Techie graphFedEx, the world’s second-largest package delivery company, just announced its plans to offer some of its employees buyout options totaling up to two years’ pay. The buyouts will start next year. The program, which is voluntary, is a part of FedEx’s effort to cut annual costs by $1.7 billion over three years.

According to the Associated Press, the cutbacks are direct responses “to a shift by customers away from premium package-delivery services and toward slower, less expensive modes as the global economy struggles to grow.”

Those who volunteer for the program will receive four weeks of pay for every year he or she worked at FedEx. The limit is two full years of base pay. According to the article, the company previously noted that the staff buyouts should reduce “fixed head count by several thousand people.”

Eligible employees will be notified in February and they’ll have until April to apply. The following month (May) those accepted will be notified. FedEx plans to have the first wave of employees exit on May 31, the last day of the company’s fiscal year. The second wave will leave six months later and the final group’s last day will be on May 31, 2014.

The AP reported that in August, Fred Smith, FedEx’s founder and CEO, said most of the cuts will be in the company’s Express and Services units. Express has more than 146,000 employees worldwide, with around two-thirds of those workers in the U.S.

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