USPS Hiring - Casual Employment

I posted last week on how the United States Postal Service was in dire straits (U.S. Postal Service Facing Bankruptcy?) with them running out of money by October. I also spoke of my time as a clerk with the USPS early in my life. As I said in that post, the United States Postal Service is cutting back on spending in an effort to stave off bankruptcy. They also have a hiring freeze for long-term, permanent employees. Sure, they still give the exam every two or three years for potential employment. USPS is required to do that. But, that is all they are doing insofar as hiring permanent personnel (although this could change with retirement age employees being offered early outs). Of course, if they have a certain need that can't be filled "in-house" they most certainly will have to hire people. I suspect that is going to become more and more rare.

What they are hiring are "Casuals." Casuals (as the name indicates) are employees who are hired casually when the need dictates it. They are not really trained for a particular job. Most, if not all, are used for physical labor. By that I mean they are the people who are used to do jobs that most permanent USPS employees do not want to do. So, USPS hires these people who can work much cheaper than full-time, permanent employees. The work can entail moving huge wired bins of packages, flats, parcels, magazines, and bundles of mail. They are usually sorted by hand. Most of the work deals with second-class mail (magazines, most newspapers), third-class (bulk or "junk mail") and fourth-class (some large parcels that can wait on delivery up to two weeks at times). Of course, even though they are temporary workers, they have to learn the differences between each class of mail. That usually means a full-time employee has to work with them.

Most USPS casual employees are hired at the local level. Simply ask if the local mail distribution plant and/or branch offices are hiring casual employees. Ask if there is a waiting list or is there an exam necessary now (probably not). Casuals work two 89 day periods with a day layoff between each 89 day period. In some cases, these jobs can last up to a year if the union doesn't fight it. Also, when USPS starts hiring full-time employees, you will have work experience and will "know" some people. In a federal government agency, who you know is practically like having both feet in the door. Casuals can also be hired during peak periods such as Christmas for up to 21 days. The 89 day employment period does not apply here. The rate of pay ranges from $11-$14/hourly depending upon where you live. There are no benefits.

Again, it depends on where you live if these Casual employment positions are available. I mention this only because so many people are out of work. Those that are finding work aren't finding jobs that pay this much money. A job paying at least $11/hr for up to six months would look mighty good to some people right now. Call your local USPS Human Resource Office to see if they have any of these Casual employment positions available if you are interested.


Dear David,

Your article is very helpful to me. I hope you don't mind to answer me some questions.

What is the reason for hiring two 89 days with one lay off day?

And if I had worked for a office for over one year as a casual associate, could I ask them to promote me to a regular part-time or full-time employee?

best regards



The two 90 day work periods are due to the labor contracts USPS management has with the unions (APWU and Letters Carriers Union). Now, there are always exceptions to every rule. If you are a good worker, show up for work every day and on time, they will "find" a way to keep you. I've seen it happen before. I know one casual worked for USPS for over 3 years, with a day off between each 90 day period. She was hired as a part-time permanent (PTF) after she passed a simple test.

I know USPS is in severe financial difficulties right now. But, they always are looking for casuals, regardless of financial situations. But, don't expect to be hired for as a full-time permanent or part-time permanent (called part-time flexibles or PTFs) employee any time soon. They just are not hiring permanent employees. My advice, call the local Human Resources department at USPS and ask if they are hiring Casuals. Even if they tell you no, ask what you have to do to get on the Casual employee list for potential employment in the future. They may want you to come in and fill out an application or they may mail it to you.

Best of luck to you. I retired just in time, it appears, from USPS.

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