The U.S. Postal Service began sending early retirement offers to more than 15,000 employees Monday, as part of an ongoing effort to reduce its workforce while avoiding layoffs.
USPS said it does not have an exact goal for the number of employees who accept the offers, but confirmed it has identified 15,580 field employees on the Executive and Administration Schedule who are eligible. EAS workers are generally managers, supervisors and local postmasters.
“The [Voluntary Early Retirement option] is a tool the Postal Service uses to lessen the impact on employees who are potentially impacted by organizational change,” said Patricia Licata, a USPS spokeswoman.
Employees will receive their notifications of eligibility throughout the week but will not receive the actual applications until Sept. 20, according to National Association of Postal Supervisors President Louis Atkins. Eligible employees must accept the offer by Nov. 29 and can choose whether to leave by Dec. 31, 2013, or Jan. 31, 2014.
Postal workers who accept the offer will not receive any financial incentive to leave; instead, they will collect their retirement annuity earlier than they would have otherwise been eligible. Those enrolled in the Federal Employees Retirement System who choose the January retirement date will receive 100 percent retirement credit for accrued sick leave, while those who choose the earlier date will not, according to NAPS.
The Postal Service -- which now has about 500,000 employees -- has cut its workforce by about 200,000 employees over the past several years, and Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe has said it will need to trim an additional 100,000 in order to regain sound fiscal footing.