432 General Definitions and Provisions

432.1 Employee Classifications

432.11 Regular Work Force
432.111 Bargaining Unit Employees

Bargaining unit employees are categorized as follows:

  1. Full-time employees career annual rate employees who are assigned to work schedules of five 8–hour days in a service week.
  2. Part-time employees — employees categorized as one of the following:
    1. Part-time regular employees — career hourly rate employees who are assigned to work regular schedules of less than 40 hours in a service week.
    2. Part-time flexible employees — career hourly rate employees who are available to work flexible hours as assigned by the Postal Service during the course of a service week.
  3. Rural carriers — employees categorized as one of the following (although only regular rural carriers and rural carrier associates may be added to the rolls):
    1. Regular rural carriers — career annual rate employees assigned to established rural routes on the basis of triweekly, 5, 5 1/2, or 6 days in a service week.
    2. Rural carrier associates (RCAs) (hired on or after 04/11/87); rural carrier reliefs (hired between 7/21/81 and 11/12/86); or substitute rural carriers (hired prior to 7/21/81) — noncareer employees with an indefinite appointment are assigned as leave replacements on one to three established rural routes during the absence of the regular rural carriers. RCAs or substitute rural carriers also may be temporarily assigned (a) to vacant rural routes pending the selection of regular rural carriers, (b) to routes for which the regular carrier is on extended leave, (c) to auxiliary routes as auxiliary rural carriers, or (d) as auxiliary assistants.
    3. Auxiliary rural carriers (hired prior to 1981) — employees who serve auxiliary rural routes (those not designated as regular rural routes). Normally, such positions are filled by the temporary assignment of substitute rural carriers or rural carrier associates, or by rural carrier relief employees. However, if these are not available, qualified noncareer hourly rate employees may be appointed for a limited term.
432.112 Nonbargaining Unit Employees

Nonbargaining unit employees are categorized as follows:

  1. Full-time salaried — one of the following categories of salaried employees employed according to procedures established by the Postal Service:
    1. Exempt salaried — career employees who are exempt from the FLSA provisions, are not limited to working a specified number of hours in a service week, and are expected to work or have excused leave for at least 40 hours per week fulfilling the responsibilities of their positions.
    2. Special Exempt — career employees who are exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) provisions, whose permanent assignments are to Executive and Administrative Schedule (EAS)–15 through –18 positions, and who directly supervise two or more equivalent bargaining unit employees in production operations.
    3. Nonexempt salaried — career employees who are not exempt from (i.e., are covered by) FLSA provisions and are assigned to work schedules consisting of five 8–hour days in a service week.
  2. Part-time salaried — career hourly rate employees assigned to regular work schedules of less than 40 hours in a service week.
432.12 Supplemental Work Force

All employees in the supplemental work force are nonbargaining unit employees and are categorized as follows:

  1. Casual employees — noncareer employees with limited term appointments used as a supplemental work force, as described in the applicable national agreements or in other Postal Service collective bargaining agreements, who perform duties assigned to bargaining unit positions.
  2. Temporary employees — noncareer employees with a limited term appointment up to but not to exceed 1 year who perform duties that are assigned to nonbargaining unit positions.
  3. Leave replacements — noncareer hourly rate employees with unlimited term appointments who are employed as relief or leave replacements during the absence of postmasters.
  4. Temporary relief carriers — noncareer employees with limited term appointments who provide service as rural carrier leave replacements on regular or auxiliary routes or provide auxiliary assistance on regular routes.
432.13 Transitional Work Force

Employees in the transitional work force are noncareer bargaining unit employees categorized as transitional employees (TEs) and utilized in accordance with the terms of their respective collective bargaining agreements. They are hourly rate employees hired for terms designated in the appropriate national bargaining agreement.

432.2 Rates of Pay

432.21 Basic Rate

The basic rate is the amount of annual, daily, or hourly salary provided by the applicable salary schedule for an employee’s assigned position — excluding TCOLA, overtime, EAS additional pay, out–of–schedule premium, Sunday premium, holiday–worked pay, and night differential. Basic daily and hourly rates are determined by dividing the basic annual rate (BAR) as shown in the table below (see also 432.23).

