Would You Accept $15,000 to Retire Early?

The U.S. Postal Service is offering employees a cash incentive to retire or resign

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The U.S. Postal Service offered 30,000 employees a $15,000 cash incentive to retire or resign before the end of the fiscal year. But is $15,000 worth of payments spread out over 2 years enough of an enticement to give up your employment at a time when new jobs are scarce?

[Check out these 10 Tips for Evaluating an Early Retirement Offer.]

The majority of employees eligible for the buyout work in mail processing facilities and are represented by the American Postal Workers Union or the National Postal Mail Handlers Union. Those who accept will be paid $10,000 over the last three months of this year and $5,000 in October 2010. Letter carriers, who are represented by different unions, are not eligible for this retirement incentive because the number of addresses grows by 1.5 million each year, the Postal Service said.

[Find out why one woman decided to Accept an Early Retirement Incentive.]

Depending on how many workers accept the buyout, the Postal Service could save as much as $500 million next year in salary and benefit payments. “This decision reflects our desire to provide a fair and equitable opportunity for some of our longest-serving employees,” says Anthony Vegliante, chief human resources officer and executive vice president. “It is important to the Postal Service that we take appropriate measures to address our current financial situation.”

This is the latest in a series of cost-cutting measures at the post office including cutting 100 million work hours, halting construction of new postal facilities, and closing six district offices. A hiring freeze has also been implemented and management salaries were frozen. The Postal Service lost $2.4 billion from April through June. E-mail, electronic bill payments, and the recession all played a role in reducing mail volume, USPS says.

Tell us, would $15,000 be enough to entice you to retire earlier than planned?