USPS offers reminder to employees about holiday gifts

With the holiday season underway, the USPS Ethics Office wants to remind employees about the rules regarding gifts.

Employees may not accept gifts from contractors, vendors, suppliers or customers. Employees also may not accept gifts given to them because of their Postal Service positions.

Here are some guidelines about gifts from outside sources:

• An employee may accept a noncash gift from an outside source if it has a value of $20 or less. However, if the employee has accepted more than $50 worth of gifts from that source in the calendar year, the gift must be declined.

• Would accepting the gift create an appearance that ethics rules have been violated? If the answer is yes, the gift must be declined.

• Employees may never accept cash or cash equivalents from an outside source. Cash equivalents include checks, money orders and gift cards backed by credit card companies. Gift cards for a retail store or online vendor are not considered cash equivalents.

When celebrating an annual holiday, an employee may only give a superior or higher-paid employee a noncash gift valued at $10 or less.

Here are some guidelines about gifts between employees:

• Group gifts. They are not permitted for regularly occurring events such as holidays.

• “White elephant” gift exchanges. These types of exchanges typically involve giving and receiving amusing or impractical gifts, but they should be valued at $10 or less and cash should not be given as a gift.

• Offices may collect money in order to host a holiday party. Collection is limited to $10 per person and should be done by a lower-level employee with no employees reporting directly to him or her. All contributions must be voluntary.

The 2020 Holiday Ethics Guide has more information. If you have questions, email the Ethics Office or call its hotline at 202-268-6346.


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