Subject: Reduction in Full-Time Staff Work Force
Approval Date: 06/06/2003
While the University strives to maintain a stable and rewarding work environment, conditions require that it have flexibility for responding to financial exigency, customer demands, and organizational efficiencies. In doing so, it may become necessary on occasion to reorganize, enlarge, or reduce the personnel complement in one or more units. This policy sets forth the procedures to be followed during reduction in force (RIF) strategies and provides for reasonable transition assistance to those employees whose positions are eliminated.
Reductions in force shall be non-punitive and non-discriminatory.
A. Reduction in Force (RIF): The temporary or permanent vacating, or the involuntary reduction from full-time to part-time, of an occupied position or positions resulting from an administrative decision deemed appropriate under such situations as a financial exigency, a lack of sufficient work, reorganization, changes in technology or research needs, or other factors.
B. Regular, full-time staff employee: A University staff employee who has successfully completed his/her initial probationary period and who is employed for at least 32 hours per week, excluding students employed in positions which require student status as a condition of employment.
This policy applies to all full-time staff employees who are separated from the University involuntarily for reasons of reorganization or necessary staff reductions. It does not apply to faculty positions. It does not apply to employees who occupy positions funded by grants and/or contracts and who have accepted offers made explicitly contingent on the continuation of such external funding. It does not apply in the case of resignation, quit without notice, medical necessity, retirement, and involuntary separation resulting from unsatisfactory performance or misconduct.
In preparing to implement a RIF strategy, a supervisor must notify his or her supervisor, in writing, of their intent to eliminate one or more full-time positions. This notice of intent must include, at a minimum the following:
1). A clear statement of rationale for eliminating or reducing programs, and/or services and the ultimate benefits to be achieved;
2). Unit functions and responsibilities must be carefully analyzed to determine which areas, activities, programs, or classifications should be reduced;
3). The jobs and functions that will need to be performed after the reductions are made; and
4). The qualifications and abilities of current unit employees to perform the remaining functions and whether position reclassifications will be requested.
5). Projected duration of the reduction in force.
A complete listing of all full-time personnel within the budgetary unit(s) involved with the RIF must be attached to the written notice of intent. This listing must include the employees’ names, gender, age, length of cumulative and continuous full-time service with the university, and protected status, if applicable. After receiving the signed approval of the appropriate vice president or provost, copies of the notice and employee listing must be forwarded to the Office of Human Resources and to the Affirmative Action Officer for final approval.
Once the notice of intent to RIF has been approved at all levels, the supervisor is responsible for insuring the affected employee(s) is/are given a copy of the notice.
ESTABLISHING BASIS OF THE RIF:
Seniority will be the first basis for reduction in force. As applicable to this policy, seniority is defined as cumulative University service. Unless a written justification, as defined below, is submitted and approved, employees with less seniority will be laid off first.
Seniority shall be the determining factor in staff reduction, except that the appropriate vice president may recommend, in writing to the Director of Human Resources and the Affirmative Action Officer, that a less senior employee be retained over a more senior employee because of demonstrable overriding professional value of the less senior employee to the unit. The basis for such argument may be a particular certification, qualification, academic training, experience, or higher evaluation score.
If two or more staff members have identical lengths of cumulative University service, the supervisor will consider all relevant criteria but will place emphasis upon the following:
1). Employee’s time in current position;
2). Employee performance as demonstrated through the annual performance evaluation system;
3). Unique qualification(s) for a particular job; or
4). Type of certification/licensing maintained by the employee.
Each full-time employee subject to the reduction in force shall be notified in writing at least 30 calendar days before the effective date of the reduction. The written notice is to be delivered in person by the immediate supervisor. A signature will be obtained evidencing the person’s receipt of the notice. A copy of the letter with the receipt signature of the employee will be placed in the employee’s personnel file.
If necessary, payment may be made in lieu of the 30 day notice.
An employee who is notified of a reduction in force will receive full benefits until the actual date of separation. On the date of separation, all benefits will end, except that medical, dental, and prescription drug benefits subscribed to by employee may continue until the end of the current month. If the employee is receiving an education benefit, that benefit terminates at the end of the semester in which the separation occurs.
Human Resources will consult with the separated employee on opportunities to continue benefits through COBRA and other programs offered by benefits vendors. HR will also provide assistance in reviewing other employment opportunities with the University and how to access unemployment benefits.
If between 1 and 25 positions are permanently or temporarily eliminated, each affected employee will be provided employment displacement services by the Office of Career Services and local employment and unemployment offices. These services will include, at a minimum: 1) resume-writing; 2) interviewing skills; 3) assistance with unemployment insurance administration; and 4) information about local employment office procedures.
If more than 25 positions are affected by a RIF decision, the University will secure the services of an outplacement service provider.
A layoff not exceeding four months will be considered a temporary RIF. It will be reported as a leave without pay. Unused sick leave accumulation and length of service credit for vacation and sick leave accrual will be retained as of the date of the RIF and reinstated upon return to active service. At the employee’s option, all or part of vacation accumulated as of the date of the layoff may be retained and reinstated upon return to active service.
A layoff that is anticipated to exceed a period of four months will be considered a permanent RIF. The employee will be separated with loss of all University benefits. However, if the staff member is reinstated or re-employed with the University within a period of 12 months following the date of the RIF, upon return to active service, he/she will receive credit for unused sick leave and length of service credit for vacation and sick leave accrual as of the date of separation.
RECALL FROM RIF:
Employees laid-off by a reduction in force will have first right of refusal to re-occupy the position if the position becomes available within 12 months of the date of the RIF. After 12 months of remaining in a laid-off status, recall provisions end.
Recall of an employee in a laid-off status will be accomplished by the Office of Human Resources by both telephone and written notification.
An employee on layoff is responsible for informing the Office of Human Resources of any change in home address or telephone number. An employee who does not return to work within fifteen (15) working days after being recalled shall lose reinstatement privileges. The Director of Human Resources may extend the fifteen working day timetable if in his/her judgement an extension is in the best interest of the University.
INTERNAL APPLICATION FOR OTHER UNIVERSITY JOB OPENINGS:
Employees on layoff shall, upon submission of an application, be considered as internal applicants for any other University job opening, for up to one year from the date of their layoff. It is the responsibility of the laid-off employee to keep abreast of the job openings published in the University’s weekly UPDATE, posted outside the Human Resources office, and/or listed on the HR Website, Employment Page. Consideration will be given on the basis of the qualifications of the candidate(s) and their length of full-time University service.
Termination of employment due to a reduction in force is not subject to grievance except an affected employee may grieve the failure of the University to follow the procedures set forth in this policy. Grievance procedures are set forth in PSE-8 and PSNE-9.