First things first

Because the Postal Service is committed to the health and well-being of its workforce, the organization is reminding employees of certain rights they have under the recently enacted Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

The legislation is meant to ensure that workers are not forced to choose between their paychecks and the public health measures needed to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

The act sets guidelines for the federal government to follow when providing full-time and part-time employees with paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave for qualifying reasons related to COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

These provisions will apply from April 1 through the end of the year.

One key provision is that employers may not discharge, discipline or otherwise discriminate against any employee who lawfully takes this leave as a result of being unable to work — including telework — because of qualifying reasons related to COVID-19.

Another key provision: The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division has the authority to investigate and enforce compliance with the act.

As part of the nation’s critical infrastructure, the Postal Service is continuing normal operations during the coronavirus pandemic.

Additional information about the act and the Postal Service’s pandemic response can be found on the COVID-19 LiteBlue page.

Safe service

A new USPS video explains the changes customers will see in Post Office retail lobbies as the organization continues its efforts to promote social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic.

Help Us Serve You: Post Offices,” which lasts one minute, explains that the organization limits the number of customers inside a Post Office to 10 at one time.

The animated video also illustrates the distance customers should stand apart from each other while waiting in line, along with other protective measures that customers may see at retail counters, such as plastic barriers.

Another newly released video illustrates pandemic safety procedures for letter carriers.

USPS is sharing both videos on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social media channels.

Pandemic stress

The Postal Service wants employees to take care of their health and well-being as they continue to adjust to challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic.

To help employees cope, the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) has introduced “Coronavirus: Prepare without Panic,” a series of information sheets.

The sheets cover several topics, including becoming more comfortable with uncertainty, anxiety, encouraging resilience, displaying grace under pressure and physical exercise for stress relief.

Information about COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, and tips to stay healthy are also provided.

The sheets are available on EAP4YOU.com, the EAP’s website, in the “Monthly Focus” section.

EAP is a voluntary, confidential, free service that can be accessed through the EAP site, online apps, in person or by calling 800-327-4968 (TTY: 877-492-7341).

In our hands

“News Quiz” is a weekly feature that lets you test your knowledge of recent Link stories. The correct answers appear at the end.

1. True or false: Hand sanitizers and disinfecting wipes that don’t contain alcohol aren’t regulated as hazardous materials and are allowed in the mailstream.

a) True
b) False

2. Who oversees employee matters for COVID-19 Response Command, the group leading the Postal Service’s response to the coronavirus pandemic?

a) Joshua Colin, acting processing and maintenance operations vice president
b) Mark Guilfoil, supply management vice president
c) Steve Monteith, marketing vice president
d) Simon Storey, employee resource management vice president

3. Fill in the blank: The Postal Service is encouraging employees to sign up for (blank) to avoid potential network disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

a) Direct deposit
b) Every Door Direct Mail
c) Informed Delivery
d) Link mobile

4. Where do Jasmine Wright and Pamela Kirkland, two journalists who count Gwen Ifill as a mentor, currently work?

a) CNN
b) Fox News Channel
c) NBC News
d) PBS

5. How much did Little Rock, AR, Letter Carrier Andy Derrick tip the employees of a favorite restaurant, Doe’s Eat Place, as they faced the pandemic shutdown?

a) $2.20
b) $22
c) $220
d) $2,200

Answers: 1) a. 2) d. 3) a. 4) a. 5) d.