(May 24, 2012) After in-depth discussions between NPMHU and management officials at the headquarters level, the Postal Service is offering financial incentives during a new round of retirement and separation opportunities for most Mail Handlers.
Under the terms of a Memorandum of Understanding signed by both parties on May 22, 2012, eligible Mail Handlers who choose to leave employment with the USPS on or before August 31, 2012 will each receive incentive payments totaling up to fifteen thousand dollars (for full-time employees). The MOU also provides a moratorium on excessing in all facilities until at least August 11, 2012 (unless excessing was already scheduled). This provision should eliminate excessing in some facilities that will now have vacancies due to retirements, and may provide vacancies closer to home for other employees who have to be excessed after August 11.
The monetary incentives included in the MOU will be available (with certain restrictions) to all Mail Handlers who are currently eligible for regular retirement, voluntary early retirement, and all other employees who may wish to separate from the Postal Service. Any Mail Handler wishing to participate in this retirement incentive offer must do so no later than July 2, 2012 — which date, as detailed in the MOU, is the deadline for accepting this incentive offer, and also is the deadline for revoking a submitted acceptance.
Those Mail Handlers who are eligible should be receiving a package in the mail from the Postal Service (these retirement documents will be mailed to the employee’s address that USPS has on file; an employee can confirm or change his/her mailing address online by logging on to www.liteblue.usps.gov), but in general terms VERA offers apply to employees covered under both the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS). More specifically, to be eligible the employee must:
* Meet the minimum age and service requirements:
* Be at least 50 years of age with at least 20 years of service, or any age with at least 25 years of service, and
* Have at least five years of creditable civilian service, not military service. Employees may use military service to meet the balance of service required for eligibility.
* The above criteria MUST be met by the VERA effective retirement date, which in this case is August 31, 2012.
* CSRS employees must have been employed under CSRS for at least one year out of the last two years, but the service need not be continuous.
In addition, certain retirement videos are available on the “lite-blue” network. An employee needs his/her Employee Identification Number (EIN) and Personal Identification Number (PIN) to log on at www.liteblue.usps.gov . Once logged on, the employee can go to “My HR,” then to “Browse By Subject,” then to “Retirement,” and then to “Watch Retirement Videos.” Both the regular and VER retirement videos are available at this site.
The agreement with the Postal Service is intended to provide a financial cushion, and added peace of mind, for Mail Handlers who might be prepared to move on to the next chapter of their lives by leaving the Postal Service – a decision that could be particularly trying during these difficult economic times. In addition, with many closings and consolidations expected to be implemented at mail processing facilities in August 2012 and February 2013, the MOU also will benefit remaining Mail Handlers to the extent that some Mail Handlers choose to retire because of this incentive. More specifically, remaining Mail Handlers will experience less excessing and will benefit from more landing spots if excessed, more bidding opportunities, and other results of reduced staffing.
Please understand that none of the information in this bulletin should be considered as official retirement advice, and the NPMHU National Office is neither recommending retirement or separation nor assuming any responsibility for decisions that you may make about your retirement or separation from the USPS. We recognize that retirement or separation from the Postal Service is a very personal decision, based on each individual’s own finances and circumstances. Therefore, the National Office cannot provide individual retirement advice.
Moreover, you may want to seek advice from the USPS at retirement counseling sessions that will be scheduled, and you also may wish to consult with your own financial advisor on this important decision. There are many personal and financial factors to be considered if you are thinking of accepting this incentive offer. For just some examples, you need to consider your personal family and health situation; how your health, life insurance, and other benefits may be affected; what your future sources of income will be; and whether you have alternative plans and opportunities.
Again, any Mail Handler who may be considering this incentive-based retirement or separation option should closely review the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding that are printed below, do the necessary research on the liteblue webpage, and participate in a USPS retirement counseling session to ensure that any and all questions are answered prior to applying for this retirement or separation option.
USPS ALSO HAS MADE AVAILABLE THE FOLLOWING RELATED DOCUMENTS: