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Reductions-In-Force

PER-4.16 December 2002 Reductions-In-Force (RIF)

  

I. POLICY AND/OR OBJECTIVE

 

Elimination or reduction in funding, reduced or changed work requirements, or department reorganization may necessitate staff layoff for a permanent reduction in force. All necessary actions shall be taken to ensure that decisions are made based upon careful analysis and that staff members are treated fairly and offered opportunities for reassignment, assistance, and reemployment. The policy outlines the guidelines for making reduction in force decisions, implementing a reduction in force and reemploying displaced staff members. It also provides information regarding reemployment assistance and the appeal process.

Conditions may arise that necessitate the reduction of the university work force. Abolishment of positions may occur for reasons of budget, lack of work or reorganization. Decisions regarding a reduction in force within a department are the responsibility of the department head. The Human Resources Department must review the reduction of force plan including the selection of a staff member for layoff before the layoff is carried out.

 

II. PROCEDURE

 

This procedure establishes the process for the administration of the companion policy. Procedures are included for the following:

  • Creating a Reduction in Force Plan
  • Review, approval and notification process
  • Entering layoff status
  • Reemployment process
  • Definitions
  • Review

 

III. CREATING A REDUCTION IN FORCE PLAN 

 

Prior to any reduction in force (RIF), the department head will prepare a written Reduction in Force Plan that is available for inspection upon request. The plan must include the following information:

  1. A clear statement of the nature of the RIF and rationale for eliminating or reducing programs and/or services.
  2. An analysis of the unit functions and responsibilities to determine which areas, activities, programs, organizations, or classifications should be reduced.
  3. The classification(s) to be eliminated and the rationale for eliminating the position.
  4. If the affected unit employs other staff members within the same job class, the name, classification, and employee identification number for those staff members.
  5. The recommended layoff date. 

 

IV. REVIEW, APPROVAL AND NOTIFICATION PROCESS 

 

  1. The department head will submit the written RIF plan to the Vice President of Human Resources (VPHR) or his or her designee.

  2. The VPHR will review the plan to determine that all work force reduction determinations are consistent with the RIF Policy and Procedure documents and that staff members are treated in a fair and equitable manner. Plans will be reviewed for adverse impact; i.e. to ensure that protected classes are not disproportionately affected by the RIF decision. Within 5 working days of receipt, the department head will receive a response by e-mail or in writing with the approvals and/or recommendations for action. Any corrective actions required may slow the layoff process.

  3. Upon approval of the RIF plan, the Human Resources Department will provide the department head with a RIF packet for the affected staff member. The packet will include a letter of notification, the RIF policy and procedure documents, and information regarding leave of absence without pay, available employee benefits, unemployment compensation benefits services provided by EAP and the University Career Center, and the reemployment process with the name of the Employment Representative assigned to assist in reemployment.

  4. The department head or his or her designee shall meet with the staff member affected by the RIF as soon as feasible but not less than 30 calendar days prior to the effective date of the layoff. At that time, the staff member will be notified, provided with the RIF packet and asked to sign the notification letter in acknowledgement of the action. The department head will send a copy of the signed letter to the VPHR.

  5. On the staff member's last day of work, the department head or his or her designee will collect the staff member's employee ID card, staff handbook, parking pass and any other university property. The property should be returned to the appropriate department (employee ID card to the Human Resources Department, etc.). Prior to the last day of work, the department should also complete termination paperwork and deliver it to Human Resources for processing so computer accounts, security access or e-mail addresses assigned to the staff member and obtain passwords for voice mail along with processing the employee's final check. 

 

V. LAYOFF STATUS

 

The VPHR or his or her designee will notify Staff Development and Employee Relations, Payroll, Employment and the Benefits Office of the RIF. However, the staff member is still responsible to contact these divisions and/or submit the necessary forms to take advantage of the available benefits and to finalize any outstanding business transactions with these or any other university units. 

  1. Health Insurance

    A staff member in layoff status may continue participation in the employee health plan benefits program by arranging to pay the full cost of the benefits until other employment is secured for up to eighteen months. The staff member should contact the Benefits Office within 60 days of being notified of the RIF to elect this coverage.

  2. Employee Assistance Program

    A staff member in layoff status may participate in the employee assistance program for up to six months.

  3. Group Life and Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D) Insurance

    A staff member in layoff status may continue Group Life and AD&D coverage by arranging to pay the full cost of the benefits until other employment is secured for up to one year. The staff member should submit the Request for Leave of Absence Without Pay form from the RIF packet to Payroll within 30 days of notification of the RIF and the Benefits Section form from the RIF packet along with the staff member's first quarterly premiums/contributions to the Benefits Office within 31 calendar days of the effective date of the layoff.

