The Federal Retirement Fairness Act

Retirement Buy Back - From PSE to Full-Time Career

Up until January 1, 1989, postal and federal workers who began their postal job as temporary employees were able to make additional contributions to their retirement benefits, to obtain credit for their years of service when they were not eligible for these benefits. These contributions included a deposit of 1.3 percent of the base pay for each year as a temporary employee, corresponding interest, and the government's contribution as calculated by the Office of Personnel Management. This allowed eligible employees to retire on time and with full benefits. This created parity between temporary and career employees, ensuring they had equal access to retirement benefits. Unfortunately, this authority expired, and was never re-instituted.

Representatives Derek Kilmer (D-WA-06) and Tom Cole (R-OK-04) introduced H.R. 2478, the Federal Retirement Fairness Act, to right this wrong.

H.R. 2478: The Federal Retirement Fairness Act

The legislation would:

• Allow eligible employees to once again make additional contributions to be credited towards their years of service, similar to what was done before January 1, 1989.

• Provide all postal employees access to benefits for their dedicated work, regardless of an employee's initial hiring status.

• Affect more than 60,000 APWU members who converted from temporary to career positions.

Postal Support Employees (PSEs) are employees who don't yet have career appointments. Only after being converted to career employees does his/her retirement calculator start. If H.R. 2478 were to pass, former PSEs could make catch up payments that would be credited to his/her retirement so that he/she could retire sooner with full benefits.