The Dreaded 3996

Regardless of how your supervisor reacts, Letter Carriers are required to fill out a 3996 whenever:

To see a sample 3996 click here.


The first two reasons above are usually management's call. The third reason is the Carriers call. It is this situation which causes some Carriers the most stress. There is no reason to stress out when you feel you need this form. Simply ask for it. Management is required to give it to you. If they don't, notify your Shop Steward immediately. Otherwise you don't have to fight, argue or beg with them. Just fill it out. Let the form fight, argue, or beg with them. They will either approve or disapprove the form. If it's disapproved ask for further instructions. Usually you will be told to call from the street. (If you do, don't forget to use a payphone and asked to be re-imbursed for the call. You are not required to use your cell phone.)When you are on the street and find you still can't finish, then you have to call as instructed. Again you don't have to fight, argue with or beg them. You are simply telling them you still can't finish and await further instructions. Namely, leave the mail out there, bring it back to the station or take overtime. If you are told to take the overtime AND you are not on any overtime list, remind them. If they still say take the overtime then follow your instruction, and later inform your Shop Steward.

When Letter Carriers are required to fill out a 3996 they must state the reason(s)* why they think they need help or overtime. The reasons must be genuine. Never fill out a 3996 unless you actually do need help or overtime.

* The exception being what is stated on the reverse side of the form for line "J" in the Instructions.

Line J. reads: Show the reason assistance is being requested. (Omit during Christmas period)

Generally carriers feel they have too much mail when they fill out a 3996 but that is not accepted. Put down exactly what you believe is going to require you to take more time. To see a list of some suggestions click here: click here.


REMEMBER TO ALWAYS REQUEST A COPY OF YOUR 3996. YOU SHOULD RECEIVE THAT COPY BEFORE YOU LEAVE FOR THE STREET.