Laying off senior employees


Q: The U.S. Postal Service wants to lay off senior employees first. I thought in a layoff situation the junior employees are removed first.
Can they do that if you are a federal civil employee? Will I have the option to retire first before they do this? I have 32 years of service and I don’t want to lose those precious years and my pension. The postal service is saying it’s in dire straits, but they are still hiring people at headquarters and the plants. How and Why is it doing this if it’s so broke? What should I do?

A: Reductions-in-force are designed to reduce the number of employees needed at certain levels and/or in specific occupations. RIFs can be agency wide or targeted at specific geographic locations. Bump and retreat rights to other positions are based on several factors, including: veterans preference, seniority and performance ratings. If you are given a specific RIF notice and have the combination of age and service needed for immediate or early retirement, you can retire.


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Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to

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