Retirement Buy Back - From PSE to Full-Time Career

Up until January 1, 1989, postal workers who began their postal career as temporary employees/Postal Support Employees were able to make additional contributions to their retirement benefits to make up for time lost when they were not eligible for these benefits. This allowed eligible employees to retire on time and with full benefits. This also created parity between temporary and career employees, ensuring they had equal access to retirement benefits. Unfortunately, this authority expired and was never reinstituted.

H.R. 4268: The Federal Retirement Fairness Act

Representatives Derek Kilmer (D-WA-06) and Tom Cole (R-OK-04) introduced H.R. 4268, the Federal Retirement Fairness Act, to right this wrong. The legislation would allow eligible employees to once again “buy back” time towards their retirement. Under the buy back, interested employees would make a deposit equal to what the government would have contributed had they been career, as calculated by the Office of Personnel Management, along with the corresponding interest rate.

Regardless of an employee’s initial hiring status, all postal employees should have access to benefits for their dedicated work. This legislation would help postal employees better prepare for their retirement and would affect more than 100,000 APWU members who converted from temporary to career positions.

Postal Service Employees (PSEs) are employees who do not yet have career appointments. Only after being converted to career employees does their calculator start. If H.R. 4268 were to pass, former PSEs could make catch up payments that would be credited to their retirement so that they could retire sooner with full benefits