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National Pre-Arbitration Settlement Reached on Compensation for Retroactive Relief Days Worked

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The issue in this grievance concerns the proper compensation for rural carriers when rural routes are adjusted retroactively, increasing the actual standard hours and consequently changing the route classification to one with more relief days. Specifically, the parties’ dispute is whether rural carriers are entitled to additional premium compensation in accordance with Articles 8.5 and 9.2.C.5, for scheduled work days that are retroactively changed to relief days.

There are two instances in which the dispute is at issue:

  • A route is evaluated and scheduled as a J route and is later retroactively adjusted to a K route.
  • A route is evaluated and scheduled as an H route and is later retroactively adjusted to a J route or a K route.

In either of the above cases, the carrier worked on regular scheduled work days that were later converted to relief days. When the retroactive adjustments are processed, USPS policy has always been to enter DACA Code “R” for any days worked that are now being re-classified as relief days. The DACA Code “R” then generated “X” days which were credited to the carrier. In most of these cases, there is also an invoice or Letter of Demand generated because the weekly evaluation of the route was adjusted downward. (i.e. a route was retroactively adjusted from a 46J to a 43K-carrier was overpaid 3 hours per week and an invoice is generated for the overpayment).

For many years, this union was successful at the lower levels of the grievance process in getting carriers paid an additional 50% of the daily rate of pay for each of the X days that were credited in a retroactive adjustment. The additional pay was usually applied toward any invoices or Letters of Demand that the carrier owed.

In 2009, this came to a screeching halt when USPS Headquarters took a different position in the remedy in an Area Arbitration case. USPS refused to pay the additional 50% for the retroactive relief days. Their position is that the premium pay (150% or X Day plus 50%) only applies to those instances in which a regular carrier is required to work their relief day “due to the unavailability of a leave replacement”(Article 8.5.A) and does not apply to retroactive adjustments when the carrier worked because it was not a scheduled relief day at the time. This grievance was filed by the union. The grievance was denied at Step 4 and appealed to National Arbitration in 2015.


Click here to view the arbitration settlement letter.

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