, I have a collection for medical insurance that was paid thru the DoD, and to add to that I am still in TACS at the Scranton PA processing plant. Can someone PLEASE help me resolve this? Egan won't talk to me they tell me to talk to my manager. He has done everything he knows and even elevated the issue. Still here I am unresolved.... Regards John

    Aug 25, 2021
  • anon

    Me too John.....but my case is a lot more complicated than yours sounds. I was "administratively separated" NEVER received an SF8 though! USPS does not follow any policies and makes up rules as they go.

    Aug 27, 2021