Retirement Incentives at the USPS

Mike Causey has a story in his column on Federal News Radio in which he discusses buyouts in a number of Federal Agencies, but not the Postal Service.  His story indicates that all other Federal agencies can offer incentives up to $25,000, while the Postal Service is limited to a $20,000 maximum incentive.   Earlier posts in this blog have used a $25,000 limit in calculating how many employees could get incentives if the Senate Postal Reform passed.   (See: “Senate Bill:  Indications of the Scale of Early Retirements Expected” and  ”Clarifying retirement incentives” The $20,000 limit would allow the Postal Service to pay incentives to 85,000 employees, instead of 68,000 as previously calculated and not exceed the $1.7 billion the Senate bill allows the Postal Service to spend on retirement incentives.

Given that the Postal Service wants to get many more employees to retire than other agencies offering incentives, it makes little sense for the Postal Service to have a lower incentive limit.  If getting higher-paid older employees to retire is critical for turning the Postal Service’s fiances around, getting employees to retire as quickly as possible without affecting operations is critical.  Congress needs to give the Postal Service at least as much freedom to set early retirement as they do other Federal Agencies and should consider allowing the Postal Service to set even higher incentives, if the marginal benefits of higher incentives is greater than the marginal cost of higher incentives.

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47 Responses to “Retirement Incentives at the USPS”

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  1. Tony says:

    If the OPM would waive the MRA requirement and allow employees with over 25 years to retire and recieve the FERS supplement with no cash incentive they would get a lot more takers. Not getting the FERS supplement is cutting the monthly benefit almost in half.

  2. Anonymous says:

    DUHHHHH!!!!!!!!!

  3. RON says:

    alan robinson….

    alan,
    please don’t try to bring “common sense” or logic into
    the decisions that postal management make. reducing employee
    head count has been the obvious solution for several years now but
    all the post office has come up with are several lame, vastly
    inadequate early out / buyout programs. logic plays no role in how business
    is conducted in the postal service and really hasn’t for quite some
    time. many postal management personnel seem to be ethically and morally
    bankrupt and this has only increased under donahoe who in my humble
    opinion is also a pathological liar or close to it.
    any “solution” to the postal financial crisis MUST include a reasonable
    buyout offer to reduce employee head count as well as some form of total
    replacement of all management personnel. letting the current management knuckleheads
    in place will only lead to another failure in the future if and when this failure of postal management is ever cleaned up.

  4. John DeLorean says:

    55 with 27 years, I would go now for a bag of Fritos. Most of us are so fed up $20k is plenty.

  5. Jerry P says:

    I agree with Tony. I will retire tomorrow if the don’t penalize my pension and give me the fers supplement

  6. biscuit says:

    The amount should be the same for all agencies. Just because we are bigger should not impact the amount. They will get more to retire if the max is offered to fewer, because the eligible will recognize that the offer is the best they can do, especially if combined with no penalties, or even added years to service, or as some have said, go ahead and offer the supplement to those who would not otherwise qualify for it.

    They could even do it in a split system: 25,000 and a couple of years plus the supplement for those 60 and over; and 20,000 and the supplement for those under 60. That way they could realize the max reduction in force with the most takers.

  7. RCD says:

    20,000 is fine as long as it is paid out over a four year period to offset taxes. Two 10,000 lump sums mean higher taxes and less takers.

  8. earl says:

    What you say sounds logical.However, You are trying to communicate here with people who have the mentality of a box or rocks. I rest my case.

  9. Uh Oh says:

    What incentive can you possibly offer someone making $50,000 plus benefits and overtime while working in such a low skill occupation to induce them to retire for less money? Most employees are working until “last breath” by choice.

    • florida postal worker says:

      uh oh, you have no idea what you are talking about. do you even work for the postal service?
      in my office, many people are close to retiring…. i have never heard any person saying they will stay until “last breath” most want to go, will go with worthwhile incentives… $25 k and 3 years added will do the trick.

    • Lucy says:

      You obviously have never carried mail if you believe the job is low skill. You can not deliver 800 + addresses, many with multiple occupants, remember who moved on a daily basis and be at the same address each day around the same time, provided you are on the same route each day. The skills go way beyond that, but you probably wouldn’t understand. Oh, by the way I worked in a fine arts museum as registrar, secretary, and exhibits preparator for four years prior to my 26 years at the post office. Just to survive doing this job takes every bit of intelligence and ingenuity that that job did.

