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USPS finances

Masked postal worker walks across suburban lawn

The Postal Service has reported its financial results for fiscal year 2020 (Oct. 1, 2019-Sept. 30, 2020). Here are some highlights:

• Revenue. Operating revenue was $73.1 billion, up 2.8 percent from the previous fiscal year, driven by a 25.3 percent increase in shipping and package revenue. First-Class Mail revenue fell 2.7 percent, while Marketing Mail revenue declined 15 percent.

• Volume. Total mail and package volume was 129.2 billion pieces, down 9.4 percent. First-Class Mail volume declined 4.2 percent, while Marketing Mail volume dropped 15.2 percent. Mail volume began to show slight improvement in the last few weeks of the year, although this was driven in part by the temporary surge in election-related mail. Package volume grew 18.8 percent compared with last year due to the surge in online shopping during the coronavirus pandemic.

• Expenses. Operating expenses for the year were $82.2 billion, an increase of 2.9 percent compared with the previous year.

• Net loss. The net loss for the year was $9.2 billion, an increase in net loss of $363 million compared with fiscal year 2019.

“2020 has been an extraordinary year for the Postal Service and the nation. Amid the tumult of the COVID-19 pandemic — and with the challenges of the election, disruptions in our workforce, rapid changes in our marketplace, and long-term financial distress — the 644,000 women and men of the Postal Service delivered for the American public,” said Postmaster General Louis DeJoy.

“We remain committed to our mission of service in every American community — delivering the medicine, supplies, benefit checks and important correspondence the public depends upon. We are likewise committed to addressing our significant financial imbalances — which were exacerbated by COVID this year and will cause lasting impacts — through a combination of management actions, and legislative and regulatory reforms,” DeJoy said.

The Postal Service’s Nov. 13 news release has more information.

Important info

The Postal Service wants employees to know about some important changes concerning the open season benefits enrollment period that began this week.

Here’s a rundown:

• The U.S. Office of Personnel Management recently announced that the average total premiums for individuals enrolled in plans under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHB) will increase by 3.6 percent for 2021.

This means premiums could increase as much as $1,000 a year for some plans.

You can use Checkbook’s Guide to Health Plans for Federal Employees, an online tool available on LiteBlue, to review your insurance rates for 2021. Because rates are increasing, USPS is encouraging you to compare plans and ensure you aren’t overspending on health care.

• Participants in the FSAFEDS flexible spending account (FSA) programs will be able to carry over $550 of unused amounts into 2021 if they reenroll for the 2021 plan year. Beginning this year, FSAs cover over-the-counter drugs and menstrual care products.

Employees must reenroll in FSAs every year during open season. You can go to the FSAFEDS website to learn more about signing up for FSAs.

Given the amount of changes taking place during open season this year, the Postal Service is encouraging employees to go to the Open Season LiteBlue page, which provides information on premiums, virtual benefits fair information, helpful videos on choosing the right plan and access to Checkbook’s Guide to Heath Plans.

Open season, the once-a-year opportunity for Postal Service employees to make changes to their health coverage or choose a new plan, runs through Dec. 14.

Going for gold

When the 2020 Race for a $Billion campaign finished in September, Arizona/New Mexico District found that it had surpassed its own goal for the initiative by almost 200 percent.

Race for a $Billion began Oct. 1, 2019, and aimed to raise $1 billion through employee-generated sales leads by the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30, 2020.

The campaign ultimately brought in $1.2 billion in estimated annualized revenue nationally. Arizona/New Mexico District’s share of that result was $16.2 million, which exceeded its goal by 188 percent.

Kevin Kiszczak, a business development specialist, credits participation in the district’s Go for the Gold challenge for better-than-expected new revenue results there.

He and fellow business development specialists Sherry Brown and Darlene Archibeque created Go for the Gold in 2019 to acknowledge employees for submitting leads that resulted in sales above a certain level.

Employees earned a bronze designation for combined sales leads of $100,000, silver for $250,000, and gold for $500,000.

“This spurred friendly competition among employees,” Kiszczak said. “People really wanted to win one of the special certificates.”

By the time the fiscal year 2020 campaign ended, the district’s business development team had awarded five gold, seven silver and 25 bronze designations. The sales team also gave 116 recognition certificates to employees whose leads resulted in less than $100,000.

Kiszczak said the district will use the Go for the Gold competition for this year’s national employee leads campaign, which is called The Power of One and has a goal of achieving an employee participation rate of 35 percent.

He encourages other districts to adopt a Go for the Gold challenge — or create something similar.

“You can’t lose with this,” Kiszczak said. “There is no downside to more recognition for employees.”

In addition to offering programs like Go for the Gold, the Postal Service is encouraging managers and supervisors to promote initiatives like Customer Connect Day, which is held each year on Nov. 17 to promote the lead-sharing program for letter carriers.

Mary Anderson, small-business engagement director at USPS headquarters in Washington, DC, said recognition programs help increase the number of employee-submitted leads.

“This effort shows the difference that one person can make,” she said. “Each person who participated helped the district beat its goal — that’s the ‘Power of One.’”

Employees can submit leads through the Business Connect, Clerks Care, Customer Connect, Mail Handlers, Rural Reach and Submit a Lead programs.

The Sales Blue page has more information about the Postal Service’s employee lead-sharing programs.

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Safety for numbers

The Postal Service is reminding employees and contractors to never send credit or debit card numbers electronically.

Email, text messages and instant messaging generally are not secure forms of communication — and encryption doesn’t make snooping impossible.

Consequently, employees and contractors shouldn’t send USPS-issued personal or customer-related credit or debit card numbers in any form of electronic communication.

Postal Inspection Service personnel are permitted to send cardholder data electronically only for law enforcement purposes.

USPS employees and contractors who have a critical need that requires the ability to send credit or debit card data electronically should email the Payment Compliance team to submit a request for an exception.

Exception requests will be evaluated by the team and the Corporate Information Security Office.