Postal Service to Suspend Retirement Contributions

June 22, 2011 ( - The U.S. Postal Service will suspend its contributions to the Federal Employees Retirement System to save $800 million this year.

Bloomberg reports that the $115 million bi-weekly payment to the defined benefit system, which covers about 85% of career postal workers, will stop on June 24, the Postal Service said in a statement. The agency estimates it has overpaid the retirement account by $6.9 billion and has asked Congress to pass legislation to return that money.   

According to Bloomberg, the Postal Service said it still needs Congress to enact laws that would help cut costs and restore financial stability. Even with the cuts, the Service wants the authority to end Saturday delivery and reduce pre-payment of health benefits for retirees. It has said it will not be able to make a $5.5 billion payment due September 30 for health benefits for future retirees.   

The news report said the Postal Service reported a loss of $8.5 billion in its 2010 fiscal year. It also reported a widening second-quarter loss, to $2.6 billion, on declining volumes of first-class mail.   

The Service will continue to transmit employee contributions to the pension fund and will make payments to the Thrift Savings Plan, a defined contribution federal retirement plan, Chief Human Resources Officer Anthony Vegliante said in the statement.