Postal Service Needs Stricter Control Over Employee Absences

GGD-82-58: Published: May 21, 1982. Publicly Released: May 21, 1982.

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GAO undertook this review to determine how the Postal Service could increase the availability of its work force during scheduled work hours and to identify the consequences of employee absences.

GAO found that supervisors generally are not effective in controlling absences. They do not keep good records and fail to identify numerous employees with attendance problems. These tasks are made more difficult by frequent work location changes. GAO found that time away from work averaged about 50 days a year per employee. About 40 days were paid absences at an annual cost of $3,000 per employee. The other 10 days were unpaid absences. Absence control is emphasized by postal management and the paid leave rate of 40 days is comparable to the rate experienced by other Federal agencies. GAO found that the total extent of unscheduled absences was not being monitored by management.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Postmaster General should require that standards for identifying attendance problems be established and that identification and monitoring responsibilities be placed with a control office at large postal facilities. The control office should notify supervisors of employees with potential attendance problems and ensure that disciplinary actions are timely and progressively severe.

    Agency Affected: United States Postal Service

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Postmaster General should direct that performance goals for controlling unscheduled absenteeism be established and that management reports on leave usage be supplemented with information showing the extent of unscheduled absenteeism.

    Agency Affected: United States Postal Service

 

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