Saturday, November 30, 2019

'What Safety Means to Me!'

Holiday Deadlines and Related News

It’s the last week of November and the holidays are staring you in the face. And although there is one less week to prepare for them than last year, there’s no need to panic because you can “Click-N-Chill,” knowing the Postal Service has your back this holiday season. Even if you go a bit overboard on Cyber Monday, "We Deliver for Yule.”

2019 Holiday Shipping Deadlines
The Postal Service recommends the following mailing and shipping deadlines for expected delivery by December 25 to Air/Army Post Office/Fleet Post Office/Diplomatic Post Office and domestic addresses*:

·  Dec. 9  – APO/FPO/DPO (ZIP Code 093 only) Priority Mail and First-Class Mail
·  Dec. 11 – APO/FPO/DPO (all other ZIP Codes) Priority Mail and First-Class Mail
·  Dec. 14 – USPS Retail Ground
·  Dec. 18 – APO/FPO/DPO (except ZIP Code 093) USPS Priority Mail Express®
·  Dec. 20 – First-Class Mail (including greeting cards)
·  Dec. 20 – First-class packages (up to 15.99 ounces)
·  Dec. 21 – Priority Mail
·  Dec. 23 – Priority Mail Express*

·  Dec. 18 – Alaska to mainland First-Class Mail
·  Dec. 19 – Alaska to mainland Priority Mail
·  Dec. 21 – Alaska to mainland Priority Mail Express

·  Dec. 19 – Hawaii to mainland Priority Mail and First-Class Mail
·  Dec. 21 – Hawaii to mainland Priority Mail Express

* Not a guarantee, unless otherwise noted. Dates are for estimated delivery before Dec. 25. Actual delivery date may vary depending on origin, destination, Post Office acceptance date and time and other conditions. Some restrictions apply. For Priority Mail Express® shipments mailed Dec. 21 through Dec. 25, the money-back guarantee applies only if the shipment was not delivered, or delivery was not attempted, within two business days.

To send packages to loved ones serving in the military or at diplomatic posts abroad, the Postal Service offers a discounted price of $18.45 on its largest Priority Mail Flat Rate Box. The price includes a $1.50 per-box discount for mail sent to APO/FPO/DPO destinations worldwide.

Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, the Postal Service expects to deliver 800 million packages. To handle this year’s holiday shipping, the Postal Service is expanding Sunday deliveries in high package volume locations. More than 8 million packages are expected to be delivered each Sunday in December. Mail carriers will also deliver Priority Mail Express packages on Christmas Day for an additional fee in select locations.

Busiest Week
The Postal Service’s busiest time of the season is two weeks before Christmas. Customer mailing and shipping traffic at local Post Offices is expected to increase beginning Dec. 9, with the week of Dec.16 predicted to be the busiest mailing, shipping and delivery week. During the week of Dec. 16, the Postal Service expects to process and deliver nearly 2.5 billion pieces of First-Class Mail, including greeting cards.

Ship Gifts in Your Jammies
Don’t feel like going to the Post Office to drop off your special gift? You can stay comfy and visit The Postal Service anticipates Dec. 16 will be the Postal Service’s busiest day online with more than 8.5 million consumers predicted to visit for help shipping that special holiday gift. And is always open.

It’s estimated nearly 400,000 consumers will use the Postal Service’s Click-N-Ship feature and other online services on Dec. 16 to order free Priority Mail boxes, print shipping labels, purchase postage and even request free next-day Package Pickup.

Holiday Advertising Campaign
The Postal Service’s 2019 holiday campaign features direct mail, TV, radio, print, digital and social media promotions highlighting the organization’s proud tradition of delivering cheer and value to consumers and businesses.

The first of several TV spots began airing Nov. 4 and can be viewed on USPS-TV. A direct mail piece with information customers need to know for the holidays will be mailed to more than 100 million homes by Thanksgiving.

The Postal Service also offers shipping tips in 10 video “how to” guides. Each video is less than three minutes long and shows how to address packages, ship packages and pack a box so items arrive safely.

