Emergency federal employee leave

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.

The COVID-19 Employee Resources pages on Blue and LiteBlue have additional information.

Finazzo retires

Krista Finazzo, the Central Area retail and delivery operations vice president who recently served on a special assignment working on the Postal Service’s new 10-year plan, retired April 30 after 27 years with the organization.

“Krista has served the Postal Service with dedication, passion and laser focus on our mission in every position she has held,” Postmaster General Louis DeJoy wrote in a memo announcing her retirement.

Finazzo began her postal career as a letter carrier in Michigan, moving on to several positions in the organization and receiving numerous honors along the way, including Engagement Leader of the Year.

While serving as Greater Michigan District manager, she led teams that regularly ranked among the nation’s best in customer satisfaction and overall performance.

Finazzo also spearheaded the #PostalProud initiative.

As Central’s vice president, she led the organizational redesign for the new area while simultaneously handling the unprecedented challenges of a historic national election, last year’s busy holiday season and the coronavirus pandemic.

Finazzo’s final assignment involved improving the new-employee experience under the Delivering for America 10-year plan.

“She was a compassionate, curious leader — and a tireless advocate for our organization, our employees, our industry and all our customers,” DeJoy wrote.

One to grow on

Post Offices across the nation are holding events in May for small-business customers as part of the Postal Service’s annual Grow Your Business Day campaign.

This year’s theme is “Your Business Is Our Business,” emphasizing the role USPS plays in helping millions of small businesses deliver goods to their customers.

“Since the earliest days of our nation, the Postal Service has been a valued partner with small businesses, with millions of them relying on USPS for their mailing and shipping needs,” said Mary Anderson, small-business engagement director at USPS headquarters in Washington, DC. “However, there are millions of business customers that may not be aware of how USPS can help them succeed. We’re focused on doing what we can to help save Main Street, especially as they pivot and recover.”

Many Post Offices will hold lobby events this month to showcase how postal products and services can help small businesses increase their growth. Usps.com has a list of events.

In addition to sharing information about the Postal Service, Grow Your Business Day events offer an opportunity for Postmasters, station managers and supervisors to network with their small-business customers.

Sustainability excellence

Postal worker, Louis DeJoy speak next to alternative fuel pumping station

The Postal Service is still seeking nominations for the 2020 USPS Sustainability Excellence Awards.

The annual awards recognize areas, districts, facilities, teams and individuals who help foster sustainable workplaces.

A recent call to action asks nominators to share stories from fiscal year 2020 (Oct. 1, 2019-Sept. 30, 2020) that demonstrate innovation, leadership and measurable effects on sustainability and environmental goals.

The deadline to submit nominations is Friday May 21.

The Sustainability Blue page has the call for nominations, as well as a list of recipients from previous years.