| 09-07-2022

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Letter Carrier Overtime Procedure

Have you been off on leave only to come back to an undelivered route that you've been told you're expected to take care of? It's extremely likely that you have, but did you know what to do? If not, it's probably a good time to brush up on what our overtime (OT) procedure is according to our Collective Agreement (CA).

Coverage of Uncovered Routes/Assignments

When it comes to uncovered routes, there are two articles to consider. The first is Article 15.08 (“Assignment of Overtime for Group 2,” p. 100), which states that, “Insofar as practicable, overtime on an employee's route or assignment will be performed by the employee assigned to that particular route or assignment.” 

So if you want to or if you're able to do it, the OT is yours, but what happens when it's not practicable and you are unable to do the OT on your own assignment? In these situations, the main article you need is 17.04 (“Coverage of Uncovered Letter Carrier Routes or Mail Service Courier Assignments,” p. 120). Simplifying the language of the CA, the procedure for dealing with uncovered assignments is as follows.

      1. Offer extended hours to volunteer part-time letter carriers up to a maximum of 8 hours. It is up to management's discretion if part-time employees will be called back and if there is less than 3 hours of work, the work may be offered up as OT to full-time employees;

      2. OT by volunteer full-time letter carriers;

      3. OT by volunteer part-time letter carriers;

      4. Additional lists of part-time and full-time volunteer letter carriers from within the same post office jurisdiction

      5. Any other means

OT is to be offered according to equal opportunity (Article 15.06 “Definition of Equal Opportunity in Groups 1 and 2,” p. 99). In order to be considered available for an opportunity, the employee must be present on the job site at the time of the absence and in accordance with Article 11 (“Seniority,” p. 47).

How OT is Portioned Out

Once the need for OT or extended hours is established, how letter carrier routes get covered is further broken down in Article 17.05 (“Coverage of Uncovered Letter Carrier Routes,” p. 123).

      1. The number of volunteers available will determine the number of hours assigned. If there are four volunteers, there will be four portions at 1 hour and 45-minutes. If there are two volunteers, it will be two portions at 3 hours and 30-minutes. If there is only one volunteer, they can choose between those two options;

      2. Under normal circumstances, the worker doing the sortation must be done by the scheduled lunch time and the Corporation has the right to prioritize delivery (if there are businesses or socio-economic cheques, for example);

      3. If there are not enough volunteers after following Article 17.04, the assignments will be offered to volunteers at other facilities within the same post office jurisdiction.


When it comes to OT on an uncovered letter carrier route, there is a clear procedure outlined in our CA that comes into play if the person assigned to the route is unable to do it (15.08). The steps to getting these routes covered can be found in Article 17.04 (“Coverage of Uncovered Letter Carrier Routes or Mail Service Carrier Assignments,” p. 120) and Article 17.05 (“Coverage of Uncovered Letter Carrier Routes,” p. 123).

This procedure starts by looking for volunteer part-time workers who would be working extended hours, moves to volunteer full-time time workers who would be working OT, and eventually makes its way to offering the OT to other workers in the same jurisdiction. Once there are volunteers to do the work, how these assignments are offered is to be guided by Article 15.06 (“Definition of Equal Opportunity in Groups 1 and 2,” p. 99) and Article 11 (“Seniority,” p. 47).

Of course, we hear from our co-workers that there are some members of management that believe our CA is merely a suggestion. We've even been told in a consultation with the Corporation that the process is complicated and confusing!

Not only is our CA a legally-binding contract, the procedure also isn't complicated or confusing. This doesn't mean management will follow it, and in those situations you can file a grievance or apply for our Taking Back Our Workfloor course to learn how to deal with those issues on the workfloor when they arise.