      • Rich says:

        Well…that right there explained it. Both “florida postal worker” and “Lucy” worked for the US Postal Service. So much for an unbiased, objective viewpoints. Does the job a great deal of physical effort? Yes. Is there a great deal of stress and pressure involved in the job? Sure. But let’s face it: the job of carrying mail itself requires a relatively general skill-set, as the labor pool of individuals that possess clean driving records and an ability to read addresses on mailpieces, tote mailsacks and parcels, and walk for miles is quite large. Non-career TE carriers prove that all the time. After a few days of accompanied training on the street, they are out on their own and are just as qualified to perform the tasks of another carrier with 30 or 40+ years, albeit at a slower pace until they become just as familiar with any given route. By the way, I am a career postal worker of nearly 10 years at a processing and distribution center where, yes, “last breathers” (with no more value to offer the company than a hard-working casual employee with 1 month of work experience) exist and are essentially dead weight on the system. Why? Because my job, their job, and just about any other “craft” in the US Postal Service (excluding some maintenance positions and perhaps truck drivers with CDLs) is low-skilled, no matter how physically daunting any task might be. There’s nothing about our jobs where the more time you have vested in the company, the greater the value/experience you bring because our skill sets max out after a relatively short period of time. Essentially, we become commodities. Why does any postal employee, including myself, actually need an incentive to retire after 30, 40, and in some cases 50 years of performing relatively basic skills and being well paid/compensated for their time? I actually agree with “Uh Oh” because I see it firsthand. This sense of entitlement must cease.

  10. M. Jamison says:

    The Postal Service isn’t limited to $20,000, they have the same limits and requirements as any other agency. Management chose to go with lower limits in other rounds as well as split the incentive payments in ways that made very little sense.
    You are absolutely right in saying that applying logic to postal management is something of a futile effort. At this point one would think they would go for the full amount available and that they would structure any splits to benefit employees – like moving payment to a tax year with less income.
    One might also think they would be able to put out clear information with respect to exactly what could be offered and what penalties may or may not apply. There has always been way too much speculation and wishful thinking surrounding these issues rather than adherence to hard fact.
    It should be added that Congress could change or adjust the available incentives although the only present proposal offers additional years in lieu of a cash incentive and the final version of the bill included a proviso that the additional years would be limited in value to $25,000 (Congress seems to compete with postal management for the championship of cognitive dissonance and inconsistency).
    One other point, craft employees are covered by contract so there isn’t a stick to go with any carrot but in the past management has used a stick to go with incentives for EAS. The VERA/incentive that was offered in 1993 came with a provision that all EAS jobs went into a hopper and people had to reapply. A good many people got screwed in that deal.

    Last of all – you could really use the services of a good copy editor.

  11. Tom USPS says:

    I only have 30 years at 48. I don’t know how many more people would go right now. We have had some many people leave. I am sure in some areas people would go. We seem to have a buffer of needing 3 to 5 years with most eligible.

  12. Pete says:

    USPS management would rather harass, bully and intimidate carriers than offer a n early out. It’s a psychological dodge they play every day: to justify their own useless creation of paper reports on every possible thing that can be analyzed (other than REAL WORLD SERVICE), they need to blame the people who are doing the actual work to provide service.

  13. American Nana says:

    The last buyouts for USPS was $25,000.00 and why should we take less, just because HQ decides we in the field are not as important. With the outlook for after USPS jobs, looks pretty bleek, $25,000. oo is least I will take. I can survive until we get a new PMG and do away with 90% in Hq, Area, Dist etc. If it takes getting 42 years, so be it. This is my line in the sand.

    • zmann says:

      i retired in 2009 and that buyout was 15,000.i believe that was the last buyout.and that was the best move i did.so young to retire.34yrs with military time.look around not to many pentions like the postal service.

      • michelle cousino says:

        um there are much better pensions than the post office! civil service is gone the fers supplement is gone …try to get people to retire with a 1400 a month pension after 30 yrs then subtract insurance and taxes not much to live off of must want to keep there 52,000.00 a year job a 25,000 buyout wont go far

  14. hypenspin says:

    Then wait 9 month for your full retirement benefit.

  15. Cb196 says:

    20,000 is not enough, after taxes you will end up with just over 10,000. I have almost 33 years and I’m 54. I will wait till my house is paid off. That will be Sept 2013.

  16. magnolia says:

    yeah, I don’t really expect them to do anything that really makes sense… they need to realize that we WANT to retire, but a lot of us are still too young even though we have over 30 years or more…. if they would just make us a REASONABLE, good faith offer, they would see a mass exodus of older employees and make room for the younger, lower paid ones to take our places… one year added to years of service just won’t get many takers

  17. florida postal worker says:

    $20k would clear about $14k … not enough for me to go….
    add 3 years and $25k…… that would be incentive.

