Reduction in Workforce (VI.F.2)

Volume ­­VI: Human Resources
Chapter F: Terms and Conditions of Employment
Responsible Executive: Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer
Responsible Office: Office of the Vice President for Human Resources
Date Issued: June 3, 2002
Date Last Revised: January 15, 2020


Statement of Policy
Reason for This Policy
Individuals and Entities Affected by This Policy
Definitions (defined terms are capitalized throughout the document)
Related Documents, Forms and Tools
Website Address for This Policy
History and Updates


Policy Clarification




Office of the Vice President for Human Resources – Employee Relations



Campus Specific Questions




Fort Wayne Human Resources and Office of Institutional Equity


Northwest Human Resources


West Lafayette Employee Relations



Placement Assistance




Fort Wayne Human Resources


Northwest Human Resources


West Lafayette Talent Acquisition


Talent acquisition team



The University will administer Reductions in Workforce (RIF) in an equitable and consistent manner.

The authority to identify positions for restructuring or elimination rests with the Unit Head. With consultation from Human Resources, the Unit Head will determine which Staff members best meet the requirements of the remaining positions and 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 RIF decisions will be based on length of continuous service with the University.

A Unit Head has the authority to reduce Staff hours or FTE, reassign Staff to other positions for which they are qualified, or both. Staff members who refuse a Suitable Reassignment will be terminated without Layoff status.

The employing department will give written notice to affected Staff members as soon as practical, but at least 30 calendar days in advance of the Layoff. Refer to the Operating Procedures for Administration of a Reduction in Workforce for detailed information about notification and placement assistance. If an individual exhausts the Layoff period without securing regular employment with the University, the Staff member’s employment will be terminated.

This policy cannot be used to remove a Staff member when the primary reason for doing so is inadequate performance, poor attendance or misconduct. These issues must be addressed through a performance review or disciplinary process.

Under normal circumstances, positions that are eliminated through a Reduction in Workforce cannot be reinstated for a period of one year following the employee's termination (i.e., the employee’s separation from the University following the Layoff period). If the position is reinstated during that period, the employee who was in the position at the time of the RIF must be offered the opportunity to return to the position at the same rate of pay in effect at the time of Layoff.

Staff Benefits

  1. Staff members placed on Layoff will be paid all accumulated and unused vacation. The 120-day Layoff period will begin the day after the last day in active work status.
  2. A department that gives an employee more than a 30-day notice of a Layoff may require the employee to use all accrued and unused vacation prior to the employee's last day of work.
  3. Staff members in Layoff status may continue existing coverage in the group medical, term life, and flexible benefit programs. The University will continue to pay its portion of the medical and life insurance premiums during the Layoff period. Long-term disability and short-term disability coverage will terminate the last day the Staff member is in active work status.
  4. Staff members in Layoff status do not accrue vacation or sick leave during the Layoff period.
  5. Staff members on approved sick leave and/or family and medical leave are subject to Layoff, but the Layoff period will begin after the approved leave benefit is exhausted. Intermittent family and medical leave will cease as of the last day in active work status.
  6. Staff members on other approved leaves are subject to Layoff. In these cases, the provisions of this policy will supersede the approved leave. However, provisions for military re-employment rights will apply.
  7. Staff members on Layoff are not entitled to holiday, sick leave, bereavement leave, jury duty or any other leave with pay during the Layoff period, except military leave.
  8. The University will not make contributions to defined contribution or defined benefit plans on the employee's behalf while the employee is on Layoff.
  9. Staff members in Layoff status are entitled to the Staff privileges listed below:
  • Tuition fee remission in accordance with the policy on Tuition for Employees and Dependents Registered as Students (II.D.3)
  • Tickets to athletic, cultural, educational and entertainment events at staff prices
  • Staff privileges at University recreational facilities
  • Staff parking privileges
  • Regular staff identification card
  • Use of University libraries
  • Access to campus employee health centers
  • Employee Assistance Program
  • Purdue University email account

Withdrawal of Layoff Status

Layoff status will be withdrawn and the Staff member will be terminated upon the occurrence of any of the following:

  1. Unavailability for an interview without good cause;
  2. Refusal to accept a Suitable Position within the University without good cause;
  3. Request to be removed from Layoff status; or
  4. Unprofessional conduct, such as disrespectful or discourteous communication with University faculty, staff, or students or violation of University policies.

Reemployment after Termination

A Staff member who exhausts the 120-day Layoff period but is re-employed at the University within 12 consecutive calendar months from the date of termination will receive continuous service credit toward the defined contribution plan waiting period, if the Staff member returns to an eligible classification.

Service credit for the defined contribution plan will be given for time in Layoff status, subject to a limit of six months in any four calendar years of service. Service credit for time in Layoff status for employees covered by the Federal Civil Service Retirement Program will be governed by the terms of the program in effect at the time.

Temporary Layoffs

A change in the University's needs or resources may result in a Temporary Layoff. A Staff member placed on Temporary Layoff may have the option of using accumulated and unused vacation during the Layoff, provided the Staff member has worked in a benefits-eligible position for three months or longer. The Unit Head or designee will determine whether or not vacation leave may be used during Temporary Layoff.

Staff members on Temporary Layoff will receive holiday pay if an official University holiday falls during the layoff period.