New this year
Mail and packages weighing more than 10 ounces and/or are more than a half-inch thick using stamps as postage cannot be dropped into a collection box or left for a carrier to pick up. Instead, take them to a window clerk at a Post Office. Click-N-Ship customers are unaffected by this change.

Additional news and information, including all domestic, international and military mailing, and shipping deadlines, can be found at the Postal Service Holiday Newsroom:

Friday, November 29, 2019

What You Should Know About HDHPs

High-Deductible Health Plans  (HDHPs),  generally offer lower premiums than other plans. Do you have questions about High-Deductible Health Plans, one of the options available during this year’s open season?

Here’s what you should know:
  • HDHPs generally offer lower premiums than other plans. This means you’ll have less money taken out of your paycheck.
  • HDHPs give you greater flexibility. While HDHPs have higher annual deductibles and out-of-pocket limits than other Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHB) plans, they have features that help you pay your medical expenses, including the ability to pay expenses on a pretax or tax deductible basis.
  • HDHPs work with HSAs and HRAs. With HDHPs, a portion of your premium or a credit is automatically deposited into your health savings account (HSA) or health reimbursement arrangement (HRA).
This is money you can use for out-of-pocket health care costs or to save for future medical expenses. HDHPs combine an HSA or HRA with the traditional coverage offered by health maintenance organization and fee-for-service plans.

Any unused money in your HSA rolls over from year to year and stays with you, even if you change plans or leave the Postal Service.

The Open Season LiteBlue page has more information.

Open season, the annual period when you can make changes to your health coverage, runs through Monday, December 9.

Source: Link

'What Safety Means to Me!'

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Thanksgiving Greetings

Salvatore Vacca
As we prepare for Thanksgiving and count our blessings, I want to take a moment to express my gratitude to you.  

While I am new to the district, I am no stranger to South Florida. Some of you may remember that I previously served as Postmaster in Fort Lauderdale and in West Palm Beach, and was detailed as Officer In Charge in Miami before I advanced my career outside the district.

It’s great to be back!  Since my recent arrival, I have visited with employees at plants and several Post Offices. I have noticed a common bond among all employees. That bond is your dedication and commitment to our internal and external customers. I sincerely thank you for all that you do to improve our workplace environment and to increase customer satisfaction.

As we celebrate Thanksgiving, I ask that you join me and reflect upon the comfortable lifestyle that our paychecks provide us. While we often may not think about the benefits that we earn every pay period, we do have a generous employee benefits package that includes a retirement plan, Thrift Savings Plan, Flexible Spending Account, leave accrual programs, and pre-tax health insurance premiums. I’m grateful for these benefits and show my appreciation by being regular in attendance and by giving an honest day’s work for a fair day’s pay.

Thanksgiving also reminds me that our postal family demonstrates good corporate citizenship every day. Our collective commitment to the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) is a prime example. Throughout the years, the CFC has become a powerful way for us to make donations to charities to help those individuals who are less fortunate in our community, across the country, and around the world. This year as you join relatives and friends around the Thanksgiving dinner table, I encourage you to think about how you can help others who truly are in need and decide to pledge to the CFC.
On Thanksgiving Day, we will join millions of Americans who indulge in a turkey dinner with all the trimmings and watch the Macy’s Parade and football games. To postal employees. November 28 signals the official start of the 2019 Holiday Season. Working together as a team --- a postal family --- I’m confident that we will continue to deliver the outstanding service that our customers have come to expect and to deserve from us.

May you and your family enjoy a Happy Thanksgiving!

'What Safety Means to Me!'

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

FSAs Save Health Care Dollars

Do you wear eyeglasses, contact lenses or visit the dentist more than twice a year? If so, experts say a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) is likely a good option for you.

FSAs can help your health care dollars go further — but only if you plan accordingly.

