IG: Postal Service improperly records 'stand-by time'

Monday - 8/29/2011, 12:21pm EDT

By Jolie Lee
Federal News Radio

As the Postal Services faces $9 billion in losses this year and considers eliminating 220,000 jobs, an Inspector General report found USPS is not properly overseeing payments of "stand-by time."

Unionized employees are entitled to be paid while in the facility during low-volume mail times, equipment breakdowns or other unexpected events.

"At a time when the Postal Service is challenged to operate more efficiently, monitoring stand-by time is critical to ensuring their ability to effectively manage the workforce," the report said.

Stand-by time has decreased over the last two years, from more than 1.2 million hours in fiscal year 2009 to 875,540 hours in FY 2010 and 170,666 in the first six month of FY 2011.

The Office of the IG investigated the two processing and distribution centers with the most reported stand-by hours — Dallas and Detroit. In these plants, managers did not always properly record the hours, the report said.

The IG recommended the Postal Service do a nationwide assessment of stand-by time.