Talk of early-retirement incentives for U.S. Postal Service employees may have temporarily backfired: Career employees of the U.S. Postal Service have apparently been retiring in record low numbers
The number of full-time employees shrank by only 1.6% in the past year, according to a statistical report USPS released Friday. That’s a minuscule net attrition rate in an organization that is hardly hiring any new full-time employees, where half the employees are 50 or older, and where nearly half the employees are eligible to retire.
The net loss of only 8,141 full-timers between June 2011 and June 2012 is a far cry from the decrease of nearly 22,000 the previous year and more than 38,000 the year before that. The irony is that the Postal Service has placed increased emphasis on downsizing its workforce to cope with declining revenues.
The low attrition numbers back up what many USPS employees have been saying for more than a year: They are delaying retirement in hopes of bagging some incentive money.
Perhaps the pent-up interest in retiring is why nearly one in five eligible postmasters recently signed up for a $20,000 buyout incentive at a time when the job market for older workers is especially discouraging.
Because of no-layoff clauses and low employee turnover, the Postal Service has often resorted to targeted early-retirement incentives to thin its ranks.
Such buyouts end up saving the Postal Service far more money than they cost, an Office of Inspector General study concluded a year ago. But USPS’s cash crunch may hinder its ability to offer buyouts even if they will clearly save money down the road, the study noted.
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- How Does the Postal Service Discourage Early Retirement? Let Me Count the Ways
- Do We Really Need New Laws To Get More Postal Employees To Retire?