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January 1, 2021 Update from Dan Heins, UPMA National President

Posted by Frank Augustosky on 01/01/21

Friday Message - January 1, 2021

Happy New Year, everyone!   

It is my hope and prayer that you all were able to spend some time with family and friends, even with all the restrictions that are in place.    It certainly did make things much more challenging than in the past, that is for sure.    We were able to connect with our family virtually, but I certainly hope that we will be able to gather in person sometime soon and for sure for the holiday season next year.   

With the start of the new year, I wanted to make sure that you are all aware that the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act (FFCRA) expired on December 31, 2020.    At this time, it is unclear if the provisions of this act will be extended with the potential legislation that is pending before Congress and I am sure the Postal Service will keep us all informed if that does happen.  However, the changes that this brings about are summarized in this message that I recently received from Postal Service Headquarters:   A federal law that provides workers with emergency paid sick leave and other protections during the coronavirus pandemic will soon expire.   The Families First Coronavirus Relief Act (FFCRA) requires employers, including the Postal Service, to provide their workers with emergency paid sick leave and extended family and medical leave for childcare expenses.  These provisions of the law expired on Dec. 31.  After this date, Postal Service employees will no longer be able to take FFCRA emergency paid sick leave or avail themselves of expanded Family and Medical Leave Act leave for childcare.  However, the Postal Service’s liberal leave policy remains in effect through March 26, 2021. This means employees may continue to use annual and sick leave and leave without pay for reasons related to COVID-19.     So, for now, follow the rules as they are laid out and if there is a change and if the Act is reinstated, we will do our best to keep you informed.  As a result of the expiration of the FFCRA, the Postal Service will be removing all the refences to the Act from TACA and you will no longer be able to use those particular codes in the timekeeping system.    I am not sure if they will be removed by today, but I know they are working on it.

Over the past few weeks, I have received several questions about the release of the Coronavirus vaccine and what the requirement might be regarding the Postal Service.   At this time, I do not know what the requirements may, or may not be, for the receipt of the vaccine.   As we have more information, we will be sure to share that information.

Now that we have rolled into 2021, I wanted to remind you to register for the Legislative Summit and to get your reservations made at the hotel.    We are moving forward with our plans for the Summit with intent to practice social distancing in the meeting rooms.  We are working on a plan for how we will do our visits since it looks like we will not be able to make our normal face-to-face visits up on Capitol Hill.    The dates of the Summit are February 21-24, 2021.    The hotel we will be using this year is the Hyatt Regency Crystal City at Reagan Airport.   The hotel is located at 2799 Richmond Highway in Arlington, VA.   You can find the registration form and the information on the hotel on our website, unitedpma.org.   Here is the link to the information: UPMA 2021 Legislative Summit (unitedpma.org).

Since President Trump has signed the latest COVID relief package into law there will be another round of stimulus checks coming to a mailbox near you.    With that in mind, I am certain that there will be another certification survey until they are delivered.   Hopefully, we can work through the onslaught of surveys that you have to do and get some of them taken out of service as we move forward over the next few weeks.   I will do my best to see what we can do to minimize the time you need to spend at your computer doing surveys instead of being able to work with your employees and your customers.

As always, make sure that you are wearing your mask whenever you are required to and that you are making sure that your employees do the same.   

Once again, Happy New Year and I wish you all the best in this new year.  I pray that we will all be able to get back to some semblance of normal sooner rather than later.

Take care,

Dan Heins
UPMA National President