Appropriate staffing is critical to the University's mission of learning, discovery and engagement. When faced with changing economic and programmatic imperatives, Purdue University may need to adjust its workforce. The decision to eliminate Staff positions is difficult for both managers and employees. This policy is designed to provide support for managers and supervisors who must plan and carry out decisions associated with Reductions in Workforce.


Benefits-eligible, full-time and benefits-eligible, part-time employees covered by the policy on Terms and Conditions of Employment of Staff (VI.F.5).


This policy does not apply to:

  1. Employees in positions of definite duration of one year or less, when the specified duration was included in the job posting;
  2. Temporary employees;
  3. Faculty or visiting faculty;
  4. Lecturers;
  5. Undergraduate and graduate student staff;
  6. Postdoctoral researchers, clinical interns and clinical residents; or
  7. Individuals not paid through the University’s payroll.

Staff with H-1B visa status are not eligible for Layoff following their last date in active work status per federal immigration law. The employment of Staff with H-1B visa status will be terminated as of their last day in active work status.


Employing Department

  • Following direction from the Unit Head, provide written notification to Staff members affected by the Reduction in Workforce and complete necessary business forms.
  • Contact Human Resources for appropriate procedures and provisions related to Temporary Layoffs.

HR Professionals

  • Interpret this policy.
  • Review alternatives with the Unit Head and assist in the development of an implementation plan.
  • Assist Staff members notified of a Reduction in Workforce with placement in a new position, including granting Priority Consideration.
  • Coordinate with the Office of International Students and Scholars if a RIF will affect Staff with visas or other international labor certification status.

Staff Member

  • Contact Human Resources to receive placement assistance upon receiving a Reduction in Workforce notice.
  • Adhere to the conditions of the Reduction in Workforce.
  • To appeal a RIF, follow the steps in the Operating Procedures for Administration of a Reduction in Workforce.
  • If interested in continued employment, apply for jobs for which they are interested and meet minimum qualifications, attend interviews, and accept a Suitable Position.

Unit Head

  • Consult with Human Resources when considering Reductions in Workforce.
  • Identify positions for restructuring or elimination.
  • Make a decision at the first level of an appeal regarding a RIF.

Vice President for Human Resources or Chancellor

  • Make the final decision on appeals regarding Reductions in Workforce.


All defined terms are capitalized throughout the document. Additional defined terms may be found in the central Policy Glossary.

The full-time equivalent of a Staff member’s appointment, with one (1) being full time.

Non-paid work status of 120 days following the Staff member's last day in active work status.

Priority Consideration
Human Resources will refer individuals in Layoff status for positions for which they express an interest and for which they meet the minimum qualifications. Supervisors must interview any candidate referred to them who is in Layoff status.

Reduction in Workforce (RIF)
A reduction in a Staff member's number of work hours or FTE or the elimination of the Staff member's position due to change in the University's needs or resources. Generally, such a change will be due to a lack of work, a lack of funds, or the reorganization of a unit.

Benefits-eligible, full-time and benefits-eligible, part-time employees covered by the policy on Terms and Conditions of Employment of Staff (VI.F.5).

Suitable Position
A position for which Human Resources determines the Staff member is suitable. Suitability is determined on an individual basis.

Suitable Reassignment
Generally, a position with a salary equivalent to 80 percent or more of the individual's former salary and with hours and other working conditions similar to the former position.

Temporary Layoff
Non-paid, inactive status of 30 days or less.

Unit Head
An individual holding a position at or above the level of dean, vice president, vice provost or vice chancellor.


Operating Procedures for Administration of Reductions in Workforce

Reduction in Workforce Summary

Terms and Conditions of Employment of Staff (VI.F.5)

Tuition for Employees and Dependents Registered as Students (II.D.3)



January 15, 2020: Removed procedures to a separate document; retained policy elements in the Statement of Policy and Responsibilities sections. Updated staff benefits list. Removed the reference to personal holiday. Updated definitions of FTE and Staff Member, added definition of Temporary Layoff, and removed definition of Workdays. Updated Exclusions section.

January 1, 2018: The service credit for vacation and sick time eligibility for employees rehired within 12 months was removed, as was the reinstatement of unused sick time. The Contacts section was updated and the definition of CUL was changed to FTE.

November 18, 2011: Policy number changed to VI.F.2 (formerly IV.14.2) and website address updated.

May 12, 2011: Reduction in Workforce Business Office Checklist added to Related Documents, Forms and Tools section.

January 1 2011: The responsibilities previously assigned to the Vice President for Ethics and Compliance in the appeal section were reassigned to the Vice President for Human Resources. Updates to the forms mentioned in the procedures were made and the policy was reformatted into the current policy template.

The April 15, 2009, revision of this policy makes minor wording clarifications, adds an appeal process, and supersedes the March 24, 2004, version.

The March 24, 2004, version of this policy makes minor wording clarifications and amends the January 1, 2004, version.

The January 1, 2004, version of this policy amends the version that was effective June 3, 2002. This policy supersedes Executive Memorandum No. C-9, which was originally issued December 15, 1986, and amended on June 30, 1993.

Executive Memorandum No. C-9 superseded Business Office Memorandum No. 150, issued February 28, 1973.


There are no appendices to this policy.


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