Layoff Policy/Procedures for University Support Staff (USS)
To notify University of Kansas departmental administration and university support staff (USS) of layoff procedures and associated employee rights in the event such action is necessitated by funding shortfalls, reorganizational needs, position abolishment, etc.
Applies only to university support staff appointed to regular positions who are not serving on probationary status.
- Notification of Layoff Request To Dean or Vice Provost and to Human Resource Management (HRM).
The designated unit (department/center)will submit a notification of layoff request to its Dean or Vice Provost. Once approved, the request must be forwarded to HRM.
The notification letter to the Dean or Vice Provost should contain a statement regarding the reason for the proposed layoff, position(s) that will be affected, anticipated date of action, location of the position(s) and an organizational chart for the area. Requests should be submitted well in advance of the action; however preferably, no later than 45 calendar days prior to the anticipated layoff date.
Once HRM has reviewed the layoff request, a representative will coordinate with the department to discuss the proposed layoff recommendation notice and encourage verbal communication to the employee at this time. An official layoff notice letter to the employee will be generated by HRM.
- Determining Placement or Employee’s Layoff Option
HRM will determine placement options in the event of layoff. If there is an open (vacant) position that meets the criteria as outlined below, HRM as the appointing authority may place the employee in the vacant position. If a vacant position is not available, any regular employee who has been given a notice of layoff, may exercise “bumping rights” as described below.
Determining the layoff area:
- Layoff activity is limited to the campus location and/or designated unit where the layoff is to occur. This determination will be made by HRM.
- As described in the following sections, regular employees may only “bump” employees as designated by the appointing authority.
- Positions must be similar in FTE.
Position placement criteria for vacant positions and areas with those on initial probationary appointments:
- Preferably, the open position would be within the same job code of the employee’s current position and at the same salary range. If the employee has no option to take a position at the same salary range, the employee must be given the opportunity to take a position (if available) in a different job code and salary range (possibly lower) as long as selection criteria is met. If more than one qualifying position is available, the position with the highest maximum salary range is the one that may be offered.
- The open position should be comparable to the employee’s current position as defined.
- The employee must meet the position’s competency needs and other requirements.
- If placed outside of the designated layoff area, a new initial probationary period will be served.
- A full-time employee receiving a layoff notice is not eligible to “bump” a part-time employee holding a similar position, and vice versa.
- Determining an Employee’s Employment Retention Rating
If more than one person with the same job title in the same designated layoff area is to be laid off, the person(s) to be laid off shall be selected on the basis of the lowest layoff score. Layoff scores shall be computed by HRM for each employee in the position title and salary rate in that layoff area.
Layoff scores shall be computed according to the formula: A x 2 x L, where A and L have the following values: (1) A = the average of the 4 most recent performance review ratings (if available) of the employee and L = the length of service, expressed in months. Length of service for a retired employee who has returned to work will be calculated on the same basis as a new hire.
The average for the performance review (A) shall be based on the following point scale: 9 = exceptional; 6 = exceeds expectations; 3 = meets expectations; 1=needs improvement; and 0 = unsatisfactory. Evaluations submitted after the layoff notice has been received by HRM will not be included in determining this average.
- Employee Conference and Placement Service
Employees who may be affected by the proposed layoff will be individually contacted by HRM staff for purposes of discussing the layoff process, interest in other jobs on campus, and referral procedures. In the event that large numbers of staff are affected, a group layoff conference may also take place in addition to individual meetings.
HRM will work with impacted employees and departments with open vacancies to assist with scheduling interviews when appropriate. In the event the individual is an appropriate match for the open vacant position and with the hiring department, as determined by the University, an offer letter will be extended to the employee for the new position and a letter of confirmation will be sent to the unit. If the position offered is a transfer or a demotion to a vacant USS position elsewhere in the university, the employee may refuse the position and will then be placed in a voluntary layoff status which may affect future unemployment services and/or benefits.
If an employee refuses an offered position and/or resigns voluntarily, the employee may make an appeal to the State of Kansas Unemployment Insurance System regarding eligibility for unemployment services. However, refusal of any identified USS vacant position will also result in termination of placement services provided by HRM.
All employees placed in a department different from their original appointment will automatically be placed on probationary status. In the event an employee fails to perform in the new role,the employee may be terminated at any time while on probationary status.
- Preparing and Serving the Layoff Notice
In the event placement is not possible, HRM will prepare the layoff notice for the Chief Human Resource Officer's signature. The layoff notice will be sent at least 30 calendar days prior to its effective date whenever possible.
- Assistance for Employees Laid Off
If an employee is laid off, that employee may be eligible for unemployment benefits as coordinated by the Kansas Department of Labor. Laid off employees would be paid any remaining balances of vacation leave and/or compensatory time for which they were eligible. HRM Benefits Office can provide laid off employees with information regarding the continuation of health insurance under the provisions of COBRA, as well as options regarding retirement funds and other applicable benefits.
- Employee Options for Avoiding or Reducing the Impact of Layoff
An employee may seek to avoid or reduce the impact of layoff by applying for other University positions through the University’s employment process. An employee may also notify the employee's supervisor of the employee's willingness to take leave without pay, to voluntarily take a reduction in the percentage of time or work year, or to voluntarily demote. An employee’s willingness to take such measures may be considered, but does not ensure that it will be possible to avoid the necessity of the layoff.
An employee in a regular position identified for layoff may choose to be laid off rather than exercise bumping options.
These policies and procedures do not supersede any agreement specified by memoranda of agreement.
This policy does not authorize placement in to Unclassified Professional Staff (UPS) positions.
Department of Human Resource Management
103 Carruth-O’Leary Hall
1246 W. Campus Road
Lawrence, KS 66045
Layoff: A layoff is a reduction in work force usually necessitated by either shortage of work or funds, reinstatement of an employee from leave, the abolition of a position, or other material change in duties or reorganization.
A layoff action can result in:
- Separation from University employment; or
- Placement into a “comparable position” currently filled by an employee on initial probationary status if available and selection criteria are met; and/or
- Placement in a position in a different salary grade, band and level than previously held (required qualifications must be met); and/or
- Reduction in the number of months worked during a year; and/or
- Reduction in number of hours worked (FTE) during the work week.
Additionally, an employee with regular status may choose not to continue in a position that has been permanently increased or decreased in hours worked. In this situation the employee has layoff rights in accordance with this layoff procedure.
Comparable Position: A position is considered comparable to the one from which an employee is being laid off if it is the same in:
- Similar job responsibilities and required qualifications;
- Percentage of time worked;
- Annual work cycle; and,
- Geographic location
Appointing Authority: The Chief Human Resource Officer (or designee) has been designated by the Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor as the “appointing authority” to handle all employment matters for university support staff, including the layoff process.
08/30/2022: Updated term HR Director to Chief HR Officer.
07/11/2016: Updated to remove gendered pronouns.
10/20/2015: Made adjustments for changes in language on probationary status and performance evaluation rating descriptions; Updated HR to HRM
01/23/2015: Policy formatting cleanup (e.g., bolding, spacing).