300 - Employee Relations

301 - Termination of the Employment Relationship

Employment with the University is normally terminated through one of the following actions:

  • resignation, or voluntary termination by the employee;
  • dismissal, or involuntary termination by the University for any reason at any time; or
  • layoff or termination because of a reduction in the workforce or elimination of positions.

Terminations are to be treated in a confidential, professional manner by all concerned. Prior to terminating an employee, the department head or designee should consult with HR.

302 - Notice

A. By Employee

An employee desiring to terminate employment, regardless of job classification, is encouraged to give as much notice as possible. An exempt employee who has provided thirty (30) calendar days written notice of resignation will be eligible to receive the cash value of any unused vacation time. A non-exempt employee who has provided ten (10) working days written notice of resignation will be eligible to receive the cash value of any unused vacation time. Written notice of resignation should be provided to the department head, with a copy to the area Vice President and HR. A staff member's date of termination is the last day worked.

In certain instances, when an employee resigns the University may require the employee to leave immediately rather than after the notice period. The University will make this decision based on the best interests of the University's operations and not as a reflection on the employee's integrity. When the University makes such a decision, the employee will receive pay "in lieu of notice."

B. By the University

In the case of dismissal, the University may, but is not required to, give notice of its intent to dismiss an employee. Except in those situations where an employee is terminated for disciplinary reasons, unprofessional behavior, or misconduct, the University will provide written notice of termination as follows:

  • Exempt employees, thirty (30) calendar days;
  • Non-exempt employees, ten (10) working days.

In certain instances, the University may require the employee to leave immediately rather than after the notice period. In those instances, the employee will receive pay "in lieu of notice."

In situations where an employee is terminated for disciplinary reasons, unprofessional behavior, or misconduct, the employee will not be eligible to receive the cash value of unused vacation time.

303 - Personnel Records

Note that this policy also applies to faculty.

HR maintains the University's permanent employment records, including the personnel files for all employees. An employee's direct supervisor and department head can review the employee's file. If an employee transfers positions within the University, the hiring department head or their designee can review the employee's file. Employees may review their personnel file in the presence of an HR representative. Information in personnel files is released only in response to a court order or a release signed by the employee, or on a "need to know" basis as determined by the Associate Vice President for HR.

303 - Workforce Reduction

Definition

A “workforce reduction” is the termination of employment of a regular staff employee, when in the sole judgment of the university, a reduction of the workforce, the elimination or reduction of a particular kind of work, a structural reorganization, or reallocation of financial resources is deemed necessary. 

Other types of employment termination—including voluntary resignation/retirement and involuntary termination for performance reasons—are not workforce reductions and are therefore not eligible for the transition assistance described in this policy.

Policy Application

Regular, Benefits-Eligible Exempt and Nonexempt Staff employees as defined in HR Policy 103 are covered under this policy and eligible for the transition assistance benefits described below.

Faculty are excluded from this policy, as are all other employment classifications including but not limited to temporary employees, student employees, independent contractors, and volunteers.

Workforce Reduction Decisions

Workforce reductions are determined by the management of institutional units in consultation with the division Vice President and Human Resources. They will assess the operational needs of the division and the role of existing staff in meeting those requirements.

Notice or Pay in Lieu of Notice

The university will endeavor to provide the employee with at least thirty (30) days’ written notice of a workforce reduction employment termination. The university may decide to provide pay in lieu of notice, with one month’s regular pay as the maximum amount that may be issued. Pay in lieu of notice is additional to the transition assistance benefits described below.

The university may rescind its written notice during the notice period if the university decides to retain the employee or if the employee transfers to a new position within the university. The university will not provide the transition assistance benefits described below in the event that the university rescinds the notice and retains the employee or in the event that the employee transfers to a new position. 

After having received written notice of a workforce reduction employment termination, if the employee voluntarily resigns prior to the actual date of termination, the balance of the notice period will not be converted to pay and the employee will not receive the transition benefits described below.

Any employee who has received written notice of workforce reduction employment termination will still be expected to provide at least a two-week resignation notice in the event the employee secures outside employment prior to the actual date of termination, but accrued and unused vacation hours will be paid regardless of the timing of the employee’s resignation notice.

