450 Collection of Postal Debts From Nonbargaining Unit Employees by Salary Offset

451 General

451.1 Scope

These regulations apply to the collection, by salary offset, of any debt owed the Postal Service by a current employee who is not included in a collective bargaining unit. The regulations in 452.3 may also apply to the collection of any debt owed the Postal Service by a current employee who is included in a collective bargaining unit, if the circumstances specified in 462.32 apply.

Generally, the Postal Service may withhold a maximum of 15 percent of an employee’s disposable pay each pay period by salary offset after providing the employee with certain due process rights (see 452). However, if a federal court has granted judgment upholding the debt, up to 25 percent of the employee’s pay may be withheld each pay period (see 453). Exceptions for bargaining unit employees are provided in 462.4.

451.2 Issues Not Covered in the Subchapter

The following issues are not covered in this subchapter:

  1. Collection of debts from bargaining unit employees. Procedures governing the collection of Postal Service debts from bargaining unit employees are found in 460.
  2. Other debt collection procedures. Procedures governing the collection of debts from former employees by administrative offset pursuant to the authority of section 10 of the Debt Collection Act, 31 U.S.C. 3716, are found in 470 and 480.
  3. Debts due other federal agencies. Regulations governing the collection by involuntary salary offset of debts owed by Postal Service employees to federal agencies other than the Postal Service are not contained in this subchapter.

451.3 Representation

Employees have the right to representation and free choice of representative. If the employee’s designated representative is a Postal Service employee in a duty status, the representative is granted a reasonable amount of official time to perform any function for the employee that is authorized by these regulations.

451.4 Salary Offsets From Other Federal Employees

When the Postal Service requests that another federal agency or entity offset an individual’s federal salary payments, by Treasury Offset Program or otherwise, to satisfy a debt owed by that individual to the Postal Service, the Postal Service will notify the individual as required by law and provide an opportunity for review in accordance with 39 CFR 961 before the offset is taken.

451.5 Definitions

The following definitions apply to the material in this subchapter:

  1. Administrative salary offset — the collection of a debt owed to the Postal Service or other government agency through deductions from the disposable pay of a Postal Service employee under the authority of section 5 of the Debt Collection Act of 1982, 5 U.S.C. 5514(a).
  2. Court judgment salary offset — the collection of a debt owed to the Postal Service or other government agency through deductions from the current pay of a Postal Service employee under the authority of section 124 of Public Law 97-276.
  3. Current pay or disposable pay — that part of an employee’s salary that remains after all required deductions (normal retirement contributions, FICA and Medicare insurance taxes, federal income tax, state and local income taxes, and employee-paid federal health insurance premiums) are made.
  4. Debt — any outstanding amount owed to the Postal Service by an employee.
  5. Employee — a current employee of the Postal Service.
  6. Pay — basic pay, special pay, incentive pay, retired pay, retainer pay, or any other authorized pay, including cost-of-living adjustment or territorial cost-of-living allowance, received by an employee.
  7. Postmaster or installation head — the top management official at a Post Office or installation or the official who has supervisory responsibility for a debtor employed at Headquarters or in area offices. When the debtor is a postmaster or installation head, the term refers to the official to whom the postmaster or installation head reports.
  8. Severe financial hardship — an employee’s inability to meet the essential material needs of the employee and his or her spouse and dependents because of offsets against pay. These essential material needs are food, housing, clothing, transportation, medical care, and any exceptional expenses.
  9. Waiver — the Postal Service’s cancellation, remission, or forgiveness of a debt, the recovery of which is covered by these regulations.

451.6 Time Computation

In computing any period of time prescribed or allowed by these regulations, the day the designated period of time begins to run is not included. The last day of the period computed is included, unless it is a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, in which event the period runs until the end of the next day that is not a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday.

451.7 Effect of Waiver Request

If an employee requests a waiver of a debt, the recovery of which is covered by these regulations, that request does not stay the collection process. However, if the waiver request ultimately is granted, the amount collected is refunded to the employee.

451.8 Service of Notice and Delivery of Records

A postmaster or installation head must hand deliver any notice required by, or any records requested pursuant to, these regulations to an employee and must obtain a dated, signed receipt of delivery. If personal delivery is not possible, Certified Mail™ or Express Mail® service, return receipt requested, must be used.