103.4 - Reduction in Force

University Group Policy #103.4

Policy Statement

The reduction in force procedure for staff employees provides equitable treatment for the layoff of staff employees when reduction in force becomes necessary. A reduction in force or layoff might become necessary because of lack of work, lack of funds, abolishment of a position, or other material change in duties or organization.

Guidelines

Procedure for Determining Priorities for Reductions

A reduction in force decision requires a thorough evaluation of the need for particular positions and the relative value of specific employees so that the university can provide the highest level of service possible with a reduced work force. Determining the retention or separation of a particular employee should include an evaluation of the relative skills, knowledge, and productivity of the employee in comparison to necessary services (refer to documentation available from Performance Management Program) . Length of service and other factors must be considered but may receive less weight in the determination. The department determines priority for reduction in force within the following guidelines:

  • Temporary employees in the same or related classifications must be terminated before any employee with a probationary or permanent appointment, provided that a probationary or permanent employee can perform the temporary employee's tasks.
  • Employees with probationary appointments as well as trainees and apprentices with less than six months' service must be terminated before any employee in the same or a related classification with a permanent appointment, provided that the employee can perform the tasks of the probationary employee, trainee, or apprentice.
  • Reduction in force of employees should be based on the following factors: 
    • University Need: Determine which positions are most vital to the department in the delivery of services.
    • Employee Skill and Productivity: Identify relative skills, knowledge, and productivity of employees. Personnel files and performance appraisals should be reviewed.
    • Length of service of employees

Review

In accordance with federal guidelines affecting equal employment opportunity/affirmative action, any application of the reduction in force policy must be reviewed by Human Resources to determine its impact on the university's affirmative action goals.

Each Vice Chancellor must submit a written report to the Director of Human Resources indicating the position numbers, class titles, names of affected employees , the reason for the reduction in force, and an assessment of the reduction in force's impact on the department's EEO profile.

Briefing Affected Employees

Before a reduction in force occurs, the appropriate manager provides the following information, in writing, to the employee(s) being laid off:

  • The reason for the reduction in force.
  • The effective date of the reduction in force (at least 30 days following notification date).
  • Direction to contact Benefits to obtain necessary information on benefits options.
  • Direction to contact Human Resources for information on the following: 
    • The university's policy on priority re-employment.
    • Completion of necessary application forms.
    • The availability of aid in seeking other employment.
    • Eligibility to apply for Unemployment Insurance benefits.
  • The amount of severance pay due, if any.
  • The right of permanent employees to appeal the reduction in force through the SHRA Employee Mediation and Grievance Policy.

Leave and Salary Increases

Employees are paid in a lump sum for accumulated vacation leave. Accumulated sick leave at the time of separation is reinstated if reemployment occurs within five years.

Discontinued Service

Reduced-in-force employees might be eligible for discontinued service retirement if:

  • The employee has 25 or more years of creditable retirement service and is 55 years of age or older. In this case, there will be no reduction in benefits; or the employee has 20 or more years of creditable retirement service and is 50 years of age or older. In this case, benefits will be reduced by 1/4 of 1 percent for each month under age 55.
  • The employee has 20 or more years of creditable retirement service and is 50 years of age or older. In this case, benefits will be reduced by 1/4 of 1 percent for each month under age 55.

Severance Pay

Severance pay is paid to an eligible employee who does not obtain permanent employment in state government by the effective date of the reduction in force. Payment is based on total state service supplemented by an age factor.

Severance pay does not apply to employees who are probationary; who are separated at the end of time-limited appointments; whose reduction in force is temporary; or who are separated on early, service, or disability retirement.

Amount and Method of Payment

Severance salary is based on total state service, salary at separation, and the employee's age at separation.

Years of Service Payment
Less than 1 year 2 weeks base salary
1 but less than 5 years 1 month base salary
5 but less than 10 years 2 months base salary
10 but less than 20 years 3 months base salary
20 or more years 4 months base salary

Age Adjustment Factor

Employees receive an age adjustment of 2.5 percent of annual base salary for each full year over 39 years of age. The total age adjustment factor cannot exceed 22 years (to age 61) and is limited to the total service payment.

Method of Payment

The total amount of severance salary payable, including any age adjustment amount, is paid on a pay period basis for the time indicated under "Years of Service."

Priority Reemployment Consideration

Priority reemployment consideration is intended to provide return to a position at the same Career Banding Classification and Competency Level as that held at separation.

Priority reemployment consideration is provided to employees who have met service requirements and are separated: (I) for reasons other than just cause and (2) due to shortage of funds or work, abolishment of a position, or (3) due to changes in duties or organization.

Employee Requirement

Employees must claim priority reemployment consideration by the date of separation by notifying Human Resources or priority is forfeited. Employees must also complete applications for state government and university employment. Employees separated through Reduction in Force receive priority reemployment consideration for twelve months from date of separation. Employees separated from permanent part-time positions have priority to part-time positions with the same number of hours only.

Employee Qualifications

The employee must possess at least the minimum education and experience requirements or their equivalent as set forth in classification specifications for the position for which they request priority.

Vacant Positions

An employee separated from the university is offered any available vacant position at a Career Banding Classification and Competency Level equal or below that held before separation provided that the employee meets the qualifications for the position and could perform the job in a reasonable period of time, including normal orientation and training. Exception: Another state employee who is more qualified may be hired in lieu of a RIF.

Other State Agency Employees

Employees separated from other state agencies or institutions shall be interviewed and if qualified, shall be offered a position if at the same level or below. They will be offered the position before employing anyone who is not a permanent state employee.

Effect on Priority

Acceptance of a position at a lower Career Banding Classification and Competency Level does not affect priority. The decline of an offer to a lower Career Banding Classification and Competency Level does not affect priority. Employees who decline interviews or offers of employment for positions at the same or a higher Career Banding Classification and Competency Level within 35 miles of the original work station lose priority.

Applicability

The policy applies to SHRA employees (full-time and part-time) holding permanent appointments, employees, and apprentices with trainee appointments who have completed six months of service, and employees who attained permanent status prior to entering a trainee appointment. This policy does not apply to probationary employees, temporary employees or employees with time-limited permanent appointments.


Responsible Division: Vice Chancellor and Chief of Staff

Authority: Board of Trustees

History:

  • Adopted: April 13, 2009

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