Well, winter has returned to eastern Iowa. Snow, school closings, and treacherous roads.

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While many professions are now able to work remotely as a result of the pandemic, there is still one profession that will always require showing up, and physically being present in order to get the job done: mail carrier.

So if you're like me and you've gotten to know a bit about your postal superstar, you may want to leave 'em a thank you. A tip, if you would. But before you do, hold up: you could be breaking the law. No joke.

Photo by Joel Moysuh on Unsplash
Photo by Joel Moysuh on Unsplash
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Here's a tip: be careful how much you tip!

There is a rule when it comes to tipping a postal employee. And, because they're federal workers, you should probably adhere to the rules.

All postal employees, including carriers, must comply with the Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Exec­utive Branch. Under these federal regulations, carriers are permitted to accept a gift worth $20 or less from a customer per occasion, such as Christmas.

In other words, if you want to give your mail carrier a $20 Starbucks gift card, go for it... just don't do it two days in a row. But what about giving them straight cash? Handing them a $20 bill? Still okay? Not exactly... The USPS rule goes on to say,

 

However, cash and cash equivalents, such as checks or gift cards that can be exchanged for cash, must never be accepted in any amount. Furthermore, no employee may accept more than $50 worth of gifts from any one customer in any one calendar year period.

Strict, no? NO cash. NO checks, no more than $50 worth of anything else in one year. How would this be enforced? Would it be enforced? Always better to be safe than sorry. I feel our mail carriers deserve the best and should be tipped. Hopefully, they get several gift cards. That would, I'm sure, make them feel very appreciated.

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