May 10, 2021
The Postal Service wants to you understand a new form of leave that has been created for federal workers, including USPS employees, in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
The new leave, emergency federal employee leave (EFEL), was established under the American Rescue Plan Act, a law that took effect March 11.
The U.S. Office of Personnel Management, which is overseeing implementation of EFEL, finalized its guidance on the leave April 29.
Under the American Rescue Plan Act, full-time federal employees are eligible to receive up to 600 hours of paid leave when they are unable to work (including telework) because of a qualifying COVID-19-related reason.
Part-time employees are eligible for EFEL in an amount that is the proportional equivalent based on their regular work schedules, not to exceed 600 hours.
Additionally, the law imposes a $2,800 compensation cap for EFEL per pay period for full-time employees and a lower proportional cap for part-time employees based on their normal schedules. This limits the number of hours this leave is available per pay period to employees who normally earn more than the cap per pay period.
EFEL will be available to postal employees through Sept. 30 or until the fund managed by OPM to reimburse agencies for the cost of this leave is exhausted. EFEL is conditional on money being available in the fund.
Employees must substitute with other available paid leave or use leave without pay and repay the Postal Service for the cost of any of their EFEL hours for which USPS is not reimbursed by OPM.
Postal Service employees should also be aware that their used EFEL hours will be subtracted from the creditable service used to compute their federal civilian retirement annuities.
USPS employees who are seeking to use EFEL must submit PS Form 3971, Request for or Notification of Absence, indicating EFEL and for which of the qualifying reasons they must take leave; a COVID-19 Emergency Federal Employee Leave (EFEL) Employee Notification and Leave Request Form; and an Employee Agreement in Connection With Emergency Federal Employee Leave (EFEL) Provided Under Section 4001 of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.
Any employee who used EFEL prior to May 1 is required to supply these documents retroactively.
- Industrial Relations Director Zimmerman Writes to OPM for Clarification on EFEL Guidelines (May 10, 2021)
- USPS Memo and Documents on EFEL OPM Guidance (May 1, 2021)