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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 Requests for early retirement must be submitted no later than Nov. 29 and can’t be withdrawn after that date.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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Early outs to be offered to managers, supervisors and postmasters

Note: The Federal Times says it was told by USPS Headquarters that the NAPS announcement below contains some unspecified “inaccuracies”.

September 04, 2013
From the National Association of Postal Supervicors:

naps-logoIn the last few days, the Postal Service’s plan to re-rank mail processing plants has become public knowledge despite their best efforts to keep the information confidential until September 6, 2013. The confidential nature of the discussions between NAPS and USPS Labor Relations was due to the fact that the Postal Service had not finalized their plans nor had they briefed Area and District Managers.

During our discussions, the following items were outlined:

• A VERA will be offered to all PCES and Field EAS with the exception of Headquarters employees. The VERA offer also includes all Area, District EAS employees and Postmasters. The notification period will includes written notification from the United State Postal Service beginning on September 16, 2013, and running through September 20, 2013, to all eligible VERA candidates.

• The VERA application period will begin September 20, 2013 with an irrevocable date of November 29, 2013. Two effective dates for retirement have been scheduled: For CSRS applicants the date is December 21, 2013 and for FERS applicants the date is January 31, 2014. The expanded date for FERS is to allow them to utilize 100% of their accrued sick leave balance. VERAs will have an irrevocable date of November 29, 2013.

• Mail Flow Controllers will be allowed to remain in their positions until at least April 18, 2014.

• The re-ranking of the plants will be formally announced on September 7, 2013. This was supposed to be the date that the information was supposed to be released. We expected that this information would be provided to the Executive Board at that time. Now, here are some details regarding the process:

The supervisor staffing ratio in the plants will remain the same. This was confirmed by USPS Headquarters during our meetings. In addition, there will be one MDO per tour and the level of the MDO will be tied into the ranking of the individual plant.

Plants will be classified as: Major, followed by PCES 1,PCES 2, PCES 3, PCES 4, EAS 25 and EAS 24. The support staff, MIPS and TANS Manager will be tied into the ranking of the plant while Maintenance staffing will be tied into the earned maintenance craft complement. Plant Managers, whose plant has been re-ranked, and choose to assume the newly ranked position will have appropriate ELM provisions in force. Employees who earn an increase will see a 2% salary increase while those plant ranking is reduced and elect to remain in the position will have saved salary for two years. Level 22 and below plants will be increase to level 24 and above plants, depending upon the outcome of the re-rankings.

The RIF avoidance timeline will be in effect from September 7, 2013 until February 11, 2014. General RIF notices will be mailed on January 14, 2014 and specific RIF notices mailed on February 12, 2014.

As a reminder all EAS should update their eCareer and any EAS level 16 and below must take the 642 exam. Please read all postings and be aware of eligibility and any limited areas of consideration. As always, there will be a review of SWC’s to determine the number of Supervisors to justify the position and/or posting of vacancies. Finally, there will be no form of incentive offered.

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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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Retiring? Check your leave balance

From USPS News Link:

Employees planning to retire or leave the Postal Service should review their electronic earnings statements for a complete listing of annual leave used and earned.

Employees who have taken leave that has not been earned will have to reimburse USPS when they leave or retire. Electronic statements — not the earnings statements USPS mails to employees — include “Annual Leave Advanced, year-to-date” as a separate line.

Employees can review their electronic earnings statements LiteBlue under My HR, Access ePayroll.

via USPS News Link Story – Check those electronic earnings statements.

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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.