It seems the U.S Postal Service is getting ready to layoff some employees later this month, sending out memos informing workers of their impending layoffs early in the week. Many postal workers are already on edge since the Postal Service has been closing mail centers and cutting routes for years.
Which Postal Service positions will be impacted?
The postal service will target non-union management and administrative staff for these so-called reductions in force or RIFs as the Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has already targeted other areas like mail processing plants and rural delivery routes.
A spokesperson for the US Postal Service declined to specify how many positions the agency is looking to eliminate, saying that they have approximately 60,000 employees located in its headquarter facilities and district offices. The RIFs are the third phase of DeJoy’s reorganization plan, following a realignment of postal work into three divisions and the consolidation of USPS’ 67 districts.
What are my options?
The Postal Service previously announced a voluntary early retirement incentive for eligible members of its workforce, which it noted as part of a preemptive procedure to avoid layoffs. The United States Postal Service will now offer a second round of incentives to employees before any job cuts take place.
Keep in mind, if you accept the early retirement package then you will not be able to receive the Social Security supplemental income until you reach your Minimum Retirement Age for Social Security. For more information on early retirement click here.
The national association has been working with post office management to create new positions that will not require layoffs.
The National Association of Postal Supervisors President Brian Wagner praised postal management last month for working closely with his organization throughout this process. Wagner stated that it is likely that affected employees would be able take a reassignment in order to avoid being laid off.
The United States Postal Service has had a freeze on hiring and promotions among supervisory and administrative positions throughout headquarters and district offices since August. This has left vacant positions that laid off staffers could transfer into if they chose to do so.
In a recent announcement, Tulino noted that the hiring freeze has ended in order to allow the placements of impacted workers. They will post openings starting later this month with one group specifically for those impacted employees and other positions at headquarters, area levels and customer service roles as well as some plant roles too.
Is Disability Retirement an option?
Many USPS employees have been struggling to work in their position for a significant amount of time due to an illness or injury. If you’re one of those employees and you’re worried that your performance may put you in a position to be one of the thousands laid off, then look no further than a relatively unknow retirement option hidden inside your benefits package.
If you are struggling to perform at least one of your required job duties due to your disability, then you could qualify for Federal Disability Retirement.
Federal Disability Retirement offers many benefits that include a monthly annuity, health benefits, survivor annuity, additional creditable years of service and many others. This is why Federal Disability Retirement can be a better long-term alternative to layoffs, reassignments or even early retirement options.
To learn more about qualifying for Federal Disability Retirement, click here.
What will happen if I get laid-off?
Those who do not accept a new position from the Postal Service will have to leave by Oct. 8, while those who take new jobs will start them on October 9. Employees that are impacted will receive their notice of reduction in force (RIF) on May 21, 2021.
The United States Postal Service (USPS) is taking steps to ensure that all its support functions are centered at the USPS headquarters in Washington. The agency is currently offering a second voluntary early retirement program, which would create more opportunities for laid-off workers who could potentially fill these newly open positions and have minimal disruption within their workforce.
How can this impact my Federal Disability Retirement claim?
If you are a postal worker and have been notified of an upcoming lay off, it is important to understand the impact this could have on your Federal Disability Retirement claim.
If you choose to accept a reassignment offer, then you will still be eligible to apply for Federal Disability Retirement from your new position as long as you are unable to perform at least 1 of your new required job duties due to a medical condition.
Keep in mind that if you accept a reassignment offer and the position is at a lower pay and/or grade level than your previous position, then The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) will calculate your Federal Disability Retirement benefits based on your new positions’ current salary, should you be approved.
If you choose to decline a reassignment offer, then you have 1 year from your date of separation to apply for Federal Disability Retirement. The layoff will not impact your Federal Disability Retirement claim and OPM will make a decision based on your previous position’s job requirements.
However, if you were offered a valid reassignment then you will no longer be able to apply from your previous position. A valid reassignment must be a position that is within your commuting area at the same pay and grad level as your current position.
You might be wondering how a change in your work status will affect you, but it can sometimes be tricky to figure out. It’s not always easy to sort through all the information about changes at your agency and this can lead to many unanswered questions about what your job will look like in the future.
Even though the U.S. Postal Service will start issuing layoff notices, you still have benefit options available to you that can help protect your future. If the early retirement or reassignment options do not suit your unique situation then Federal Disability Retirement is a benefit that you need to consider before making a final decision.
Making the right decision can be difficult which is why Harris Federal Law Firm is here to help guide you through this life changing event, Contact our law firm to schedule a FREE consultation to discuss the details of your case.