Benefits At A Glance: For Newly Converted Employees

Benefits At A Glance: For Newly Converted Employees

By Mark Ferrari, Local Business Agent & Health Plan Rep.

 “Get involved in your union. Go to union meetings.”

Congratulations to all newly converted career employees!

As a career employee you now have more rights and benefits. Below are many of the benefits that are either now available to you for the first time or which are improved upon as a career employee. All thanks in large part to the union negotiated contract with the USPS.

Health Insurance:

The USPS will now pay more towards the premiums of all plans thanks to the APWU contract. Additionally, please remember that Health Plan Open Season occurs once per year for an approximate one month period near the end of the year and allows you to change your current plan to a different plan during this period. (Certain personal situations that meet the criteria of a Qualifying Life Event [QLE] may allow you to change your plan during other times of the year. Marriage, divorce, birth of a child, etc. would meet the conditions of a QLE.) You can contact me as the local APWU Health Plan Representative to find out more.

Life Insurance:

You now have the opportunity to enroll in a Federal Employee Group Life Insurance plan. If you have family members who
depend on your income you may want to make sure they are protected in case something happens to you.
You have a limited amount of time to enroll in this so please review all information the USPS sends you as soon as possible.

Job Bidding:

As a career employee you have the opportunity to bid on vacant duty assignments that are posted. The rules vary somewhat depending on what craft you are in (Clerk, Maintenance, MVS) so contact your steward to find out more information on how to bid and apply.

Overtime List:

You can sign up to work overtime for every 3 month period (quarter) during the year. The Overtime Desired List allows you to sign up to work your off days and/or before tour and after tour. Check with your steward on how to sign up for overtime if you have any questions.


As a career employee you will get 10 paid Holidays. These are: New Year’s Day; Martin Luther King Day; Washington’s Birthday; Memorial Day; Independence Day; Labor Day; Columbus Day; Veteran’s Day; Thanksgiving Day; and, Christmas Day. Additionally, in conjunction with the holidays, you have a right to volunteer to work the day designated as your holiday and/or any of the other 2 days considered part of the “Holiday Call.” Contact a steward for further information on how to go about this.

Contractual Pay Increases:

You will get annual pay increases and Cost Of Living pay increases where applicable added to your hourly and yearly rates of pay.

Step Increases:

In addition to your contractual raises and Cost Of Living Allowances guaranteed under the union contract with the USPS, newly
converted career employees also get step increases depending on what pay level you are in as follows:
Level 3 = 44 weeks
Levels 4-7 = 36 weeks
Levels 8-11 = 30 weeks

Sunday Premium:

Full time career employees receive an additional 25% of their hourly base pay during a scheduled tour that includes any part of Sunday. This cannot exceed 8 hours per day and does not when you are working on overtime.

Penalty Overtime Time Pay:

Also known as “double time” pay, this applies under certain situations such as when working both off days in a service week or over  10 hours in a service day.

Annual Leave:

Is accrued based on your number of years of creditable federal service (military time included.) Less than 3 years of service = 104 hours per year; at least 3 years and less than 15 years of service = 160 hours per year; 15 years or more of service = 208 hours of annual leave per year. Keep in mind that these hours will be pro-rated for the remainder of the year but at the beginning of the new year you will get the total amount forwarded to you to be used for the duration of the year. Also, as a career employee you will be asked to choose annual leave for the next year as part of the “initial annual leave” selections. This is usually done in December and is based on your seniority in the section or office you work in.

Sick Leave:

Is accrued at no more than 4 hours per pay period based on number of paid hours in a pay period. Unlike annual leave, sick leave is NOT forwarded to you as you must earn it as you go.


As a career employee you may request a transfer to another office anywhere around the country. The approval is based on certain criteria that must be met prior to the transfer being approved.

Human Resources Shared Services (HRSSC):

You can call 1 877 477-3273 when you have to report an absence, to bid or to check on other postal related benefit issues. You should have already received a pin number sent to you to allow you access to the HRSSC phone system.

Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS):

You qualify for a pension when you retire and are automatically enrolled in FERS. The amount is based on your years of service and your base pay. Previous military service and casual service prior to 1989 can be counted provided you take measures to buy back that time. HR Shared Services can be contacted for further info on military and casual buyback at 1 877 477-3273.

Thrift Savings Plan (TSP):

Is a retirement savings and investment plan that is separate from the Federal Employees Retirement System plan. You may contribute money from your paycheck into the TSP with matching funds up to 5% of your base pay. There are several different funds you can invest in. See online for further information.

Liteblue and PostalEASE:

Make sure you are password registered to access these sites in order to utilize many different employment options from viewing your pay information to bidding on jobs to applying for a transfer to TSP contributions. Remember, the password for these sites is
different than the one used to contact HRSSC by phone. The web addresses are and *These sites are best viewed using the Internet Explorer browser.

APWU Website and News:

  • As an APWU member you can keep up on postal and union related news at the website
  • Additionally, you should receive the national APWU magazine every 2 months,
  • and the local Hi-Lites newsletter bi-monthly as well.
Read this information to learn about your rights as postal employees and ask questions.