  4. Final Check

    The department will pay an employee for unused annual and/or compensatory leave in the final check.

  5. Computer Loan Program

    If the staff member in layoff status has an outstanding computer loan, Payroll will deduct the amount from the final check.


VI. REEMPLOYMENT PROCESS 

  1. The Human Resources Department will designate an Employment Representative to coordinate the reemployment process. The names of staff members in RIF status will be placed on a reemployment roster for a period of 12 months from the layoff date. The staff member in layoff status is responsible to provide Employment with a current e-mail or mailing address and telephone number.
  2. The staff member in layoff status must complete and submit internal applications to Employment for each position for which he or she wishes to be considered (see www.louisville.edu/hr/employment/applicants/ for more information regarding the application process).
  3. If the staff member in RIF status meets the minimum requirements, his or her application will be referred to the hiring department.  

    [Interpretation of Policy:  The Vice President for Human Resources has determined that an employee in RIF status seeking re-employment with the University shall received preference in hiring among substantially equally qualified candidates.]

  4. If a staff member in RIF status interviews for a position and then decides he or she is not interested in the position, the staff member must withdraw his or her application from the pool by contacting the person that conducted the interview and Employment. If the application is not withdrawn and the position is offered to and declined by the staff member in RIF status, the staff member is deemed to have rejected employment and will lose RIF status and the accompanying benefits as outlined in this and the RIF policy document.

    [Interpretation of Policy:  The Vice President for Human Resources has determined that an employee in RIF status may decline a position at a lower salary grade or a salary that is less than 90% of the employee's pre-RIF salary without forfeiting RIF status.]

  5. If a position is offered and accepted by a staff member in RIF status, the staff member will be considered to have continuous service without interruption, resulting in reinstatement of prior rates of accruing leave and any unused sick leave balance at the time of layoff. The staff member will enter into a qualifying period. 

 

VII. DEFINITIONS 

  1. Continuous service: The total amount of unbroken employment that an employee has accumulated. This includes authorized leave without pay.

  2. Job class: For the purpose of the Reduction in Force Policy, all jobs within a department with similar job factors and the same pay grade.

  3. Layoff: The effective date of the reduction in force.

  4. Layoff status: A condition lasting for one year from the date of notification of a RIF in which a staff member whose position is eliminated is entitled to certain rights (see section VIII. Provisions) including preferential treatment in seeking reemployment with the university.

    [Interpretation of Policy:  The Vice President for Human Resources has determined that an employee in RIF status seeking re-employment with the University shall receive preference in hiring among substantially equally qualified candidates.]

  5. Longevity: The amount of time a staff member has worked at the university based upon continuous service, including time in regular positions held prior to the current position.

  6. Provisional staff member: A classified or professional/administrative staff member in the provisional period.

  7. Provisional period: A six-month period of employment beginning with the first day of regular employment designed to provide the university with a period to determine whether an employee is suitable for and competent to perform the work for which he or she is hired. Termination from employment may be accomplished without specific reasons and without the right of appeal (unless there is a claim of unlawful discrimination). The employee or the employer may end the employment without notice.

  8. Reduction in force (RIF): The abolition of an occupied position due to an elimination of or reduction in funding, reduced or changed work requirements, or department reorganization.

  9. Reduction in force plan: A department head's proposal for eliminating a position including position title, justification for abolishing the position, reallocation of work load if applicable, information regarding the staff member affected by the reduction in force, and the layoff date.

    [Interpretation of Policy:  The Vice President for Human Resources has determined that an employee in RIF status may decline a position at a lower salary grade or a salary that is less than 90% of the employee's pre-RIF salary without forfeiting RIF status.]

  10. Reduction in force status: See layoff status.

  11. Regular status staff member: classified and professional/administrative staff who have successfully completed the provisional employment period.

  12. Temporary staff member: A person employed in a position that is established for a limited period of time not to exceed six months. 

 

VIII. PROVISIONS

 

  1. The RIF Policy and Procedures documents do not apply to temporary, casual, part-time and provisional staff members or to staff members occupying positions that were advertised as "non-continuing" and/or "renewable pending funding".

    [Interpretation of Policy: The VPHR has determined that the defining distinction between employees who are covered or not covered by the RIF policy is whether the employee has attained "regular" status and holds a position with CAR funding. Consequently, the RIF policy does apply to regular part-time staff employees.]