  1. Basic annual rate (BAR).
  2. Basic daily rate:

    Type Schedule


    1. FLSA–exempt Postmasters


    1. Regular rural carriers


    1. On H or M route (6–day work week)


    1. On J route (5 1/2–day work week)


    1. On K route (5–day work week)


    1. Substitute rural carriers


    1. On H or M route


    1. On J route


    1. On K route


  4. Basic hourly rate:

    Type Schedule


    1. Full-time and part-time regular employees


    1. Part-time flexible and transitional employee


    1. For calculation of straight time pay, night differential, and Christmas–worked only



    1. For calculation of overtime, EAS additional pay, and all other premiums


432.22 Regular Rate

The regular rate is defined by the Fair Labor Standards Act (see 443.21).

432.23 Rounding of Rates

In computing individual earnings, the daily or hourly rate is calculated from the annual rate to four decimal places. The fourth place is rounded up to the next higher figure if the fifth place is 5 or more. Total earnings are rounded to the nearest cent, counting one–half or more as a whole cent and dropping less than one–half cent.

432.3 Work Schedules and Overtime Limits

432.31 Basic Work Week

The basic workweek for full-time bargaining unit employees is defined in the applicable labor agreements. Postmasters and exempt employees are assigned as needed. Otherwise, the basic full-time workweek consists of 5 regularly scheduled 8–hour days within a service week.

Note: The daily 8–hour schedule may not extend over more than 10 consecutive hours.

432.32 Maximum Hours Allowed

Except as designated in labor agreements for bargaining unit employees or in emergency situations as determined by the postmaster general (or designee), employees may not be required to work more than 12 hours in 1 service day. In addition, the total hours of daily service, including scheduled workhours, overtime, and mealtime, may not be extended over a period longer than 12 consecutive hours. Postmasters and exempt employees are excluded from these provisions.

432.33 Mealtime

Except in emergency situations or where service conditions preclude compliance, no employee may be required to work more than 6 continuous hours without a meal or rest period of at least 1/2 hour.

432.34 Postmasters

A full-time postmaster is scheduled to work a 40–hour workweek. Normally, this regular work schedule is set at 8 hours a day and 5 days a week, Monday through Friday. When a nonexempt postmaster is required to work on the sixth day because relief is not available, premium pay at 150 percent of the postmaster’s basic salary is paid for this time. Equivalent time off from work is not authorized to avoid the payment of this premium. Thus, either nonbargaining rescheduling premium or the better of postal or FLSA overtime, as appropriate, is paid.

432.4 Service Periods

432.41 Pay Period

A pay period begins on Saturday and ends on Friday. Each pay period comprises 2 service weeks.

432.42 Service Week

A service week is the calendar week beginning at 12:01 a.m. Saturday and ending at 12:00 midnight the following Friday. This service week remains fixed regardless of the schedule of hours worked by individual employees.

432.43 Service Day

The service day is a calendar day, 12:01 a.m. to 12 midnight. An employee’s service day depends on his or her schedule, as follows:

  1. Full-time Employees. For a full-time employee whose regular schedule begins at 8:00 p.m. or later, the service day is the next calendar day, and all workhours (including preshift workhours), as well as leave hours, are recorded on that calendar day. If the employee’s regular schedule begins prior to 8:00 p.m., the service day is the calendar day on which the schedule begins, and all work and leave hours are recorded on that calendar day.
  2. Part-time Employees. For all part-time employees who begin work or leave at 8:00 p.m. or later, the service day is the next calendar day and all hours are recorded on that calendar day. If such employees begin work or leave prior to 8:00 p.m., the service day is the calendar day on which they begin work or leave, and all hours are recorded on that calendar day.
  3. Casual and Temporary Employees. For casual and temporary employees who begin work at 8:00 p.m. or later, the service day is the next calendar day and all hours are recorded on that calendar day. If such employees begin work prior to 8:00 p.m., the service day is the calendar day on which they begin work, and all hours are recorded on that calendar day.
432.44 FLSA Workweek

See 443.23.