  18. iwillgladlygo says:

    I will give the P.O. $20,000 if I can go early with no penalty and have the FERS Special Annuity Supplement.BTW, the Republicans/Tea Party in the House are currently trying to get rid of the FERS Supplement for ALL Federal employees retiring after Dec.31,2012;go look at Section 5404 of H.R. 3630,which is the “Middle Class Tax Relief ” Bill currently in Congress.I strongly suggest ALL Federal employees under FERS contact your Congressperson(and Senators and The White House) by mail,email,and phone ASAP if you value your retirement.If you don’t voice your opposition to this attack on ALL Federal employees under FERS,and this legislation becomes law,then you will lose about half of your FERS retirement.You will then not be able to afford to retire until you are 62.I suggest you TAKE ACTION NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • air13148 says:

      Iwill, you are 100% correct. I wrote my congressmen because he voted to kill the supplement. I said now that us FERS people are finally approaching retirement age you vote to kill part of our pension we were promised almost 30 years ago. I remember sitting in a meeting room at Savanna Army Depot with a rep from OPM trying to “sell” us the benefits of FERS over the CSRS. Most of the old-timers were skepticle, some hostile, to the greatly reduced defined pension benefit as compared to CSRS. This OPM rep said don’t worry, the supplement will largely make up for the difference between the two retirement plans. Most of the old=timers were still skepticle. It may turn out in the end they were right. Wisdom really does come with age.

      • iwillgladlygo says:

        This is for ALL FEDERAL employees,not just POSTAL employees under FERS,yet nobody posts about it,writes about it,or even cares!Unbelieveable…..but sad.One day when they are ready to retire under FERS these same non-acting,do-nothing-about-it-now FEDERAL and POSTAL employees will cry and whine……”What happened to the Special Annuity Supplement?”……”What happened to the FERS 3-legged retirement benefits stool we were promised when we hired on?”Ever try sitting on a 2-legged stool?…..or better yet,retiring on a 2-legged FERS retirement benefits stool?Can’t be done.If the current FEDERAL and POSTAL employees don’t act on this matter NOW,then the next Public Law signed into law will be the elimination of the FERS Special Annuity Supplement.It is sad,but I believe that most FERS-covered employees don’t even know what the FERS Special Annuity Supplement is.

    • michelle cousino says:

      i heard as of yesterday our supplement is gone

  19. magnum man says:

    I will have 28 years in May and will be 62 in August. I don’t care about money, just give me 2 more years and no penalty or reduction in my FERS annuity and I’m gone.

  20. PTF 6yrs says:

    Yeah get the heck out so i can become regular

  21. Ray says:

    Keep your damn lousy $20K. Give me my 4 years for max and I’ll leave tomorow. Or maybe I should get the millions that CEO’s get for running busineses into the ground……

  22. not a rap fan says:

    i will go when and if i can leave within a time frame of my choosing, i.e., between now and the end of the year, and a cash incentive that i get in full after the new year–when i have no income, thereby reducing/eliminating tax obligation. severance requires so many weeks per year of service. i don’t understand why they don’t use that as a guideline. i’d love $25-35,000. that would get me out the door without a hit in the backside necessary.

  23. Sally says:

    It has seemed over the past year that NPR and Causey have been leaning more to the right, regarding the USPS. After all, he is part of the controlled MSM, main stream media.

  24. leebren says:

    Ron and Pete are right, managment has made very little cuts on their side, they have always made very poor management decisions and they treat their employees like their worst enemies. I have 34 years and I am 52 years old, I cannot wait to leave this highly dysfunctional organization. As long as current management stays in place ( Ron, I agree Donohoe is one of the worst) it will be the same old bag of tricks at the PO. Very sad, it used to be a good job, I do however still LOVE my customers, they are what has kept me going. Alan, I am in your town of Silver Spring, by the way.

  25. brett maybe says:

    Need to reduce employees. Early out cost effective. Increase automation and eliminate useless Sat. street delivery would be cost effective. Volume will continue to decrease resulting in loss of revenue.

  26. James Pygid says:

    fedbens.us

    Readers eligible to retire this year need to go to above website and click on no. 9. It calculates the FERS annuity supplement to the penny. Quite helpful, and easy to use, too!

    • biscuit says:

      In 2005, when the USPS offered early outs in order to provide jobs to employees displaced by Hurricane Katrina, I attended a meeting to get info.
      The people holding the meeting had no clue how to figure the supplement, I mean NO CLUE, and they were retirement “experts”. How can one figure if he can retire if even the USPS can’t tell you how much you will get!??

