The purpose of these guidelines is to clarify the VCU Workforce Reduction and Severance Benefits stated in the “Working @ VCU: ‘Great Place’ HR Policies and to set forth procedures for compliance with these policies. These guidelines apply to University and Academic Professionals and are effective January 1, 2018. Employees in restricted positions, Executive/Senior Administrators, and other employees serving on an employment contract are not eligible for workforce reduction or severance benefits.
As specified in the Working @ VCU: ‘Great Place’ HR Policies, a position may be restricted pursuant to an explicit requirement that the employment is restricted by the job duties to be performed, a specified time period, or availability of funds. This includes positions funded by grants (10% or greater). Executive/Senior Administrators and other employees serving on an employment contract are not eligible for the benefits as described in this section of the policy.
The following information outlines and discusses the four phases of Workforce Reduction.
As a Great Place to work, VCU does its best to take every possible measure before resorting to a workforce reduction. In the event that a manager believes a workforce reduction is the only remaining option, the following steps and guidelines should be followed.
The manager contacts the HR professional to discuss potential layoff situation, including the reasons for proposed workforce reduction, previous actions to prevent workforce reduction, and whether restricted positions are involved.
If the HR professional confirms that workforce reduction is appropriate, the manager completes the Workforce Reduction Preliminary Information Form to determine scope and potential employees affected.
Along with the form, the manager submits the current and proposed Organizational Charts of the affected work unit to the HR professional.
The HR Professional reviews the Workforce Reduction Preliminary Information Form.
The HR professional and manager discuss potential impact on unit and employees, and begin to plan implementation.
The key to implementation is good planning and documentation. Managers should make every effort to ensure best practices are followed as outlined in the guidelines below.
The manager, together with HR professional, determine affected employees and workforce reduction action (demotion, reassignment, layoff, etc.). In making decisions on workforce reduction, managers work with the HR professional to ensure, as a general rule and to the extent possible, that the following factors are considered:
Length of continuous employment with the university determined from the time of the approval of the workforce reduction
Ratings on the three most recent performance reviews determined from the time of approval of the workforce reduction. For any year for which the employee does not have a performance review on record, that employee is considered to have had a successful rating.
The employee’s disciplinary record
In situations where multiple employees serve in the same affected job series (i.e. base job and senior job titles), the manager may choose to solicit volunteers for workforce reduction action. Solicitation is an optional process and should only be used when all potentially affected employees have similar performance ratings, have similar skillsets and are University and Academic Professional employees.
If a Classified employee is one of the potentially impacted employees, the manager must follow the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Department of Human Resource Management’s layoff policy. If the Classified employee has the most years of state service, that employee cannot be considered for workforce reduction. Classified employees are not eligible for solicitation.
If a manager determines that solicitation is an option, the manager should communicate the need for a workforce reduction to the employees eligible for the voluntary workforce reduction. The manager provides eligible employees with the for completion. The manager provides a deadline by which the employee must return the signed form. A minimum of two business days is recommended.
The manager should revert to using the factors listed above, if no employee volunteers for workforce reduction or if multiple employees volunteer.
The news of workforce reduction can be difficult for the affected employee, teammates and the manager. Managers should use empathy when communicating the news to employees and teams. While the guidelines below provide the necessary steps, managers are encouraged to use their judgment to provide the information in a method that works best for the individuals involved.
The manager prepares form letter, schedules meeting with HR professional on behalf of the employee, reviews the discussion guide for one-to-one meeting with impacted employee.
The manager drafts the Workforce Reduction Notification letter, including date of workforce reduction action (i.e., layoff, demotion, reassignment), pre-scheduled meeting date and time with HR professional. A manager is required to give no less than two weeks’ notice to the employee.
The manager reviews discussion guide to prepare for meeting with the impacted employee.
The manager consults with HR and schedules one-to-one meeting to notify employee.
Consider the time of day when to hold the meeting. Potentially the afternoon or at the end of a shift so that the employee could go home right away, if needed. Avoid Fridays, if possible, so that employee has option to follow up with questions the following day.
The manager consults with HR and schedules meeting to notify impacted employee’s teammates.
Consider the time of day when to hold the meeting. The afternoon or at the end of a shift is preferable so that the news does not cause a distraction for the remainder of the work day. Avoid Fridays, if possible, so that employees can follow up with questions the next day.
The manager reviews discussion guide to prepare for meeting with team.
University employees who are laid off are eligible for severance, priority interviews, up to 12 months of contributions to health and life insurance benefits.