432.45 Work Assignments

In order to comply with the postal policy of basing pay on hours worked in a service day, managers must assign the workhours of employees in such a manner that (a) employees do not perform continuous work that is reported in 2 different service days and (b) any scheduling changes cannot be construed as an intent to evade the payment of overtime under the provisions of the FLSA (see 443.231).

432.46 Five–Minute Leeway Rule
432.461 Explanation

Although each employee at installations with time recording devices is required to clock in and clock out on time, congestion at time clocks or other conditions can sometimes cause clock time to vary slightly from the established work schedule. Therefore, a deviation may be allowed from the scheduled time for each clock ring up to 0.08 hour (5 minutes). However, the sum of the deviations for the scheduled tour must not exceed 0.08 hour (5 minutes).

432.462 Applicability

This 5–minute leeway rule applies only to full-time and part-time regular schedule employees. Part-time flexible, casual, transitional, and temporary employees are allowed the 5–minute privilege for clocking purposes, subject to ELM 432.464b, but are paid on the basis of their actual clock rings.

The 5–minute leeway rule applies only to the scheduled tour of duty. If an employee works in an overtime status that is contiguous with the scheduled tour, the 5–minute leeway rule does not apply to any clock rings for the entire tour. Employees in this situation are paid for their actual clock time (unless the time is disallowed as described in 432.711). However, the 5–minute leeway rule does apply to temporary schedules including any out–of–schedule overtime hours outside of and instead of the employee’s regular schedule.

432.463 Adjustment

After extending clock rings, if (in the case of a full-time regular schedule employee) the clock ring totals for the tour are between 7.92 and 8.08 hours, the time should be adjusted to 8.00 hours. If a part-time regular schedule employee’s clock time is between 0.08 hours less than or greater than his or her established schedule, then the time should be adjusted to the employee’s scheduled tour.

432.464 Special Cases

The 5–minute leeway rule for night differential and Sunday premium hours is peculiar and requires special attention:

  1. In the case of night differential, eligible employees are to be paid night differential for the exact amount of time they work between 6:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. However, in no case can the total night differential hours for bargaining unit employees exceed the total hours for the tour. If the only reason that part of an employee’s clock time falls between 6:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. is that the employee clocked in 0.08 hour or less before 6:00 a.m. or clocked out 0.08 hour or less after 6:00 p.m., then the employee is not eligible to be paid night differential.
  2. Eligible bargaining unit employees receive Sunday premium for all hours worked during a scheduled tour any part of which falls on Sunday. The amount of Sunday premium cannot exceed the hours worked, nor can it exceed 8.00 hours per tour. If the only reason that part of an employee’s clock time falls on Sunday is that the employee clocked in 0.08 hour or less before the scheduled tour started or 0.08 hour or less after the scheduled tour ended, then the employee is not eligible for any Sunday premium.
432.465 Exception

On some occasions, an employee may have a combination of work and paid leave. In such cases, the 5–minute leeway rule does not apply, and the employee is credited with the actual hours worked. The balance of the employee’s scheduled tour is charged to sufficient leave to give the employee credit for the total scheduled tour.

432.5 Work Credit

432.51 FLSA–Exempt Postmasters

Time for FLSA–exempt postmasters is credited in units of whole days, except for absences covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or for the purpose of terminal leave payments or leave payments immediately preceding a period of LWOP.

Note: FLSA–exempt postmasters are those who supervise at least two full-time equivalent employees.

432.52 Full-time and Part-time Employees

These employees are credited as follows:

  1. Full-time employees who are credited (work or paid leave) for all scheduled service in a pay period are paid on the basis of 80 hours.
  2. Part-time employees who are credited (work or paid leave) for all scheduled service in a pay period are paid on the basis of the hours of scheduled service.
  3. Employees who perform only part of the scheduled work in a pay period and do not have leave credits to cover the balance of the scheduled work are paid for time actually worked.
432.53 City Letter Carriers (7:01 Rule)

A city letter carrier who actually works more than 7 hours but less than 8 hours of a regular scheduled day and who is officially excused from the completion of the 8–hour tour is credited with 8 hours of work time for pay purposes. This is known as the 7:01 rule (see 443.212).

