Administration and Finance
 
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Administration and Operations Manual

4.33 Staff Layoff

Last Revised: 15 February 2013
Refer Questions To: Director, Human Resources

Scope

This policy applies to staff employees in all offices and divisions of Gallaudet University unless specifically covered by collective bargaining agreements made between Gallaudet University and certified bargaining agents.

Policy

Although the University is committed to avoiding layoffs of personnel to the greatest extent possible, conditions may arise which call for the layoff of staff employees due, most often, to program discontinuance or reduction, reorganization, decreased workload, budget considerations, or other reasons which indicate that the employee's services are no longer needed. The University does not have a contract of employment with any of its staff employees. Nevertheless, layoffs are conducted in a manner that is fair, respects long-term commitments to the University, and is sensitive to the needs and financial security of employees as well as to the mission of the University. Recommendations for layoffs are submitted by the unit administrator to the senior administrator and administrative officer for approval. Individual layoffs must also be approved by the Director of Human Resources and the Director of Equal Opportunity Programs.

Throughout this policy, the word program may also mean a unit, department, office, service, or function.

Approved by: Gallaudet University Board of Trustees

Procedures

  1. Program Discontinuance
    If a program is discontinued (eliminated), all staff in the program, regardless of the source of funding, are laid off. Arrangements are made for the appropriate disposition of grants.
  2. Program Reductions
    The following guidelines are used in laying off individual staff employees:
    1. Program Needs: Program needs take into consideration the staff necessary to fulfill goals and objectives and to meet the needs of the students.
    2. Staff Status: Substitute, call-in, incidental and short-term temporary employees are laid off first followed by extended temporary staff. Regular status staff have the highest priority for retention in their department.
    3. Seniority: Within any given job category (like titles and/or responsibilities with the same salary level), if there is more than one employee, the least senior employee is the first to be laid off. Seniority is based on total length of cumulative service with the University, counting both regular status and extended temporary status. If two employees have equal seniority, then deafness, ethnic/cultural diversity, and sign language skills are taken into consideration. If the displacement of a junior employee would jeopardize program needs or impair the functioning of the unit because the work of that employee cannot be performed by a more senior employee with reasonable retraining (i.e., the ability to meet the minimum requirements of the position within one year), the next most junior employee is laid off.
  3. Reorganization Requiring Layoffs
    If a program, regardless of its source of funding, is restructured or reorganized in order to implement changes or new initiatives or to provide more efficient and/or cost effective service, certain positions may be eliminated and others may be created. If the primary job responsibilities of an incumbent will no longer be performed or will be revised in such a way as to reclassify the position, the position is eliminated and the employee will be notified of layoff. Regular status employees receive first consideration for newly created staff positions in the program. Consideration is given based on qualifications and the guidelines described in 2 above.
  4. Decreased Workload, Budget Considerations, Other
    Layoffs resulting from decreased workload, budget considerations, or other reasons follow the procedures outlined in 1, 2, or 3 above.

Notifications

Employees are notified in writing as soon as possible but not less than two weeks in advance.

Severance Pay

Regular Status Staff
Employees with one year of service or more receive one weeks base salary for each full year of service in a regular status or extended temporary position.  Employees with less than one year of service receive one-week base salary. (Employees are not eligible to receive severance pay for the same years of service more than one time.) Severance pay may be paid in a lump sum within 30 days of the date of separation or paid over the duration of the weekly entitlement. Leave does not accrue while being paid severance pay.

Extended Temporary Staff
If a temporary appointment is terminated prior to its expiration, one weeks base salary is given for each full year of continuous service.  Severance pay is paid in a lump sum within 30 days of the date of separation.

Short-Term Temporary and Other Staff
Short-term temporary staff, and all other staff, are ineligible for severance pay.

Reemployment Eligibility

A staff employee who is laid off is given the opportunity to apply and receive priority consideration to fill his/her former position (same program, responsibilities, and salary level) if opened during a two-year period following separation. If offered the position, the individual is offered his/her salary at the time of layoff or the minimum of the appropriate salary range, whichever is greater. Adjustments may be made for an alternative appointment schedule.

Laid off staff employees receive priority consideration over a non-Gallaudet applicant for other vacant positions at the University for one year following their separation. If offered a position, the salary offer is consistent with staff compensation guidelines and may take into consideration such factors as the level of the position, the appointment schedule, and the department budget.

Staff employees who are rehired while still receiving severance salary payments from the University or are rehired during a period for which severance was paid will no longer receive severance payments or will reimburse the University for the severance paid for any week or portion thereof covered by the reemployment. Reemployment dates are determined by the University.

Benefits

Insurances/Retirement
All separating employees should contact Human Resources Services for information regarding termination, continuation of coverage or conversion privileges for insurances, and for information regarding retirement options and eligibility.

Annual Leave
Separating employees are reimbursed for unused annual leave according to the maximums outlined in Policy 4.11 - Annual Leave.

Laid-off regular status employees may receive their annual leave reimbursement in a lump sum or may elect to use their annual leave to remain on the payroll until the leave has been exhausted. Annual leave is used prior to severance if the employee elects to use annual leave to remain on the payroll. Annual leave does not accrue while being paid on annual leave.

Sick Leave
Unused sick leave is not reimbursable and may not be used to prolong the separation date. Unused sick leave will be reinstated (if not used for other purposes) if an employee returns to regular status staff employment within one year of the date of separation.

Educational Benefits (Educational Assistance, Tuition Assistance, Tuition Waiver)
Eligible employees and their family members may continue in the course(s) in which they are enrolled at the time of notification. Employees will be reimbursed for educational assistance and/or tuition assistance as long as the conditions described in the relevant policies have been met. Employees and their family members may not receive educational benefits for a course which would be scheduled to begin following their effective date of termination. Laid off employees are not required to reimburse the University for the cost of the course(s).

Appeals

Staff employees who have satisfactorily completed their initial probationary period may appeal their layoffs through the dispute resolution process.

Personnel Action Forms

Departments are responsible for preparing a Separation Personnel Action Form and for verifying the return of University property and any monies due. Employees are expected to return their keys and identification card on the final day of work.

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