FSAs allow you to set aside money on a pretax basis to pay for health care and dependent care expenses. You can enroll in an FSA during this year’s open season benefits enrollment period, which runs now through Monday, December 9.
Beginning January 1, the maximum amount you can contribute is $2,750 toward a health care FSA and $5,000 toward a dependent care FSA.

With a health care FSA, you can roll over as much as $500 into the next year if you reenroll. Anything above this amount must be used by December 31.

You can learn more about FSAs on the Open Season FSA LiteBlue pages.


Combined Federal Campaign

Making a choice between food and life’s necessities is not uncommon for many. It could be your neighbor, your child’s classmate, or a co-worker – hunger does not discriminate. In the United States alone, 37 million people struggle with hunger, including more than 11 million children. Worldwide, 795 million people in the world do not have enough food to lead a healthy, active life. That's about one in nine people on earth.

Households that are food insecure often do not have access to food that supports a healthy lifestyle, like fruits and vegetables. Additionally, many children rely on free or reduced-price lunch programs and often go to bed hungry. But there are ways to alleviate the hunger crisis. Many CFC charities give the opportunity to support food programs in local communities, around the country, and across the globe. There are also opportunities through the CFC to volunteer and work to end the fight against hunger.

Here’s how you can make an impact:

·   $20 supplies one family in a developing country with a fuel-efficient stove, offering a lifetime of healthy, home-cooked meals.

·   $30 purchases a holiday meal box, which contains all the fixings for a traditional holiday meal for a family of eight during the holidays.

·   $87 purchases a month of fresh food for a pregnant woman to support her and her baby’s health.

To pledge online, please visit

'What Safety Means to Me!'

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Friday, November 22, 2019

Oakland Park Lead SSA Earns Praise

Oakland Park Branch Supervisor, Customer Services Tyshika Whitehead (left) thanked Lead Sales and Services Associate Otis Blair (right) for a perfect Retail Customer Experience (RCE) transaction.
"Thank you for always being your best and providing excellent customer service!" said Whitehead.
Photo: Fort Lauderdale Customer Relations Coordinator Edwin Vivas

HazMat Question Adds Mercury

USPS wants employees to be aware of signs that may indicate the presence of mercury in packages accepted at retail counters and other locations.

The Postal Service is reminding employees to do their part to prevent mercury from entering the mailstream.

Elemental mercury is a dense, silver metallic liquid that is a designated hazardous material and is prohibited from the mail.

To protect the safety of employees and customers and to avoid costly and disruptive spills, USPS requires employees to follow specific procedures for identifying and handling hazardous materials, including mercury.

This year, USPS added mercury to the list of items that retail associates must ask customers about when accepting packages.

With this change, employees must ask, “Do any of your articles contain anything liquid, fragile, perishable or potentially hazardous, such as lithium batteries, perfume or mercury?”

Employees should also be aware of other signs that may indicate the presence of mercury, including:
  • A package that displays signs that it contains liquids, such as sloshing, combined with a weight that seems heavier than it should be
  • Comments by a customer that their package has items that typically contain mercury, such as thermometers, barometers, blood pressure devices, and gold reclamation and elemental collecting materials
  • Addresses that indicate a mining operation, a dental supply firm or dentistry practice, a metal reclamation company or a similar organization
If a retail associate accepts a package, then detects the possible presence of mercury, he or she should isolate the parcel and email the Postal Inspection Service’s hazardous material team at so the incident can be evaluated.

For additional information, employees should refer to Publication 52, Hazardous, Restricted, and Perishable Mail (Section 348.21 and Appendix A).

Source: LINK

Retail Digest’s Nov. 5 edition also has information.

Healthy Savings

Postal employees who want to save money for future medical expenses have several options during this year’s open season, now through December 9.

If you enroll in a high-deductible health plan (HDHP), you may be eligible to contribute to a health savings account (HSA).

An HSA allows you to pay for current medical expenses and save for future expenses on a tax deductible or pretax basis. An HSA is yours to keep — even if you change health plans or leave the Postal Service.

