The decision to lay off University employees is difficult for both managers and employees.
In anticipation of a reduction in workforce, unit heads or their designees must consult with Human Resources. A Human Resources professional will provide assistance and will ensure that reduction in workforce actions are conducted in an equitable and consistent manner. The Human Resources (HR) professional can be most effective in minimizing disruption to an organization when involved early in the decision making process. The HR representative will interpret the policy, review alternatives with the organization, and assist in the development of an implementation plan.
Making a Reduction in Workforce Decision
Determining whether positions must be designated for layoff begins with an objective assessment of the need for the existing functions of the organization. The authority to identify positions for restructuring or elimination rests with the unit head. The unit head will determine which staff members best meet the requirements of the remaining positions or other University priorities and will retain those staff members.
Consideration must be based on objective, job-related standards, which may include differences in knowledge, skills, abilities, and documented work performance. If differences cannot be demonstrated, then layoff decisions will be based on length of continuous service with the University. Although it will not be the determining factor, protection of affirmative action gains should be considered when making a layoff decision.
A unit head has the authority to reduce staff hours, reassign staff to other positions for which they are qualified, or both. Temporary non-students, provisional staff members within the unit, and regular staff members who refuse a suitable reassignment must be terminated before regular employees who accept suitable reassignment, provided the remaining employees have the knowledge, skills, and ability to perform the work.
The Reduction in Workforce policy cannot be used to remove a staff member when the primary reason for doing so is inadequate performance, poor attendance, or misconduct. Such issues must be addressed through a performance review or disciplinary process.
Implementing a Reduction in Workforce Decision
The employing department will give written notice to the staff member as soon as practical, but at least 30 calendar days in advance of the layoff. West Lafayette Campus departments should forward copies of the notice to the Employment, Employee Relations, and Benefits teams in Human Resources. Regional campus departments should forward a copy of the notice to their campus Human Resources department. The notice should include:
- Reason for the layoff (for example: lack of funds or lack of work).
- Employee's last day of active work.
- Employee's last day in pay status (date when accrued and unused vacation will be exhausted).
- Date the layoff will end.
- Instructions for the staff member to contact Human Resources for information about staff benefits continuation, counseling, and placement in another position.
A copy of the Reduction in Workforce policy should be included with the notice.