Reduction in force affecting the continuation of employment may be required in the event of:
- a financial exigency as declared by the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning
- termination or reduction of programs, academic or administrative units
- elimination or reduction of funding
- reduced or changed work requirements
- departmental reorganizations
Reductions in force may occur within a specific job classification(s) assigned to a department or to a specific functional portion of a department (departmental program). The determination that a reduction in force is required, as a result of one of the above stated criteria, must be made by the responsible vice president. Separation from employment, within the meaning of this policy, may not occur without the written review of the Director of Human Resources Management and General Counsel. Final written approval is required at the vice presidential level. When a reduction in force is necessary, the following procedures should be followed:
Prior to consideration of a reduction in force, the department/unit head should review the following alternatives as a means of satisfying the required reduction in expenditures:
- cutbacks in operating and travel budgets
- leaving vacant positions unfilled
- elimination of student, temporary and part-time positions
- voluntary temporary leave(s) without pay
- job sharing, reduction of position(s) to less than full time
The department/unit head, in consultation with the Department of Human Resources Management will then identify modifications of, changes in, or elimination of departmental programs or services based upon a prioritization of programs and services and their centrality to the mission of the department. Elimination of student, temporary and part-time positions within the department or departmental program(s) specified for reduction in force should be considered as the initial step in reducing expenditures. If the elimination of student, temporary and part-time positions does not satisfy the reduction in force needs, regular employees in the job categories identified within the department or departmental program(s) shall be separated. Employees to be separated will be selected based upon the overall rating of their most recent written performance appraisal, subsequent written documentation regarding their work performance, and their ability to perform the remaining work. In situations where employee performance appraisals are equivalent and no other written documentation regarding work performance is available, the employee with the least continuous service with the department will be separated first. A reduction in force plan must not be utilized in lieu of appropriate disciplinary action.
The written plan for reduction in force is submitted by the department/unit head through the appropriate chain of command for review by the Department of Human Resources Management and General Counsel before being submitted for final approval at the vice presidential level.
After obtaining approval of the plan, the department/unit head will notify the affected employees, in writing, of the reason for the separation and the effective date. Employees selected for separation will usually be given thirty (30) calendar days’ notice. The Department of Human Resources Management will assist the responsible administrator with preparation of the necessary paperwork, including notification of separation letters to affected employees. Employees should be referred to the Department of Human Resources Management for information about benefit coverage continuation.
If the departmental situation changes and open positions become available, the department may rehire separated employees within six (6) months of the effective date of separation without following standard procedures for filling vacancies. Separated employees who are interested in being rehired will be selected for rehire based upon meeting or exceeding minimum qualifications for the position(s) to be filled, their overall rating in the most recent performance appraisal, and length of prior service.