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VER

Field organizational changes- USPS continues operational efficiency initiatives

From USPS News Link:

As a part of its network optimization effort, USPS has developed a facility ranking strategy to align staffing across the entire mail processing network. Included in this strategy are processing and distribution centers, processing and distribution facilities, logistics and distribution centers, network distribution centers, international service centers and annexes.

New rankings and Executive and Administrative Schedule (EAS) staffing criteria went into effect Sept. 7. With these changes, USPS also will implement an organizational change process that could include a reduction-in-force (RIF).

Communications about these changes began last week. Managers will keep employees informed throughout the process.

As part of the effort to avoid a RIF, USPS is offering a Voluntary Early Retirement (VER) to field EAS employees at all locations, regardless of whether they’re impacted. An incentive is not a part of this VER offering.

VER eligibility is based on a Dec. 31, 2013 VER-effective retirement date. USPS will mail annuity estimates to VER-eligible employees the week of Sept. 16. VER-eligible employees may retire either Dec. 31, 2013, or Jan. 31, 2014. Requests for early retirement must be submitted no later than Nov. 29 and can’t be withdrawn after that date.

More information related to the RIF and the VER is available on the LiteBlue employee website. Go to the Organizational Changes pages and the Workforce Connection site. Employees also can find these links in the “Hot Topics” section on LiteBlue, or the “My HR” section on the upper right corner of the LiteBlue home page.

Employees should check these sites often for updates.

Retirement: FERS and sick leave

From USPS News Link:

Employees working under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) who are planning to retire this year are advised to review how unused sick leave will be credited as service when calculating retiree benefits.

FERS employees who retire between now and Dec. 31, 2013 will have 50 percent of their earned sick leave credited toward service time. Those who retire after Dec. 31, 2013, will have all unused sick leave credited.

As of Jan. 1, 2014, FERS retirees will join Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) retirees in having all unused sick leave credited.

When unused sick leave is computed in an annuity, it can add to the amount an employee receives every month in an annuity.

Employees should note that unused sick leave does not count towards the time required for retirement eligibility, and is not credited for deferred retirements.

FERS Employees May Be Eligible for Annuity Supplement

APWU Web News Article #143-12, Nov. 28, 2012

USPS Retirement Incentive Information
Newsbreak, 10/01/12:
 USPS Offers Retirement Opportunity   To APWU Employees [PDF]
LiteBlue:
 APWU Incentive at a Glance [PDF]
LiteBlue:
  Frequently Asked Questions [PDF]

Employees covered by the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) who are contemplating retirement should consider that they may be eligible for a FERS Annuity Supplement. With deadlines approaching for APWU-represented employees to qualify for a $15,000 retirement incentive, annuity supplements could influence the choices union members make.

Who is eligible?

  • Employees may be eligible for the supplement if they retire at their Minimum Retirement Age (MRA) with 30 years of service. The MRA is from age 55 to 57, based on the employee’s birth year.
  • Employees may be eligible for the supplement if they retire at age 60 with 20 years of service.
  • Employees who accept a Voluntary Early Retirement (VER) offer before reaching their MRA become eligible for the supplement upon reaching their MRA (between ages 55 and 57).

Employees who retire at age 62 or older are ineligible.

APWU Retirees Department
For information and assistance concerning retirement, members should contact the APWU Retirees Department.   You can email questions to the APWU Retiree Q & A Center at RetireeQandA@apwu.org.
Retirement Counseling - 2009 Pre-arbitration Settlement [PDF]
Key to Commonly Used Federal Acronyms Concerning Voluntary Early Retirement, Incentives [PDF]

FERS Annuity Supplements are paid each month until retirees reach age 62.

Click here for information from the USPS [PDF] about how the supplement is calculated, as well as circumstances that may limit the amount.

Additional information can be found in questions #18-24 in Questions and Answers on Benefits, Pay, and Leave Under Voluntary Early Retirement Authority (VERA) [PDF], prepared by the USPS.

Employees contemplating retirement are eligible for retirement counseling and are encouraged to take advantage of the opportunity.

Full-time employees except those in Non-Traditional Full-Time (NTFT) duty assignments of less than 40 hours must indicate their intent to accept the incentive offer on or before Dec. 3, 2012. Part-time employees and full-time employees in NTFT assignments of less than 40 hours must indicate their intent to accept the incentive offer on or before Jan. 4, 2013.

Give Management Your Address

USPS presentation on FERS Annuity Supplements [PDF]

APWU members who are considering retirement are reminded that it is important to make sure that management has the address where you want your incentive payments to be sent.

The incentive retirement agreement stipulates that eligible employees will complete PS Form 3077, Request to Forward Salary Check, and submit it to their employing office. The incentive payments will be distributed to the address provided by the employee.  In the absence of the submission of PS Form 3077, both payments will be mailed to the location where employees worked before they retired or resigned.

 

Incentive offer deadline

APWU employees face decision

Full-time career employees in the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) bargaining units have until Monday, Dec. 3, 2012, at 8:30 p.m. EST to take advantage of their special incentive offer. Part-time employees and non-traditional, full-time employees with schedules less than 40 hours per week have until Jan. 4, 2013 to accept the offer.

Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS) employees also may be eligible for an annuity supplement, paid in addition to their FERS retirement annuity payments. Click here for additional information about this annuity supplement.

Last October, USPS offered a Voluntary Early Retirement (VER) and Special Incentive Offer to APWU employees represented by the APWU. Eligible APWU employees who want to leave under the VER — as well as APWU employees who have reached their minimum retirement age and service requirements and those who wish to voluntarily resign — are eligible for this special cash incentive.

Complete details of how to accept the offers, as well as FAQs and retirement videos, are available at the Workforce Connection website on LiteBlue. Employees with questions can contact the Human Resources Shared Services Center at 877-477-3273, option 5.

USPS encourages this information to be shared with all eligible employees.

 

Retirement Counseling

APWU Web News Article #140-09, Nov. 19, 2012

Employees contemplating retirement are eligible for retirement counseling and should take advantage of the opportunity, Executive Vice President Greg Bell is reminding union members. “The decision to retire is among the most important you will ever make. I encourage you to consider the decision carefully and urge you to participate in USPS-sponsored counseling so you can make an informed decision.”

Retirement counseling will be conducted via phone in group sessions not to exceed 10 participants. Sessions are available five days per week during the hours of 7 a.m. EST – 8:30 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday.

Counseling is available for employees who are eligible for optional (regular) retirement and those who are eligible for Voluntary Early Retirement.

Individual Counseling, Spouse Present

Employees requesting additional help after a group session will be accommodated on an individual basis. In accordance with a 2009 pre-arbitration settlement [PDF], local management must arrange reasonably private space for employees who wish to receive individual counseling on the clock.

Employees are permitted to have their spouse and/or advisor present during counseling.

Employees who cannot obtain counseling from Human Resources Shared Services Center (HRSSC) without assistance will be offered help from local management. Whether an employee is unable to start or complete the retirement counseling without assistance will be determined jointly by local management and the union on a case-by-case basis.

VER Eligible Employees

Full-time employees except employees in Non-Traditional Full-Time (NTFT) duty assignments of less than 40 hours must indicate their intent to accept the incentive offer on or before Dec. 3, 2012. Employees who wish to revoke the decision must do so by Dec. 3, 2012.

Employees whose VER application and Statement of Irrevocability (SOI) were received by Friday, Nov. 9, 2012, should have group counseling appointments available on or before the irrevocable date of Dec. 3, 2012.  Group counseling sessions should be scheduled by the employee no later than Nov. 20, 2012, to ensure appointment availability.

In the event a VER group counseling appointment is not available, employees wishing to revoke their decision may withdraw their VER application in writing by close of business Dec. 13, 2012.

Full-time employees will have a separation date of Jan. 31, 2013, with the exception of employees in Accounting Services position of the Information Technology/Accounting Services (IT/ASC) bargaining unit, who will have a separation date of Feb. 28, 2012.

In the event a VER group counseling appointment is not available, employees wishing to revoke their decision may withdraw their VER application in writing by the close of business Dec. 13, 2012.

Regular Retirement

Please note that employees eligible for optional (regular) retirement may revoke their decision up to the effective date of their retirement.

Part-time employees and full-time employees in NTFT assignments of less than 40 hours must indicate their intent to accept the incentive offer on or before Jan. 4, 2013. Employees wishing to revoke the decision must also do so by Jan. 4, 2012.

Employees whose VER application and SOI are received at HRSSC by Monday, Dec. 10, 2012, will have group counseling appointments available on or before the irrevocable date of Jan. 4, 2013.    Group counseling sessions must be scheduled by the employee no later than Dec. 21, 2012, to ensure appointment availability.

In the event a VER group counseling appointment is not available, employees wishing to revoke their decision may withdraw their VER application in writing by close of business Jan. 14, 2012.

Retirement Counseling.

APWU Retirement Incentive Offer Mailing Error

The APWU has been informed by the Postal Service that a problem occurred in the mailing of retirement incentive offer letters to full-time employees who are eligible to take optional retirement, Executive Vice President Greg Bell has reported.  Due to a technical problem at the printing center, some individuals may have received an annuity estimate intended for another individual.

The USPS believes [PDF] the problem occurred in a limited area in California.

The Postal Service will be resending the special retirement incentive letter to all full-time employees eligible for optional retirement in California to ensure all eligible employees have accurate information.  The new incentive offer letter is scheduled to be mailed on Friday, Oct. 26, 2012.

Any employee that received material concerning another postal employee should shred or otherwise destroy it.  The information should not be retained and does not need to be returned.

