Tony D. McKinnon Sr.
PSE Pay, Sunday Premium
Mike Morris, Director
Clarification: Because the words “PSE” and “Sunday Premium” are both included in the title of this article, some have mistakenly drawn the conclusion that PSEs are entitled to Sunday premium pay. PSEs, like TEs before them, are not entitled to Sunday premium pay. The PSE Memorandum of Understanding that begins on page 279 of the 2010-20015 Collective Bargaining Agreement clearly excludes Sunday Premium pay for PSEs and nothing in this article indicates PSEs are entitled to Sunday Premium pay. That will, of course, be a goal in the next round of negotiations as we seek to improve the pay and benefits for all PSEs.
(This article appeared in the May/June 2012 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine.)
For many years part-time flexibles ( PTFS ) have questioned why their overtime rates of pay were calculated differently than full-time employees. Now we have Postal Support Employees (PSEs), and their overtime rates are calculated differently as well. I have received many questions from the field on how the rates are calculated. A little background is necessary in order to fully understand the calculations.
PSE Overtime Pay Calculations
Article 11 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement provides for a higher hourly rate for PTFs to compensate them for holiday pay. Unlike full-time regulars (FTRs) and part-time regulars (PTRs), PTFs are not paid a holiday premium when they work on holidays. Instead, PTFs receive a higher hourly rate to compensate them for the 10 holidays. (See Article 11 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.)
When Transitional Employees (TEs) were created in 1991, their hourly rate was tied to PTF rates, so the concept of including holiday pay in the hourly rate continued. In the 1994 contract arbitration, Arbitrator Jack Clarke broke the link to PTF rates. He gave TEs their own schedule of hourly rates, but retained the concept of including holiday pay in hourly rates for TEs.
Now that TEs have been eliminated, many of the pay and leave provisions have been carried over for PSEs, including holiday pay.
The hourly rate for PTFs is computed by dividing the annual rate of FTRs by 2,000 hours. For Sunday premium and overtime, the rate is calculated by dividing the annual rate by 2,080 (which excludes the 80 hours holiday premium).
When Arbitrator Clarke separated the TEs from the PTFs and gave the TEs their own rates, the method for computing overtime did not change. The USPS multiplied the hourly rate by 2,000 to get an annual rate. For overtime purposes, USPS divided the annual rate by 2,080 to get the basic hourly rate used to calculate OT.
When we eliminated TEs and casuals, many of the pay and benefit rules were carried forward to the PSEs. The OT calculations remain unchanged.
Therefore, to calculate PSE overtime, take $14.60/hour and multiply by 2,000 to get $29,200. Then divide $29,200 by 2,080 to get $14.0385 (carry out to five digits and round to four). To get the OT rate, multiply $14.0385 by 150 percent and the result is $21.06 per hour.
Please note that 150 percent of $14.60 would be $21.90 per hour. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires that employees be paid no less than 150 percent for work over 40 hours in a week, so management must pay that amount for overtime for PSEs. Pay adjustments will show up as an FLSA adjustment at the bottom of employees’ pay stub. Since the FLSA hourly rate may include night differential, the FLSA adjustment ends up being a complicated calculation that can produce unexpected results.
Sunday Premium for NTFT Assignments
Article 8.6 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement requires that, “Each employee whose regular work schedule includes a period of service, any part of which is within the period commencing at midnight Saturday and ending at midnight Sunday, shall be paid extra compensation at the rate of 25 percent of the employee’s base hourly rate of compensation for each hour of work performed during that period of service.”
Article 8.4.F states that, “Wherever two or more overtime or premium rates may appear applicable to the same hour or hours worked by an employee, there shall be no pyramiding or adding together of such overtime or premium rates and only the higher of the employee’s applicable rates shall apply.”
Under the previous agreement, since all full-time employees were scheduled for 8 hours, if an employee went over 8 hours of work on a Sunday, they were paid at the overtime rate (150 percent), which because of the no-pyramiding rule, was substituted for the Sunday premium rate (125 percent).
Language was included in the Employee and Labor Relations Manual (ELM) which stated, properly at that time, that no employee could be paid more than eight hours of Sunday Premium pay in a day. With the advent of NTFT duty assignments and the possibility of employees working at the straight time rate for more than eight hours on a Sunday, the rule in the ELM regarding the eight-hour limit on Sunday Premium pay became incorrect. Some field managers refused to comply with the Article 8.6 language because of the language in the ELM that was no longer applicable to our new contract.
This issue has been addressed at the national level and all parties agree that an employee must receive Sunday Premium pay for all straight-time hours worked (up to 12) on Sunday in accordance with Article 8.6.
A fix has been made to the payroll system. The USPS told us it would be in place by Pay Period 8, which was paid on April 13. If you were not compensated appropriately, contact your steward immediately.
The postal service has developed a new form 3971, notification of Absence, for employees to use when making leave requests.
The most significant changes deal with Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requests. Employees should pay close attention to the back of the Form 3971, which now includes a section allowing employees to alert the Postal Service that their absence may be covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act. If the leave request relates to an ongoing FMLA condition, the employee should notate the FMLA case number to speed up the handling of the leave request. If it is for a new FMLA condition, the employee should check the appropriate box, which will trigger the issuance of the forms the employee needs for the USPS to process and evaluate their FMLA eligibility and coverage. The new form now includes all categories of potential FMLA coverage, including provisions relating to family members in the military that were implemented in 2008 and 2010.
With the advent of the new form, local management is no longer a part of the FMLA approval process. The USPS has assigned that authority to Human Resources Shared Services Center (HRSSC), which is located in Greensboro, NC.
All communication and documentation related to FMLA should be directed to HRSSC. The FMLA information packets employees receive will provide contact information and guidelines.
Employees should still follow the normal call-in procedures when reporting absences. However, if the absence is potentially a FMLA request, the determination will be made by HRSSC.
Employees should not include medical information on the Form 3971; there is a notation on the back of the new Form 3971 reminding them of that fact.