The Industrial Relations Department has been fielding multiple questions on the amount of annual leave someone would be compensated for when they retire. Attached are the two MOUs the APWU entered into with the Postal Service on annual leave during the pandemic.
Any employee can carryover up to 520 hours of earned annual leave into the 2022 Leave Year that begins on January 1, 2022. If an employee has more than 520 hours of earned annual leave and has used less than 75 hours of sick leave in the previous year, the employee may “exchange” (sell) up to 80 hours of annual leave back to the Postal Service. Employees who are eligible to exchange leave for cash will be notified prior to the “open season” or leave exchange which runs from November 15 to December 15 of each year. (See ELM Section 512.63).
Employees who are retiring are governed by ELM Section 512.7. 512.732.b states in part, “Bargaining unit employees may receive a lump sum leave payment… for accumulated annual leave carried over from the previous year; accrued annual leave for the year in which they separate, up to the carryover maximum for their bargaining unit….”
Currently, the maximum number of hours allowed to be carried over is 520 hours, therefore employees can be paid that amount. In an email exchange between current Vice-President of Labor Relations, Katherine Attridge and Industrial Relations Director Vance Zimmerman when the MOUs were first implemented for leave year 2020 to Leave year 2021, Director Zimmerman posed the question to the Postal Service of whether or not an employee would be compensated for up to 520 hours of leave carried over and any leave accrued in the current leave year. Ms. Attridge responded with, “I agree as well. The MOUs specifically state no other provisions related to leave carryover will be changed, so if 520 is the amount they carryover, then 520 should be the amount they should be compensated for.” It was also confirmed that the Postal Service reprogrammed their payroll systems to account for the increased carryover amounts and to make the proper terminal leave payments.