Over the past few years, the U.S. Postal Service has implemented sweeping changes to streamline operations, reduce costs, and improve staff flexibilities. One such change was the creation of two new employee categories: the non-traditional full-time (NTFT) and postal support employee (PSE) positions. The Postal Service created the new employee categories to better align employees’ schedules with the work available. The NTFT position is a bid position—a position that Postal Service employees can bid on—with a regular weekly schedule of 30 to 48 hours. Management can change start times and off days from week to week for this position. The PSE position is a part-time non-career position that may be scheduled for as few as 2 hours a day or as many as 40 or more hours in a work week. This position may not exceed 360 calendar days per appointment.

Patrick R. Donahoe, the Postal Service’s Postmaster General and Chief Executive Officer, asked the Office of Inspector General (OIG) to assess the use of the NTFT and PSE positions. We analyzed mail volumes, workhours, and trends for fiscal years (FY) 2010 through 2012 at the 50 largest processing and distribution centers, performed analyses, and surveyed and interviewed plant managers. We found that while Postal Service managers showed improvement in increasing the use of both positions, they had not hired to the fullest extent allowed by the contract. Use of the positions was hindered by:

  • Employees’ reluctance to bid on NTFT positions of less than 40 hours per week.
  • Difficulties in staffing and scheduling NTFT employees, which was largely attributed to lack of supervisor training.
  • Lack of available positions in some plants.

We concluded that if the Postal Service hired PSEs up to contract limits, the agency could have reduced labor and overtime costs in FY 2012 by more than $30.6 million. What is your experience with the new employee positions and how they are used? Let us know on our blog.

Read More