Additionally, some plans offer health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs), which are funds you can use to help cover out-of-pocket medical expenses. HRAs are generally available to employees who enroll in a consumer-driven health plan (CDHP).

If an HDHP or CDHP doesn’t meet your needs, you can sign up for a flexible spending account (FSA), which allows you to set aside money on a pretax basis to pay for health and dependent care expenses.

The Open Season LiteBlue page has more information to help you evaluate your options and choose a plan that best fits your needs.

Source: LINK

'What Safety Means to Me!'

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Holiday Mail Call

A Sailor sorts Priority Mail Boxes aboard USS Boxer while underway in the Gulf of Aden. Photo: U.S. Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Jessica Ann Hattell

During this holiday season, a great way to connect with our deployed Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen is to send them festive letters and packages for their enjoyment this time of year.

To send packages to friends and loved ones serving in the military and diplomatic posts abroad, the U.S. Postal Service offers a discounted price of $18.45 on its largest Priority Mail Flat Rate® Box. The price includes a $1.50 per box discount for mail sent to APO/FPO/DPO (Air/Army Post Office/Fleet Post Office/Diplomatic Post Office) destinations worldwide.

Priority Mail Flat Rate Boxes are available at no cost at local Post Offices and can also be ordered via Postage, labels and customs forms can also be printed online anytime using Click-N-Ship feature. All mailing products can be found at

To ensure timely delivery of holiday wishes by December 25, the Postal Service recommends that cards and packages be sent to military APO/FPO/DPO addresses overseas no later than these mailing dates: 
Military Mail Addressed
To and From
Priority Mail Express Military Service (PMEMS)1
First-Class Mail
Priority Mail
Parcel Airlift Mail (PAL)2
Space Available
Mail (SAM)3
Dec. 18
Dec. 11
Dec. 11
Dec. 4
Nov. 27
Dec. 9
Dec. 9
Dec. 4
Nov. 27
Dec. 18
Dec. 11
Dec. 11
Dec. 4
Nov. 27
Dec. 18
Dec. 11
Dec. 11
Dec. 4
Nov. 27
Dec. 18
Dec. 11
Dec. 11
Dec. 4
Nov. 27

1 PMEMS is available to selected military/diplomatic Post Offices. Check with your local Post Office to determine if this service is available to an APO/FPO/DPO address.

2 PAL is a service that provides air transportation for parcels on a space-available basis. PAL is available for Standard Post items not exceeding 30 pounds in weight or 60 inches in length and girth combined. The applicable PAL fee must be paid in addition to the regular surface price for each addressed piece sent by PAL service.

3 SAM parcels are paid at Standard Post prices with maximum weight and size limits of 15 pounds and 60 inches in length and girth combined. SAM parcels are first transported domestically by surface and then to overseas destinations by air on a space-available basis.

Use the Military Care Kit to Send Presents and Care Packages

The Postal Service has created a free “Military Care Kit” based on the items most frequently requested by military families. The kit contains:

·    Two Priority Mail APO/FPO/DPO Flat Rate Boxes
·     Four Priority Mail Medium Flat Rate Boxes
·     Priority Mail tape
·     Priority Mail address labels
·     Appropriate customs forms

To order the kit, call 800-610-8734. Guidelines for packing, addressing and shipping items to U.S. troops can be found at To order Flat-Rate Boxes featuring the “America Supports You” logo, go to

Addressing the Package
·    Write the service member’s full name
·    Include the unit and APO/FPO/DPO address with the 9-digit ZIP Code (if one is assigned). For example:

Army/Air Post Office (APO)
PSC 3 BOX 4120
APO AE 09021

Fleet Post Office (FPO)
UNIT 100100 BOX 4120
FPO AP 96691

Diplomatic Post Office (DPO)
UNIT 8400 BOX 0000
DPO AE 09498-0048

·   Do not write the country name where the service member is stationed in the address
·   Include a return address
·   Inside the box, include the service member’s name and address as well as the sender’s name and address on an index card in case the shipping label gets damaged in transit