      Thanks for the link, James.

      • James Pygid says:

        Go to fedbens.us Click no. 9 on the menu. You will get a nice, detailed explanation of how the supplement is calculated, plus you can even get a full, precise calculation!

  27. leebren says:

    6 year ptf, go to college, find a better career, please try. You will be glad you did.

  28. Timothy says:

    It’s sad that no one follows up on the fact that Postal Management takes care of itself (like a golden parachute) and subjects it’s employees to harrassment, belittlement and threats and is dragging their feet to offer an early out for craft employees. It’s amazing that EAS personnel have already been given their early out and CRAFT is still waiting for the same opportunity.
    Wouldn’t you think they would want to get more people to retire so we would be more solvent.

  29. jose says:

    62 years old and still want more….if you can’t afford to go now you will never leave, you are not going to get rich waiting, get out so us young employee’s have a chance…..

  30. The Hammer says:

    With Postal mangers being either idiots and/or liars don’t expect anything of substance. Get rid of all the 204B’s (acting idiot) They lie about box section mail being up on time, Express mail scans, color coded mail.

  31. WARNING:ALL FEDERAL/POSTAL EMLOYEES says:

    CONGRESS IS PRESENTLY IN THE PROCESS OF ELIMINATING THE FERS SPECIAL RETIREMENT ANNUITY SUPPLEMENT FOR ALL FEDERAL AND POSTAL EMPLOYEES UNDER FERS;THIS WILL ELIMINATE ABOUT 33% OF YOUR RETIREMENT(PAY).THIS LEGISLATION IS IN SECTION 5404 OF HOUSE RESOLUTION 3630 PRESENTLY PASSED BY CONGRESS(HOUSE).I STRONGLY SUGGEST THAT YOU CONTACT NOT ONLY YOUR CONGRESSPERSON,BUT ALSO YOUR 2 SENATORS AND THE WHITE HOUSE,TO OPPOSE THIS UNFAIR ATTACK ON YOUR RETIREMENT BENEFITS!IF YOU DON’T DO ANYTHING ABOUT THIS VERY SERIOUS MATTER NOW,THEN IT WILL BECOME LAW AND YOU WILL BE SCREWED BIGTIME TO THE TUNE OF $50,000-$75,000 DOLLARS IN LOST RETIREMENT BENEFITS! THE TIME TO ACT IS NOW! THE UNION WILL NOT AND CANNOT HELP YOU OR SAVE YOU REGARDING THIS MATTER! EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU MUST ACT NOW! PASS THE WORD ALONG TO ALL YOUR CO-WORKERS AND ANY AND ALL FEDERAL AND POSTAL EMPLOYEES! ALSO,NEXT TO COME UNDER ATTACK WILL BE CSRS RETIREMENT BENEFITS…..JUST WAIT AND WATCH! ACT NOW

    • WARNING:ALL FEDERAL/POSTAL EMLOYEES says:

      BTW,this is not a Craft-only or Management-only matter;it has nothing to do with Union or Management…or Union vs. Management……it is a VERY SERIOUS matter for ALL FERS-covered FEDERAL and POSTAL employees,whether or not you are Craft,Management,Union,or non-Union.The fact of the matter is that you are about to be SCREWED BIG-TIME out of your retirement benefits(pay) by the present Congress(U.S. House of Representatives). ACT NOW AND SAVE YOUR RETIREMENT BENEFITS FROM BEING ELIMINATED BY THE PRESENT CONGRESS(U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES)!!!!!!!! IF YOU DO NOT ACT,THEN YOU WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO RETIRE!!!!!!!!

  32. David A.Lord says:

    lets get this buyout going!!!!

  33. lavenderlady.63 says:

    We all are assuming that money will be offered. Let’s wait and see. They will probably harrass the old timers until they get fed up and leave. Those who remain are to be pitied because management will take all the clerical clerk work and leave the hard labor for the clerks. There will not be advancement opportunities unless you are one of their buddies. You can forget about qualification and education.

  34. lavenderlady.63 says:

    to PTF6yrs: If you think management will make you a full time clerk, think again. Their goal is to eliminate clerks entirely. Get a grip. If you think that is the solution. Do your homework, the era of full time clerks is coming to an end. Do you read any information coming from management and the Unions? Or are you listening to the propaganda of your local management team, who have taken clerks’ work away and have split the work among themselves and their disability carriers. You are in for a rude awakening.

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