Transition Assistance Benefits

In order to support employees whose employment is terminated due to a workforce reduction, the university will provide the following transition assistance benefits.

Severance Cash Payment

Once the terminating employee has signed a comprehensive Severance and Release of Claims Agreement and the period for revoking that agreement has expired, the employee will be paid a lump sum severance amount. The amount of severance payment is based on the employee’s annual pay rate and years of service as of the termination date. The severance payment is calculated based on two weeks of pay per year of service as follows: 

Years of benefits-eligible service with the university (rounded to the nearest day), multiplied by annual pay rate divided by 26.

The minimum severance cash payment is equal to 6 weeks’ pay and the maximum payment is equal to 26 weeks’ pay.

Example: 

Smith is paid $50,000 annual salary and has been a benefits-eligible employee of the university for 5 years and 75 days when Smith’s employment is terminated due to workforce reduction.  Smith’s severance payment is calculated as:

  • Step 1 - Years of Service:  Five completed years of service, plus 75 additional days divided by 365 days per year.  The result is 5.21 years of service.
  • Step 2 - Pay:  $50,000 annual salary divided by 26 = $1,923 bi-weekly pay.
  • Step 3 - 5.21 years multiplied by $1,923 pay = $10,019 severance payment.    

Payment of severance will be as a lump sum amount, less required withholdings, and will be issued via the university’s regular payroll schedule at the next scheduled date following the later of the employment termination date or expiration of the fully executed severance agreement’s revocation period.

Health Insurance Assistance

The employee may elect to continue the university’s health insurance in accordance with provisions of the federal Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA).  The employee may extend insurance coverage for the employee and covered family members as long as the employee enrolls in COBRA and pays premiums on a timely basis.

Once the terminating employee has signed a comprehensive Severance and Release of Claims Agreement and the period for revoking that agreement has expired, the university will provide a lump sum amount to offset the cost of COBRA coverage. The amount of COBRA assistance is based on the employee’s current health insurance coverage and years of service.  The payment is calculated as follows:

Years of benefits-eligible service with the university (rounded to the nearest day), multiplied by the amount of the university’s subsidy of the employee’s elected medical, dental and vision insurance (weekly equivalent).

The minimum COBRA cash payment is equivalent to 12 weeks of the university’s health insurance subsidy.  The maximum payment is equivalent to 26 weeks’ subsidy.

Payment of the subsidy will be as a lump sum amount, less required withholdings, and will be issued via the university’s regular payroll schedule at the next scheduled date following the later of the employment termination date or expiration of the fully executed severance agreement’s revocation period.

Example: 

Johnson has been a benefits-eligible employee of the university for 10 years and 200 days when Johnson’s employment is terminated due to workforce reduction.  Johnson has “Employee Only” medical, dental and vision insurance coverage at the point of termination. Johnson’s COBRA severance payment is calculated as:

  • Step 1 - Years of Service:  Ten completed years of service, plus 200 additional days divided by 365 days per year.  The result is 10.55 years of service.
  • Step 2 - The university’s weekly subsidy for “Employee Only” is $150 for medical, $10 for dental and $1 for vision; or $161 total.
  • Step 3 - 10.55 years multiplied by $161 subsidy equals $1,699.  Because this calculation is below the 12-week minimum benefit, Johnson’s payment will increase to the minimum benefit of $1,932 ($161 multiplied by 12 weeks.)

Other Benefits

The employee may be eligible for post-employment extension of certain benefits including access to the university’s Employee Assistance Plan and the Tuition Remission benefits program. If available, the terms and duration of benefits are posted to the Human Resources benefits site here and here.

Employee Career Transition Assistance

Division leadership will work with Human Resources to identify open university positions for which an employee selected for workforce reduction may be qualified. The employee will also receive paid time off for job interviews.

Upon request, Human Resources may authorize access to a designated third party to provide career transition support for the employee. This support can include assistance in resume development, interviewing skills, and job search strategies. An employee may receive this transition support for up to three months, and may commence the support any time between the start of the notice period through six months following the termination date.