The Mailers Council, an Arlington, VA-based coalition of mailers and mailing associations, in late August released a research paper detailing the benefits of a standard implementation period for the U.S. Postal Service to follow when raising rates. The paper calls for a period of at least 90 days, longer in more complicated rate cases. No law or postal regulation currently mandates the minimum number of days between the completion of a rate case and the date that the USPS implements the price hikes, but the implementation period typically has ranged from 30 to 60 days.
Mailers and postal employees alike need sufficient time to plan for new rates, the paper says, particularly in cases, like the current one, that involve substantial rules changes and systems updates. In addition to the 90-day implementation period for simple rate changes, the Mailers Council recommends that the Postal Service allow at least 120 days for structural rate changes and that the agency raise the rates sometime between March and August rather than on Jan. 1. The council also advises that the USPS continue its recent practice of implementing international rate increases at the same time that it raises domestic postal rates.