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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 Requests for early retirement must be submitted no later than Nov. 29 and can’t be withdrawn after that date.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.

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.