Between 50,000 and 60,000 United States Postal Service (Service) employees, or 7 to 8 percent of the Service's workforce, occupied a modified work assignment during fiscal year 2008. The Service must provide these assignments to employees with workplace injuries if work is available to perform within their medical restrictions. Historically, the Service has returned employees to work as soon as possible, partly to reduce its costs for workers' compensation. In 2006, the Service initiated a program, the National Reassessment Process (NRP), to ensure that modified work assignments are medically suitable and necessary to carry out the Service's mission. This requested report addresses (1) the goal of the program, (2) how it is being implemented, and (3) the program's status and outcomes. To perform its work, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) analyzed data and documentation, visited four districts selected to illustrate a range of conditions, and interviewed Service officials.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|United States Postal Service||1. To enhance the NRP's implementation, the Postmaster General should articulate senior management's commitment to the NRP by setting program milestones, including a timeline for all districts to complete the NRP to improve program management and enhance accountability and transparency.|
|United States Postal Service||2. To enhance the NRP's implementation, the Postmaster General should, when deployed, use the Service's new claims management process to track and measure whether the NRP's goals are being met, including tracking the number of employees placed in necessary and medically suitable modified work assignments to improve program management and enhance accountability and transparency.|
|United States Postal Service||3. To enhance the NRP's implementation, the Postmaster General should fully disclose any limitations that apply to NRP-related cost savings reported to the Congress and others to improve program management and enhance accountability and transparency.|