To avoid a reduction in force, the Postal Service is offering voluntary early retirements to most eligible non-bargaining unit employees at its headquarters, as well as at area and district offices.
The Voluntary Early Retirement Authority (VERA) goes into effect April 30, and doesn’t come with any monetary incentive. USPS employees who take advantage of the offer would essentially benefit by being able to tap into their retirement funds early.
Several postal unions represent the vast majority of the Postal Service’s workforce of more than 645,000 employees. Postal employees represented by unions aren’t eligible for early retirement.
USPS said in its announcement that the early retirements are part of ongoing staffing changes that the agency expects to finalize in May. USPS is also consolidating its 67 districts into 50 districts, more closely aligned with state boundaries.
USPS will email voluntary early retirement offers to eligible employees on March 4, and will mail an additional hard-copy notification to employees’ home addresses. Employees who decide to accept the offer must submit the required documents by April 16. The retirements will take effect April 30.
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said these changes would strengthen USPS by “improving efficiency and streamlining decision making throughout the organization,” and dig the agency out of billions of dollars in net losses sustained since 2007.
“Absent substantial changes, our financial losses will continue to widen, and our ability to invest in the future of the organization will be severely curtailed,” DeJoy said in a statement Tuesday.
USPS announced early retirements were coming last August, after DeJoy ordered a management hiring freeze and moved nearly two-dozen executives into new positions as part of an ongoing agency restructuring.
DeJoy last summer also restructured the USPS into three core business functions —retail and delivery operations, logistics and processing, and commerce and business solutions.
Federal and postal employees under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) are eligible for voluntary early retirement if they’re at least 50 years of age, with at least 20 years of service, or any age with at least 25 years of service.
For postal employees who previously served in the military, at least five years of their service must come from working in civilian federal government, but eligible employees may use their military service to meet the balance of service required for eligibility.
USPS employees must be on the agency’s payroll 31 days before the agency made the VERA request to the Office of Personnel Management, and must have remained continuous on the USPS payroll without a break in service since that time.
Employees who received a final decision for removal, based on misconduct or unacceptable performance, on or before the VERA effective date are not eligible for early retirement.
CSRS employees must have been employed under CSRS for at least one year out of the last two years to be eligible, but the service need not be continuous.