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Holiday ethics

Be careful about outside gifts

Masked woman presents gift near Christmas tree
Do you know the Postal Service’s rules for accepting gifts from customers?

Now that the holiday season is here, the Postal Service wants to remind employees to be mindful of the rules concerning gifts from outside sources.

Employees generally cannot accept gifts given because of the employee’s official position or from customers, vendors, suppliers, mailers, contractors, business partners, local businesses or other outside entities.

A gift is anything that has a monetary value. Cash gifts — including cash, checks, money orders or gift cards — may never be accepted.

Employees can accept food or other refreshments, as long as it is not part of a meal.

The rules on gifts also let employees accept an unsolicited noncash gift worth $20 or less from an outside source, but the total value of gifts from that source cannot exceed $50 in a calendar year.

If accepting an allowable gift still creates an appearance of violating the rules, an employee should not accept the gift.

The USPS Ethics Office Blue page has more information. Employees who have questions can email the office at or call its hotline at 202-268-6346.