Don't give your letter carriers money or gifts valued at more than $20 if you want them to keep their job. The federal government has certain rules when it comes to gifts letter carriers can accept. However, many people don't know this and often give their loyal postal workers money or gifts worth more than they are allowed to have. A report by ThoughtCo provided a lot of the facts in this article.

Some people on a carrier's route appreciate the service they get and want to show their gratitude during the holidays, but there are ethical guidelines that the postal workers know about even though their customers might not know the rules about gift giving.

Gift giving guidelines

Postal employees shouldn't expect a gift just because they work for the federal government, according to federal regulations. This is the general rule. However, there are some exceptions.

You are not obligated to give anything to your mail carrier just because he or she is your letter carrier. If you want to show your gratitude, you are allowed to give cash or a gift that is valued at no more than $20 on each occasion. For instance, if you give a birthday gift amounting to $20, you can also give another gift at Christmas time of up to another $20. However, you should not give more than $50 worth of gifts in one year, even though you might think your carrier deserves it.

There are some gifts that are strictly forbidden. According to regulations, checks and gift cards in any amount that can later be exchanged for cash cannot be accepted by your letter carrier.

Ethical rules

If you decide to ignore the rules and give more then $20, you put your letter carrier in an ethical situation. The carrier must give back any gift that costs more than $20.

It is ironic that your gift could actually cost the letter carrier not only time but also his own money. For instance, if you give your Mail Carrier a gift costing more than $20, the carrier will have to research and find out how much the gift actually cost when you bought it. He or she will have to give you a refund for the entire amount out of his/her own money.

It doesn't seem fair, but that rule is listed on the Postal Service website.

Acceptable and unacceptable gifts

Some acceptable gifts for your mail carrier include food and drink items such as candy, cookies, fruitcake, coffee, and soda. Alcohol is strictly forbidden to give. Gift cards in any amount up to $20 that cannot be exchanged for cash are acceptable. Event tickets and items of clothes are not acceptable.

The best gift and one that will last longer and will surely be appreciated is a letter of appreciation or commendation that will go into his or her personnel folder. This will mean a lot to the employee and the employee's supervisors as well.