The Postal Service is offering retirees the opportunity to come back and work part-time as postmaster relief employees. Under the plan, postmasters eligible for optional retirement or those under the current Voluntary Early Retirement offer would still receive annuity payments, although the work would not further increase the amount of the annuity.
Postmaster relief employees would work in post offices where service is being reduced to 2-4 hours per day, according to USPS. Those rehired would earn $11.76 per hour. Full-time postmasters earn an average of $29.85 per hour, according to May 2011 figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Any job openings must first be posted and the normal recruitment process be completed before retirees can be hired, according to a draft of an FAQ document posted by the National League of Postmasters. Retirees working as relief employees also would be limited to 180 days of work per calendar year.
This move comes as USPS continues to deal with financial struggles due to decreasing mail volume. In April, the Senate passed a bill with restructuring suggestions. Postal legislation championed by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, was reported out of his committee in January but has not yet been scheduled for a full House vote.
USPS announced in May that buyouts would be available to all full-time career postmasters. About 13,000 workers were eligible for this offer, which included $20,000 split between two payments. The deadline for taking the offer has since been extended to July 2, according to the National Association of Postmasters of the United States.