USPS offers part-time work to retired postmasters

Weeks after buyout announcement, relief employees sought.

The U.S. Postal Service is encouraging retirement-eligible postmasters to apply for part-time work at reduced-hours post offices, the agency announced Friday.



Postmasters who are eligible for retirement -- including those who meet the requirements under USPS’ current voluntary early retirement program -- can apply to become postmaster relief employees and work reduced hours as noncareer employees. Postmaster relief employees, or PMRs, will be paid $11.76 per hour and can still receive annuity payments from their former, full-time roles. Their annuities will not increase under the program, however.

The move comes a month after USPS announced plans to reduce operating hours to enable it to keep open rural post offices: As many as 9,000 rural post offices could remain open only two to four hours a day, and these are the locations where USPS plans to hire PMR for part-time assignments. An additional 4,000 rural post offices could be cut back to a six-hour workday. The plan also included offering $20,000 buyout incentives to all postmasters, except those in some large metropolitan areas. The PMR program applies only at post offices where operating times have been reduced two to four hours per day, according to USPS spokesman Mark Saunders. Most qualifying post offices are rural.

“These retiring postmasters have knowledge, experience and connections with their respective communities, making them able to ensure the service their communities receive continues, and making them excellent candidates for these positions,” Saunders said.

The agency said in a statement that “the Postal Service needs to fill PMR positions and we want postmasters considering retirement to know that there may be opportunities that will allow them to transition into retirement while providing service on a part-time basis to our customers.”

Some estimates suggest that as many as 150,000 USPS employees could retire right now, while another 100,000 will be eligible within the next four years. About 80 percent of USPS’ costs are labor-related. Work-retirement hybrid proposals for all federal workers have been extremely popular with lawmakers. Both chambers have approved proposals with similarities to the one USPS unveiled Friday.

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