Office of Procedures, Records, and Forms Business Policies and Procedures Manual

PERSONNEL
60.37
Revised 7-17
Human Resource Services
509-335-4521

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Layoff–Civil Service Employees


Overview

The reasons for a layoff include, but are not limited to, the following in accordance with WAC 357-46-010:

  • Lack of funds
  • Lack of work
  • Organizational change
  • Termination of project employment

In order to avoid or minimize the impacts of layoff, before initiating a layoff, departments are to contact the campus Human Resource Services (HRS) office to determine potential options available in lieu of layoff. HRS offices are located at the Pullman, Spokane, Tri-Cities, and Vancouver campuses.

Options may include, but are not limited to:

  • Voluntary employee transfers
  • Voluntary demotions
  • Voluntary reduced work schedules
  • Voluntary leave without pay
  • Hiring controls

Prior to finalizing any layoff procedures, departments are to contact HRS.

Eligibility

This layoff procedure applies to all civil service employees who are not covered by collective bargaining unit agreements.

An employee who is covered by a collective bargaining unit agreement is to refer to the applicable agreement for layoff rules and procedures.

Administration

WSU Pullman Human Resource Services (HRS) is responsible for overseeing and approving layoff processes at all WSU locations systemwide.

Process

Department Actions

The department is to contact HRS to discuss any proposed layoff.

Submit Position Action/PRR

To initiate a layoff, the appointing authority submits a signed Position Action/PRR form to HRS Position Control (see BPPM 58.02).

Specify the reason for the layoff, such as: lack of work, lack of funds, and/or for good faith reorganization for efficiency purposes. Include the effective date of the layoff.

Submit the Position Action/PRR form to HRS Position Control at least 30 days before the anticipated layoff date.

Verbally Inform Employee

The appointing authority or his/her designee is to verbally inform the employee of the layoff and the reason.

Human Resource Services Actions

An HRS representative provides the affected employee with information regarding the layoff process. HRS provides the employee with a written layoff notice signed by the appointing authority and layoff options in accordance with WAC 357-46-025.

Permanent Employees

A permanent employee must receive at least 15 calendar days written notice of layoff, unless the appointing authority and the employee agree to waive the 15 calendar day notice as defined in WAC 357-46-025. Within the 15 calendar days notice period, the employee is given no less than three working days in which to select a layoff option, if any, and/or select placement on layoff list(s) and/or an option in lieu of layoff.

HRS must furnish the written notice directly to the employee during his or her scheduled working hours, if possible. If the employee is not available for personal service, HRS must mail the written notice by certified letter to the employee’s last known address. If the notification is mailed, the employee is given no less than five working days in which to select a layoff option, if any, and/or select placement on the layoff list(s) and/or an option in lieu of layoff.

If the employee fails to return the layoff options forms to HRS within the prescribed time limits, such failure is automatically regarded as rejection of the options.

Probationary Employees

Probationary employees do not have layoff employment options. In accordance with WAC 357-46-185, probationary employees must receive a minimum of one calendar day written notice before being separated.

Project Employees

See BPPM 60.23 and the definition of project under Project Position below for more information regarding project appointments.

The department must notify HRS of the status and end date of each project. The conclusion of a project appointment may result in a layoff of a permanent employee. An employee laid off from a project position has layoff rights only within the specific project, unless the employee left a permanent position to accept the project appointment. See Permanent Status Prior to Project Appointment and Project Position below.

A project employee must receive at least 15 calendar days written notice of layoff, unless the appointing authority and the employee agree to waive the 15 calendar day notice as defined in WAC 357-46-025. After receiving notification from the department, HRS must provide notice to the project employee even if the project is ending on the specified date. Within the 15 calendar days notice period, the employee is given no less than three working days in which to select a layoff option, if any, and/or select placement on layoff list(s) and/or an option in lieu of layoff. Options provided to a project employee are limited to options within the specific project, unless the employee left a permanent position to accept the project appointment.

HRS must furnish the written notice directly to the employee during his or her scheduled working hours, if possible. If the employee is not available for personal delivery service, HRS must mail the written notice by certified letter to the employee’s last known address. If the notification is mailed, the employee is given no less than five working days in which to select a layoff option, if any, and/or select placement on the layoff list(s) and/or an option in lieu of layoff.

If the employee fails to return the layoff options forms to HRS within the prescribed time limits, such failure is automatically regarded as rejection of the options.

Permanent Status Prior to Project Appointment

When a permanent employee leaves a permanent position to accept a project appointment, the permanent employee is placed on the internal layoff list, in accordance with WAC 357-19-340.

An employee who held permanent status prior to accepting a project appointment without a break in service may request to return to his or her permanent position by providing 14 calendar days written notice of intent to return to the position he or she held immediately prior to accepting the project appointment. The employee submits the written request to the appointing authority of the permanent position the employee previously held and sends a copy to HRS. The appointing authority may grant or deny the request and provides written notice to the employee of his or her decision.

Layoff Options

The layoff process at Washington State University is based on employee seniority.

Layoff options are determined in accordance with WAC 357-46-035 and are offered within the layoff unit. See Layoff Units below for WSU layoff units.

