BOSTON — Some United States Postal Service locations are being audited after reports allege unauthorized timecard adjustments were made at selected post offices in the Greater Boston area.
The audit comes after a 25 Investigates piece exposed post office managers were being suspected of cheating workers out of overtime pay.
The Postal Service uses an electronic timecard system to track employees' work hours, a system called Time and Attendance Collection System, or TACS. Employees record their hours by swiping their electronic badges on a reader at each facility, where each swipe is referred to as a clock ring.
Timecard adjustments happen when a supervisor deletes, adds, or changes a clock ring in TACS to adjust an employee’s combination of work and leave hours. Disallowed time is when a supervisor observes or has proven knowledge that an employee did not work while “on the clock," meaning employees are not paid for that time.
Any and all changes made to an employee's timecard requires supervisors to submit a series of forms and reports backing up the time adjustments.
During a two-year period, the inspector general found postal facilities in the Boston area had more than 5,000 records of disapproved time, which involved hundreds of employees and supervisors.
Based on issues found for disallowed time adjustments, USPS also reviewed an additional 50 timecard adjustments involving deleted clock rings and extended lunch times.
The audit finds that supervisors in the Boston area did not systemically adjust timecards according to the company's policies.
Investigators found forms supporting disallowed time adjustments were not completed or were missing key required information, such as the date the supervisor notified the employee or the reason for disallowing the time.
In addition, the investigation found supervisors at one location deleted 30 employee clock rings and extended 20 employee lunch times without any supporting documentation to justify the adjustment.
In a report, USPS claims these issues happened because supervisors were never properly trained in the procedures for disallowing time, deleting clock rings and extending lunch times. They add that the district and facility management did not adequately oversee facility supervisors to ensure they properly conducted these adjustments.
There was also never a formal process set in place to review and monitor timecard adjustments to make sure supervisors submitted the appropriate forms.
The audit looked at just 200 of those cases and still found 470 hours that equated to $20,345 in unpaid wages for carriers due to supervisors improperly supporting timecard adjustments.
The Postal Services Inspector General admits this could lead to union grievances or fines and penalties from the department of labor.
The inspector's recommendations include improved training for supervisors and an oversight process at district and facility levels.
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