432.54 Rural Carriers

See 444.

432.6 Guaranteed Time

432.61 Explanation

Guaranteed time is paid time that is not worked under the guaranteed provisions of collective bargaining agreements for periods when an employee has been released by the supervisor and has clocked out prior to the end of a guaranteed period. For example, most full-time regular employees in the bargaining units are guaranteed 8 hours of work (or pay in lieu) if they are called in on their nonscheduled day to work. If such an employee works 6 hours and is then told by the supervisor to clock out because of lack of work, the remaining 2 hours of the employee’s 8–hour guaranteed is recorded as guaranteed time. It is not possible for an employee to earn guaranteed time as long as he or she is on the clock.

432.62 Eligibility

Exhibit 432.62 indicates by rate schedule code and employee classifications those persons other than TEs who are eligible to receive pay for guaranteed time. TEs receive guaranteed time according to their union’s collective bargaining agreement. If an employee is eligible for more than one time guaranteed, the guaranteed for the highest number of hours applies. For example, if an employee is eligible for either 2 or 4 hours of guaranteed pay, the 4–hour guaranteed applies. Employees are not eligible for guaranteed time while temporarily assigned to nonbargaining positions.

Exhibit 432.62 

Guaranteed Time Pay Eligibility Table


Rate Schedule

Employee Classification

Full-time Regular

Part-time Regular

Part-time Flexible

Casual, * Temporary, and PM Relief

B — Rural Auxiliary










F — Postmasters (A–E)



G — Nurses



K — HQ Op. Services


L — Postmaster Replacement


M — Mail Handlers




N — Data Center



P — PS




Q — City Carriers




R — Rural Carriers





T — Tool and Die



Y — Postal Police



* Casual employees are covered in RS–E regardless of the bargaining unit they supplement.

1. Guaranteed 4 hours work or pay in lieu of when called in outside of the regular work schedule. Does not apply to an employee who continues working into or from a regular scheduled shift.

2. Guaranteed 4 hours work or pay in lieu of when called in to work on a nonscheduled day or, if a part-time flexible employee, when requested to work.

3. Guaranteed 8 hours work or pay in lieu of when called in to work on a nonscheduled day.

4. Guaranteed 4 hours work or pay in lieu of when called back to work on a day when the day’s assignment has been completed and the employee has clocked out. This applies to part-time flexible employees in any size office.

5. Guaranteed 4 hours work or pay in lieu of if requested or scheduled to work at installations with 200 or more workyears of employment or 2 hours of work or pay in lieu thereof if requested or scheduled to work at installations with less than 200 workyears of employment.

6. Guaranteed 2 hours of work or pay in lieu of if scheduled and reports for work.

432.63 Pay Computation

As a general principle, when employees are told to clock out by management prior to the end of the guaranteed period, the employees are compensated for the hours of the guaranteed period at the rate of pay they would have received had they actually worked the hours. There are, however, conditions under which employees are not compensated for the remaining hours of the guaranteed period. Generally, this occurs when an employee requests to leave the postal premises because of an illness or for personal reasons or leaves without proper authorization.

Note: The 5–minute leeway rule does not apply to any clock rings for an employee entering a guaranteed time status. The employee is credited with the time reflected by his or her clock rings.

432.7 Time Worked

See 443.22.

432.71 Control

Supervisors should ensure that employees do not remain on the clock unless they are specifically authorized to do so. Where employees continue to work contrary to instructions from a supervisor to clock out, the corrective action must be a procedure other than not compensating the employees for work performed.

