Are Postal Workers Federal Employees: Things You Didn’t Know 

Postal workers have been an invaluable part of the American workforce for hundreds of years. They help keep us connected to friends and family and run a vital part of our economy. 

Without them, we would have no way to communicate or conduct business. These days, however, letter carriers are often the subject of criticism and a punchline or two in your favorite sitcom. But there is more to the postal worker than meets the eye. 

But do you know all about these hard-working men and women? Are they federal employees?

Are Postal Workers Federal Employees?

The USPS is an independent agency, and therefore its workers aren’t federal employees.

While the local post office employs over 500,000 postal workers in the United States, they are not necessarily “federal” employees. They do, however, receive the same benefits as federal workers and must follow federal rules.

What Is The History Of The USPS?

The U.S. Postal Service is among the oldest organizations in the country, with a rich history dating back to the 1700s. 

The Postal Service began after a series of letters were sent between two of our founding fathers arguing about how best to create a postal service used by the citizens of this new nation and would benefit their growth.

Ben Franklin and John Adams had been corresponding since 1751, but it wasn’t until 1774 that they began to discuss an official postal service for the new United States. By 1775, Ben Franklin was being made Postmaster General.

The first post office was located in Philadelphia, and they handled both mail delivery and postal money orders. In 1810, the Post Office started using “postal notes” to pay for postage.

In the 1840s, Congress passed a law allowing the Post Office to contract with railroads to carry mail on trains, revolutionizing mail delivery.

The United States Postal Service is one of the largest employers in the country. The organization employs over 500,000 people and is a necessity for everyday life. Nearly every American relies on USPS to deliver their mail and packages.

With that many employees working in so many different areas of the country, it can be hard to determine which states have a higher concentration of postal workers than others.

The U.S. Postal Service faces many problems, but history shows that it will probably overcome those issues and continue to be an essential part of our lives.

What Is The Future For USPS And Postal Workers?

The United States Postal Service (USPS) is in a tough spot. In 2020, its losses came in at $9.2billion and $4.9billion in 2021. 

This isn’t quite just a trend for  USPS either;  the USPS has been struggling financially for many years now.

In the past, the USPS has suffered from low rates of mail sent per household. They’ve also suffered from reduced spending on delivery and transportation. 

The USPS has also been forced to compete with private carriers that do not charge sales tax or offer services like insurance and tracking.

The USPS has been in a state of decline due to :

  • Falling mail volume due to rising electronic communication
  • A steep economic recession
  • A congressional commission report that recommended moving away from six-day delivery service
  • Caps on postal rates
  • Borrowing limits
  • The covid-19 pandemic

It is estimated that it will take the Post Office about a decade to fully recover from the last financial crisis. It was, of course, predicted that the Post Office would never recover from such a severe blow, but today it is one of the most successful postal services in the world.

The Post Office’s current strategy focuses on developing its parcel delivery business. There is a predicted $160billion loss in the next ten years, and the USPS plans to cut it down.

Today, post offices are located in almost every neighborhood and provide many other services to their customers, including savings and checking accounts, insurance services, money transfer services, and more.

How Many Employees Does The U.S. Postal Service Have?

The USPS has 500,900 employees as of 2020, but over 30% are clerks and other office workers. Mail carriers are the largest single group of employees, followed by city letter carriers.

Letter carriers deliver mail from city post offices to individual addresses. They walk along their assigned routes every day and put letters into mailboxes. 

The amount of time it takes to deliver mail depends on the number of addresses and letters in each mailbox. 

In some cases, letter carriers have to walk up several stairs to deliver mail.

How Is The USPS Financed?

Since 1971, the USPS has been self-sufficient. It receives no government dollars for operational expenses and is fully supported by selling stamps, products, and services. Postage, products, and services are sold to fund their services and pay employees.

Even though the post office is not funded, it is subject to legislative scrutiny by Congress. To raise postal rates above the inflation rate, the USPS must seek approval from Congress.

What Are The Duties Of A Postal Worker?

The Postal Service employs a postal worker to work at a post office. A postal worker’s job is to sort mail, deliver packages and make sure that all the mail reaches the person it was addressed to. 

The mail carrier scans each mail into a machine that opens the envelope and flattens the letter. It then spits out the mail in a bag, picked up, and taken to the post office.

During the early 20th century, postal workers were known as letter carriers. According to some guidelines, a letter carrier may also be required to sort mail in bulk, such as zip codes or street addresses.

The duties of a Postal worker vary depending on the kind of job a person is doing. Some of the everyday duties include:

  • mail carriage or letter carriage and delivering
  • postal clerical service and mail processing machine operation
  • postal service maintenance and vehicle operators
  • mail handling and sorting machine operators
  • postal service maintenance technicians and inspectors
  • others drive trucks to deliver mail along routes

 Although most of their workday is spent performing routine tasks, postal workers must also be prepared for emergencies that could occur.

What Is An Average Salary For A Postal Worker?

In the United States, postal workers make an average of $51,150 in a year or $24.59 per hour. The average salary varies depending on the state they work in.

The average annual pay for:

  • Clerks; $50,150
  • Mail carriers: $51,080
  • Sorters, processors, machine processing; $53,150

It turns out that there are many benefits to working for this iconic organization. Here are just a few:

1. Stable Pay

Postal workers enjoy one of the most stable pay schedules available in America today. Their income comes from permanent salaries. The median salary for postal workers is $51,150 as of May 2020. 

2. Great Benefits package

The United States Postal Service has an excellent benefits package that includes but is not limited to; health, dental, vision, and life insurance. 

3. Pension schemes

They also have a pension plan that is one of the best around.

4. Unions

Postal workers are also some of the most unionized people in the country; there are unions for routes, city carriers, clerks, and maintenance workers. Post office employees get 15 days paid vacation per year and two personal days off every month.

Requirements Of Being A Postal Worker

High school diploma or equivalent

With a bit of education, you can become a postal worker and make your own decisions on where you work and what tasks you complete. 

Over the age of 16

You must be over 18 years or over 16 with a high school diploma. Males must register with Selective Service when they reach 18 years.


Must be U.S residents or have permanent resident alien status

Physically fit

If you want to become a postal worker, you’ll need to be physically fit and have a clean criminal record. For example, you must lift and carry packages that weigh up to 70 pounds, which is quite a lot. 

You’ll also need to be able to walk up and downstairs to deliver mail to mailboxes on different floors.


There’s no prior work experience needed. However, there is less than 30-day on-the-job training.

Can You Retire From The Post Office?

The United States Post Office offers several benefits for its employees, including retirement. Most people don’t know that USPS employees can actually retire and still receive their pension. 


The Postal Service is an indispensable part of our daily lives, and it is easy to take for granted the hard work that goes into keeping us connected. However, it’s important to note that they are not federal employees.

We hope you found this post informative and can use the information to educate yourself on mail delivery services and the dedicated employees. They work hard every day to ensure your letters, packages, and magazines are delivered safely across the country.

John Taylor
John Taylor
John Taylor is a seasoned writer with more than 10 years of experience as a professional. He has written professionally for many different organizations, such as The Atlantic and the Boston Globe. John can write on any topic you need him to cover, from business writing to creative nonfiction pieces. His portfolio speaks for his skills; he's not only an experienced writer but also an excellent editor and researcher!


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