Forms, Policies, & Guides

207 - Layoff

Subject: Layoff

Section: U207

Date: October, 2016


Purpose:

To provide guidelines to units which must reduce regular staff employees through layoffs due to reorganization, operational changes or financial constraints. The layoff process should not be used when corrective action or termination for cause are most appropriate.

definitions:

Term Definition
Hiring Unit Campus unit to which a new or vacant position reports.
 University HR The central human resources body for the university made up of Centers for Expertise (COE).
 HR-Employee and Labor Relations The COE responsible for oversight of the university's staff employee and labor relations policy and processes.
 Regular Staff Position A position that is classified as staff and does not serve in a temporary or seasonal capacity.
 Benefits Eligible Position A regular staff position that is scheduled to work an average of 20 hours or more per week and is therefore eligible for benefits.
 Hiring Unit Campus unit to which a new or vacant position reports.
 COBRA The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) gives workers and their families who lose their health benefits the right to choose to continue group health benefits provided by their group health plan for limited periods of time under certain circumstances such as voluntary or involuntary job loss, reduction in the hours worked.

Policy:

When it becomes necessary to reduce staff through layoffs, reductions will be made in view of the needs of the unit. For purposes of this policy, a layoff consists of an involuntary loss of employment due to organizational restructuring, position elimination, operational changes or financial constraints.

procedures:

Unit management must carefully review every layoff before implementation. Unit management must discuss layoffs with Employee Labor Relations (ELR) and obtain ELR's approval prior to notifying affected employees. As part of this process management should make reasonable efforts to determine if layoff can be avoided and existing staff employees can remain employed within the unit.

Units are responsible for assessing the feasibility of avoiding layoffs, selecting each position to be affected by a layoff and providing layoff justification to ELR via the lay-off justification form.

When feasible, units must first consider non-benefits-eligible staff employees for layoff.

Regular staff employees will be given advance written notice of a layoff (with copies to ELR). A unit may provide pay in lieu notice. Notice periods are as follows:

  • For staff employees paid monthly - at least one (1) month advance notice.
  • For staff employees paid biweekly - at least two (2) weeks advance notice.

A staff employee notified of a layoff should be given reasonable time off to seek another position and conduct scheduled interviews during his/her layoff notice periods.

Subject to approval by ELR, the unit may offer a one-time service based severance to regular staff employees who have completed five (5) continuous years of service with the University. If a unit elects to make a severance payout, eligible employees will receive up to one (1) week of base pay for every completed year of service, not to exceed 26 weeks, via a single, lump-sum payment. To receive severance pay under this policy, the staff employee must sign a separation agreement prepared and approved by ELR and the Office of Legal Counsel. The separation agreement will include a waiver and release of legal claims against the University.

Subject to approval by ELR, the unit may offer outplacement services as part of the separation agreement. If the unit chooses to offer outplacement services, this matter should be discussed with ELR. Cost for outplacement services will be borne by the unit.

Under COBRA, a laid-off staff employee is entitled to continue his/her health, dental and vision insurance for 18 months. For laid-off employees, the first three months of this 18-month COBRA period will be at the employee's current rate. The remaining 15 months will be at the full COBRA rate.

If a laid-off employee seeks unemployment benefits to the layoff, the University will not contest the application; provided however, that the University will respond truthfully to any request from the applicable state agency regarding the claim. Whether an employee receives unemployment compensation benefits will be decided by the applicable state agency and not by the University. Severance payments will be reported to unemployment and may affect payment of unemployment benefits.

A regular staff employee returning to work from layoff status will have his/her University service bridged if he/she returns to University employment within one year of being laid-off, provided the employee completed more than one year of University service before the layoff.

Employees represented by a bargaining unit may be governed by the appropriate bargaining unit agreement.