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USPS – Know the rules on contracts with relatives

August 17, 2023
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To help mark USPS Ethics Awareness Week, the Postal Service wants employees to know about the rules regarding contracts with relatives.

To avoid favoritism and other unethical conduct, USPS generally doesn’t contract with relatives of employees.

If an employee’s relative submits a contract offer to the Postal Service, the offer may only be accepted if it is deemed to be in the organization’s best interests, other sources have been considered and the USPS Ethics Office approves.

Here are some other things to keep in mind:

• If a contract is a “local buy,” the Postal Service should only contract with an employee’s relative if no other source can fulfill the need.

In that case, in addition to speaking with the USPS Ethics Office, a deviation to ordinary local buy procedures must also be requested in compliance with Handbook AS-709, Section 1-15.

• An employee must not participate in the Postal Service’s decision on whether to accept a contract offer from his or her relative.

• If USPS contracts with an employee’s relative, the employee must not participate in overseeing the performance of the contract.

These limits also apply to any business that is substantially owned or controlled by an employee’s relative.

The Ethics Blue page covers these and other topics in more detail.

Employees who have questions should email the Ethics Office or call 202-268-6346.

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