208 - Termination of Employment
Subject: Termination of Employment
Date: July, 2017
This policy provides rules governing the termination of University employees. This policy sets requirements for initiating and processing different types of terminations within the human resources system, and establishes documentation requirements and roles and responsibilities for each termination situation.
The establishment of requirements for terminations ensures that terminations are handled consistently across the University.
Who is governed by this policy:
This policy applies to all staff, temporary staff and seasonal staff employees.
Other than employees covered by Collective Bargaining Agreements, University staff employees have an "at will" relationship with the University. This means that employment is a matter of continuing agreement between the employee and the University. Either the employee or the University may decide to end the employment relationship for any reason not prohibited by law, at any time.
Terminations must be handled pursuant to the rules that follow and procedures contained in Appendix A. Layoffs must also comply with Policy 207 – Layoff. Employees terminated for misconduct or who resign in lieu of termination will not be eligible for rehire with the University.
Resignations and Transfers
Employees who voluntarily resign from the University should give the University at least two (2) weeks’ advance written notice, four (4) weeks’ advance notice being preferable.
The employee’s written resignation should include, at a minimum, the employee’s name and anticipated last day of employment. The Supervisor or HR Partner is required to send a written acknowledgment to any employee who resigns. The HR Partner must upload the employee’s resignation letter to the human resources system when initiating the termination process.
For temporary or seasonal employees, advance written notice of resignation and notice is requested, but not required.
An employee who transfers from one position to another within the University is required to comply with the above rules or to coordinate an alternative arrangement agreed upon by both their current and prospective Supervisors.
Return of University Property
On or before the last day of employment, a terminating employee is required to turn in to their HR Partner or Supervisor all University property, including identification card, keys, uniforms, tools, parking permits, library books, electronic equipment, and electronically stored data. A terminating employee is required to make arrangements for clearing all of their University debts.
Employees will be asked to complete an exit survey on or before their last day of employment. Employees will receive an email from the human resources system with a link to complete the exit survey. A representative of the Shared Services Office will invite voluntarily terminating employees to participate in an in-person exit interview prior to their last day. Alternatively, an employee may choose to participate in an in-person exit interview with their Supervisor or HR Partner, in lieu of the Shared Services’ Office staff.
Payout of Vacation and Personal Holiday Time
Upon termination of employment, a benefits-eligible employee shall be paid for all accrued but unused vacation and personal holidays as allowable under University policy. Accrued sick leave is not paid upon termination. Generally, a terminating employee will be paid vacation and personal holiday accruals in the next pay cycle after the termination is submitted in the human resources system.
|At Will Employment||Employment that is a matter of continuing agreement between the employee and the University. Either the employee or the University may decide to end the employee's employment for any reason not prohibited by law, at any time.|
|Benefits Eligible Position||A position that is scheduled to work an average of 20 hours or more per week.|
|Center of Expertise - Employee and Labor Relations||Employee and Labor Relations is responsible for (among other things) policy oversight and approving all involuntary terminations, including layoffs.|
|HR Partner||Department/division/unit personnel who serve as the representative for the department in all human resources issues and initiates key HR processes in human resources systems on behalf of their department/division/unit.|
|Local Unit||Campus department/division/unit|
|Shared Services Office||The centralized university body that processes transactions, reviews and verifies documentation, enforces policies and regulations, and ensures consistency and accuracy of processes.|
|Supervisor||Unit personnel who oversees and regulates employees in their performance of assigned or delegated tasks, as well as enforces compliance with policy.|
|Temporary Position||A position that is expected to continue for less than twelve months or 1000 hours, whichever comes first.|
Roles and Responsibilities:
|Governed Party||Roles and Responsibilities|
|Center of Expertise – Employee and Labor Relations||ELR is responsible for advising HR Partners and Supervisors about, and approving in advance, all involuntary terminations, including layoffs.|
|Employee||Employees are responsible for providing written resignation with at least two weeks’ advance notice. Employees are responsible for returning University property (summarized above) on or before the date of termination. Employees are also responsible for updating or verifying any benefits or personal contact information prior to termination date, and completing any exit interviews or surveys. Additional information regarding exit procedures is outlined in the exit checklist (employees will receive a link from the human resources information system).|
|HR Partner||The HR Partner is responsible for following policies and procedures relating to the termination process. This includes acknowledging resignations in writing, processing terminations in the human resources system, uploading resignation letters, correctly choosing the termination reason, submitting system access closure requests, processing payments, and ensuring that University property is collected. Additional information regarding exit procedures is outlined in the exit checklist (HR Partners will receive a link from the human resources information system).|
|Shared Services Office||The Shared Services Office is responsible for verifying documentation such as resignation letters and approving exits in the HR system. The Shared Services Office is also responsible for managing the quick closure process, system access removal for core systems, and other payroll payments. The Shared Services Office schedules and conducts exit interviews, and analyzes data from exit surveys and interviews.|
|Employee & Labor Relationsfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Shared Services Office|
Appendix: Procedural Information:
Reasons for staff, temporary staff and seasonal employee terminations include:
|Termination Category Name||Reason|
|Involuntary||Attendance (Absenteeism and Tardiness)|
|Involuntary||Layoff (with severance)|
|Involuntary||Layoff (without severance)|
|Involuntary||Misconduct, violation of rules, or serious misconduct1*|
|Involuntary||End of Temporary Assignment|
|Voluntary||Dissatisfied with Job|
|Voluntary||Dissatisfied with Pay|
|Voluntary||Dissatisfied with Management|
|Voluntary||Left/Graduated from School|
|Voluntary||To Attend School|
|Voluntary||Disability Claim Awarded|
|Voluntary||Accepted Better Job Opportunity|
|Voluntary||Resigned in Lieu of Termination*|
1 This reason includes intoxication on the job, insubordination, sleeping on the job, among other reasons.
* Use of these reasons on the termination will make the employee ineligible for future employment at the University of Chicago.
Processing the Termination
All involuntary terminations, including layoffs, must be reviewed in advance by the Center of Expertise - Employee and Labor Relations, and recommendations must be provided.
When an employee resigns, the HR Partner must initiate the termination process promptly after the employee submits the resignation. For involuntary terminations, the HR Partner must initiate the termination process on or before the employee’s last day of employment.
The Shared Services Office will review all terminations for staff, temporary staff and seasonal employees in the human resources information system. This includes verifying documentation and alignment of the reason and dates with the documentation. The Shared Services Office will also ensure biweekly employee pay through dates allow for correct payroll processing. The Shared Services Office (in consultation with Center of Expertise – Employee and Labor Relations, as appropriate) is also responsible for reviewing the employee’s bonus history and attached documentation.
Return of University Property
It is the responsibility of the Local Unit (HR Partner or Supervisor) to take reasonable steps to inventory and remove (or request removal of) the terminated employee's access privileges to University, departmental, School, and other information systems in a timely manner. The “quick closure” process (immediate removal of employee systems access) should only be used to in cases of involuntary termination. Information on how to submit a quick closure request or remove system access is included below in the section entitled Related Information.
The HR Partner should advise a terminating employee to contact Center of Expertise – Benefits regarding retirement benefits and insurance coverage, including retiree health insurance, the purchase of a conversion policy for life insurance, and other coverage from an outside provider.
Death of an Employee
The Local Unit (HR Partner or Supervisor) must promptly inform the Center of Expertise - Benefits Office upon first learning of the death of an employee. Survivors of a deceased employee must be referred to the Center of Expertise - Benefits Office to complete the necessary documents for insurance claims and for release of a deceased employee’s final paycheck.