 

APWU: Employees Should Receive Incentive Offers by Oct. 22

The APWU has been informed by the Postal Service that letters offering incentives to APWU-represented employees who are eligible for voluntary early retirement (VER) were mailed on Oct. 10, 2012, and to employees eligible for regular retirement shortly after.  Eligible employees should receive their incentive offer information no later than Monday, Oct. 22, 2012, Executive Vice President Greg Bell said. Read the rest of this entry »

APWU, USPS Negotiate Retirement Incentive

APWU News Bulletin 20-2012, Oct. 1, 2012 | PDF

The APWU has negotiated a retirement incentive agreement that awards eligible full-time career employees a $15,000 payment in two installments, President Cliff Guffey has announced. The first installment will be $10,000; the second will be $5,000.

“Our goal was to achieve an incentive for members who are ready to end their postal careers; to ensure that no groups of employees are excluded, and to lessen the hardships of excessing for those who remain,” Guffey said. “This agreement accomplishes those objectives.”

Who’s Covered

The incentive will be offered to eligible full-time employees who terminate their service through retirement, early retirement, or voluntary separation. Eligible part-time employees will receive a prorated amount.

Most full-time employees will have a separation date of Jan. 31, 2013. To allow sufficient time to provide accurate retirement estimates, part-time employees and employees occupying Non-Traditional Full-Time (NTFT) assignments of less than 40 hours per week will have a separation date of Feb. 28, 2013. Employees in Accounting Services position of the Information Technology/Accounting Services (IT/ASC) bargaining unit also will have a separation date of Feb. 28.

The $10,000 payment will be made on May 24, 2013; the $5,000 payment will be made on May 23, 2014.

Employees who had a previously scheduled retirement date earlier than Jan. 31, 2013, may retire on their scheduled date and receive the incentive. Employees who had a previously scheduled retirement date after Jan. 31, 2013, must change their date to Jan. 31, 2013, and meet retirement eligibility on that date in order to receive the incentive.

To qualify for early retirement, employees must have at least 20 years of service and be 50 years of age or must have 25 years of service at any age. (For employees in the Civil Service Retirement System, the annuity is reduced 2 percent for each year workers are under age 55.) Eligibility will be based on a Jan. 31, 2013, effective date. Eligible employees who do not qualify for regular or early retirement but wish to receive the incentive may resign.

Not covered by the agreement are employees who were in a probationary status on the date of separation; employees who were issued a Notice of Removal or Letter of Decision as of the effective date; employees who separate via disability retirement, and employees who separate via transfer to another federal agency.

There will be no limit on the number of employees who may accept the offer, except for employees working in Accounting Services positions in the IT/ASC bargaining unit: No more than 30 employees may accept the offer in the Eagan MN ASC; no more than 10 employees may accept the offer in the San Mateo CA ASC, and no more than 20 in the St. Louis ASC.

Next Steps

Full-time employees must indicate their intent to accept the incentive offer on or before Dec. 3, 2012. Employees taking voluntary early retirement who wish to revoke their decision by must do so by Dec. 3, 2012. The deadline for part-time employees and those in NTFT assignments is Jan. 4, 2013.

Retirement counseling will be conducted via phone in group sessions not to exceed 10 retirees. Employees requesting additional help after participating in a group session will be accommodated on an individual basis.

Under the agreement, where the number of employees accepting the incentive impairs operational efficiency, the USPS may post the duty assignments of employees accepting the offer any time after Dec. 3, 2012, to be filled no sooner than vacating employees’ separation date. If temporary staffing is still needed, Postal Support Employees (PSEs) may replace career employees who accept the incentive for a period not to exceed 90 days from the effective date of the voluntary separation. There can be no involuntary reassignment from an installation while the district PSE cap is exceeded.

 

Guffey contradicts Burrus- says USPS hasn’t offered retirement incentive

You may remember that earlier this month former APWU President Bill Burrus accused the current APWU leadership of holding up retirement incentives for APWU members:

The APWU National Executive Board has endorsed the decision to withhold agreement on a monetary incentive for retiree eligibles in response to management’s refusal to implement newly negotiated contractual provisions.

In a statement today, the APWU says that’s not true:

Incentives Updates

At pre-convention meetings, Guffey reported that the union has engaged in informal discussions with management on incentives to encourage employees to retire or resign. To date, the USPS has made no official offers to the APWU, but discussions are continuing, he said.

Guffey said he understands that there is great interest in incentives among some members, but it is not wise to negotiate in public. “Management will offer incentives when they believe it is in their best interest,” he said. “Right now, it seems they believe they can find spots for excess employees, so they haven’t offered any money” – even in areas affected by consolidation.

If the situation changes, “we will do everything we can to get the best terms for our members,” he said.

APWU Update on Retirement Incentives

From the American Postal Workers Union:

As we reported in June, the APWU has been engaged in informal conversations with management on financial incentives to encourage employees to leave the Postal Service.Although no official offers have been made, discussions are continuing, APWU President Cliff Guffey has reported.“I understand that there is great interest in this topic among some members, but it is simply not feasible or smart to conduct negotiations in public,” he said.“As additional information becomes available, we will keep members informed. This process cannot be rushed. In the meantime, please rest assured that needs of APWU members are uppermost in our mind. We will not be pressured into accepting an offer that is not in the best interests of our members.”

via Update on Incentives.