432.711 Disallowed Time

If an employee’s clock rings exceed 8.08 hours and the employee was not engaged in work or work–related activities while in the time–over–8 status, supervisors are to disallow the time on the clock that was not worked. In such a case the supervisor should prepare a written entry on PS Form 1017–A, Time Disallowance Record, as to the factual basis for his or her knowledge that the employee was not working during the period of time disallowed. Examples of time that may be properly disallowed include, but are not limited to:

  1. Wash–up time — time spent by employees changing clothes and/or washing up after their tour ends that exceeds the time allotted for such purposes in applicable collective bargaining agreements.
  2. Waiting time — time spent by employees while waiting to start work at the beginning of a tour when they have not been instructed or otherwise required to wait.
  3. Personal time — time spent by employees, before their tour begins or after their tour ends, attending to personal matters.
  4. Mealtime — time spent by employees “on the clock” during a designated meal period, provided, of course, that the employee was completely relieved of all duties and responsibilities and performed no work during this period.
432.712 Allowed Time

Supervisors must credit employees with all time designated as worktime under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Examples of time that must be credited as worktime if the supervisor knows or has reason to believe the activities are being performed during the time, include:

  1. Time spent by employees in performing duties that are part of, or related to, the employees’ principal work activity, such as pulling mail from a distribution case, collecting tools or supplies, and adjusting rest bars.
  2. Time spent continuing to work after a tour ends in order to correct an error, to prepare records, or to finish up a task.
  3. Time spent working during meal periods.
  4. Time spent distributing work to work stations.
432.72 Medical Release Time

When an employee is released from work and directed by management to an on– or off–site health services unit due to illness or injury, all time spent waiting for and/or receiving medical attention on the service day on which the illness or injury occurs and that would have been worked but for the medical attention, including all time that the employee otherwise would have been directed to work that day beyond his or her regularly scheduled tour, is included and credited as work time.

432.8 Compensation Due Deceased Employee

432.81 Definition

Unpaid compensation is applicable pay and allowances due a deceased postal employee for the performance of services. It includes, but is not limited to:

  1. Amounts of checks for pay and allowances that were not delivered by the Postal Service to the employee during the employee’s lifetime.
  2. Amounts of uncashed checks for pay and allowances returned to the Postal Service because of the employee’s death.
  3. Payment for the balance of a tour and scheduled overtime for the day on which the employee has reported; or if death occurs on a service day prior to reporting to work, for the entire tour when the day is part of the employee’s normal work schedule (excluding full tours of scheduled overtime).
  4. Payment for accumulated annual leave and for unused annual (current) leave actually earned during the year of death. Payment for the leave is equal to the pay the deceased employee would have received had the employee lived and remained in the Postal Service until the end of the period of annual leave.
  5. Payment for sick leave in accordance with 513.83.
  6. Bond balance refund of payroll deductions for U.S. Savings Bonds.
  7. Amounts due for payment of cash awards for employee’s suggestions.
  8. Allowances on change of official station.
  9. Amounts due for the performance of official travel.
432.82 Recipient of Unpaid Compensation or Money Due
432.821 Order

Payment of unpaid compensation is made in the following order of precedence (payment bars recovery by another person of the amounts so paid):

  1. First — to the beneficiary or beneficiaries designated on Standard Form 1152, Designation of Beneficiary — Unpaid Compensation of Deceased Civilian Employee, or otherwise by the employee in writing received in the Postal Service before the employee’s death.
  2. Second — if there is no designated beneficiary, to the employee’s widow(er).
  3. Third — to the employee’s child(ren) and to the descendants of deceased children by representation.
  4. Fourth — to the parents in equal shares or the entire amount to the surviving parent.
  5. Fifth — to the duly appointed executor or administrator of the state.
  6. Sixth — to the person(s) entitled under the laws of the state in which the employee was domiciled at the time of death.
432.822 Missing Beneficiaries

Procedures when beneficiaries are missing are as follows:

  1. First Beneficiary Does Not Claim. When the person(s) otherwise entitled to payment has/have not submitted a claim and cannot be located within 2 years after the death of the employee, payment is made to the person(s) in the same class of entitlement, or, in the absence of anyone on the same class, then to the person(s) next in order of precedence as described in 432.821.
  2. Postal Service Decision. If, within 2 years after the employee’s death, a claim for unpaid compensation is not filed by a person entitled under the order of precedence, and neither the employee’s installation nor the accounting service center has received notice that such a claim will be filed, payment may be made to the claimant who in the judgment of the Postal Service is equitably entitled to it. Payment made pursuant to this paragraph bars recovery by another person.