  2. All RIF decisions should include the following elements:

    • Careful analysis to determine which areas, activities, programs, or organizations should be reduced.
    • Identification of the jobs and functions that will need to be performed after the reduction(s).
    • Evaluation of qualifications and abilities of present staff members to perform the jobs remaining.

  3. When a RIF must occur, the department head must eliminate positions occupied by temporary staff members and/or part time staff members before positions occupied by regular status staff members. Any exceptions to this must be justified by business necessity.

    [Interpretation of Policy: RIF decisions are based on business necessity and should be addressed in the RIF Plan submitted to Human Resources. There is no distinguishing threshold between regular full-time and regular part-time positions that automatically give priority retention to full-time positions over part-time positions, except business necessity.]

  4. In the case of a staff member whose duties are divided between two or more departments, a RIF decision by one department will not obligate the other(s) to increase the position and funding to compensate for the reduction.

  5. When a RIF involves choosing between people, the decision will be based on seniority and performance.

  6. A staff member whose job performance or conduct is not satisfactory will be separated from the university by the appropriate method rather than by a reduction in force.

  7. Staff members who are to be laid off must be notified in person and in writing by a letter as soon as feasible, but not less that 30 calendar days prior to the effective date of the action.

  8. Staff members in layoff status must apply for vacant positions to be considered for reemployment. Staff members in layoff status who meet the minimum requirements for a position will be given priority over all other applicants. 

    [Interpretation of Policy:  Pending formal revision of the RIF Policy, as provided at Paragraphs VI.C & VII.D, the Vice President for Human Resources has determined that staff members in layoff status who meet the minimum requirements for a position (1) will be referred to the hiring department and (2) will receive preference in hiring among substantially equally qualified candidates.  Documentation pertaining to the Dec 2002 revision of the RIF policy make clear that the re-employment preference for staff members in RIF status is intended to be a preference among equals; it is not intended to be an absolute preference over all other applicants.]

  9. A staff member in layoff status that refuses a position offer made by the university is deemed to have resigned from employment and forfeits his or her reemployment rights, loses layoff status, is removed from leave without pay status if applicable, and, consequently, loses Group Life and Accidental Death and Dismemberment coverage. The university will have fulfilled its re-employment commitment to any individual who declines the offer of such a position.

  10. Laid off staff members that take a leave of absence without pay who are re-employed within 12 months of the effective date of layoff shall be considered to have continuous service without interruption, resulting in reinstatement of rates of accrual leave and unused sick leave balance at time of layoff.

  11. Departments are to provide staff members scheduled for layoff with reasonable administrative leave for job interviews.

  12. Departments must pay an employee for unused annual and/or compensatory leave in the final check.

  13. Department Heads may not require the use of accrued leave within the minimum 30-day notice period. [VPHR Interpretation: 2-20-2012]

  14. Upon request, a staff member in layoff status may be placed on a leave of absence without pay for a period of one year.

  15. A staff member in layoff status must request and be placed on a leave of absence in order to continue eligibility for the group life program and accidental death and dismemberment coverage.

  16. A staff member in layoff status may continue participation in the employee health plan benefits program by arranging to pay the full cost of the benefits until other employment is secured for up to eighteen months.

  17. Computer loans must be settled at the time of layoff.

  18. Tuition remission and staff development benefits will not be available to employees in layoff status.

  19. A staff member adversely affected by a RIF may appeal the action through the Appeal process only if the staff member believes that the action was based on inconsistent or improper application of the Reduction in Force Policy or Procedure (see Section PER 5.04, Appeals). If the appeal results in a decision favorable to the staff member, the staff member will be reinstated with back wages, less the amount of any unemployment compensation received from the Commonwealth of Kentucky Division of Unemployment Insurance (DUI) while the appeal was pending. In such case, the Staff Development and Employee Relations office will notify the DUI in writing of the staff member's reinstatement. 

 

IX. REVIEW AND RESPONSIBILITIES 

 

Responsible Party: Human Resources Department

 

Review: The university expressly reserves the right at anytime to modify, alter, or amend this policy in whole or in part. The university shall have the unlimited right to amend this policy at any time, retroactively or otherwise, in such respect and to such extent as may be necessary to meet any legal requirement and to the extent necessary to accomplish this purpose. The President or his or her designee is hereby granted authority to issue interpretations and clarify rules under this policy and to coordinate it with or modify other rules of the university as required from time to time for compliance with the law.

 

 

 
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