Options within a layoff unit are offered in the following order:

Option 1

Within the layoff unit, a permanent employee scheduled for layoff must be offered the option to take a position, if available, for which the following criteria are met:

  • The position is allocated to a class in which the employee holds permanent status at the time of the layoff. See the definition of class under¬†Class Series below.

    If no position in the current class is available, the employee’s option is to a position at the same salary range in a class in which the employee has previously held permanent status.

    If no position at the same salary range is available, the employee must be given an opportunity to take a position in a lower class in a class series in which the employee has previously held permanent status. The employee is not required to have held permanent status in the lower class in order to be offered the option to take a position in the class. Lower class positions are examined for availability in descending salary order. See the definition of Class Series below.

  • The position is comparable to the employee’s current position as defined by the employer’s layoff procedure (see definitions under Comparable Position below).
  • The employee satisfies the competencies and other position requirements (see Competency and Position Requirements below).
  • The position is funded and vacant, or if no vacant funded position is available, the position is occupied by the employee with the least seniority (see Seniority below).
Option 2

If a permanent employee has no options under Option 1 above, the employee is offered the following option:

  • The employer must determine if there is an available position in the layoff unit to offer the employee in lieu of separation that meets all of the following criteria:
    • The position is at the same or lower salary range maximum as the position from which the employee is being laid off.
    • The position is vacant or is held by a probationary employee.
    • The position is comparable or less than comparable (see definition under Comparable Position¬†below).
    • The position is one for which the employee meets the competencies and other position requirements (see Competency and Position Requirements below).
  • If more than one qualifying position is available, the employee must be offered the position with the highest salary range maximum.
Transition Review Period

An employee appointed to a position through the layoff process may be required to serve a transition review period. (WAC 357-46-110)

Breaking Seniority Ties

Ties in seniority are broken in the following order:

  1. If the affected employees are located within the same layoff unit the assigned appointing authority determines, based on business necessity, which position is considered least senior.
  2. Employee with longest continuous time within his or her current classification will be considered most senior.
  3. By lot.

Layoff Lists

A laid-off employee is placed on internal University layoff lists in accordance with WAC 357-46-070. The employee is given layoff list rights to classes in which he or she held permanent status and lower classes in applicable series, excluding any prior state service before any break in service.

In addition, if the employee accepts a layoff option to a position that is located beyond a reasonable commuting distance, the employee is placed on the layoff list for the classification at the previous permanent work location from which she or he was laid off.

All laid off employees may be placed on the statewide layoff list in accordance with WAC 357-46-080.

Trial service employees who do not satisfactorily complete the trial service period have reversion rights in accordance with WAC 357-19-117. Such employees are eligible to be on the internal layoff lists in accordance with WAC 357-46-070.

An employee who unsuccessfully completes a transition review period may be reinstated on any eligible layoff lists in accordance with WAC 357-46-125.

An employee who left a permanent position prior to accepting a project appointment is placed on the internal layoff list and provided with options in accordance with this section (60.37), if applicable (see Permanent Status Prior to Project Appointment above).

Appeal Rights

All permanent employees have the right to appeal a layoff in accordance with WAC 357-52.

In accordance with WAC 357-52-225, employees must submit appeals in writing within 30 calendar days after the effective date of the action appealed to:

Personnel Resources Board
Raad Building, Third Floor
PO Box 40911
Olympia, WA 98504-0911
360-407-4101
Fax: 360-586-4694
fortress.wa.gov/dop/prb/forms.asp

Benefits and Retirement

Each employee should contact Human Resource Services (HRS) to determine the effects of layoff on State Employee’s Insurance and his or her retirement benefits (either Public Employee’s Retirement System or TIAA-CREF).

To view the HRS website for more information, go to:

hrs.wsu.edu

Unemployment Compensation

An employee separated from WSU through a layoff may qualify for unemployment compensation.

Contact the Employment Security Department for more information:

esd.wa.gov

Definitions

Comparable Position

A comparable position in the layoff unit for full-time, 12-month positions is 40 hours per week and 12 months per year within a 50 mile radius.

A comparable position for a part-time or less than 12-month position is an equivalent part-time position which is less than 40 hours per week or less than 12 months a year and within a 50-mile radius. For example, a 50 percent position can claim another 50 percent position; however, the employee may not claim a position that is greater than 50 percent.

Competency and Position Requirements

Competency and position requirements are documented criteria which may include licensing/certification requirements, position description, class specifications, skills/competencies listed on the recruitment announcement, bonafide occupation requirements, and additional documented competencies or requirements not reflected in the position description.

Class Series

A class series is a grouping of job functions having similar purpose and knowledge requirements.

Each class series is divided into several levels of work functions and responsibilities.

Project Position

A project position is a classified position created to serve a specific purpose and/or complete a defined project that is of a time-limited nature with an expected end date in accordance with WAC 357-19-305 (see also BPPM 60.23).

Seniority

Human Resource Services determines the employee’s seniority date based on the total length of qualifying service.

Layoff seniority is total days calculated from the employee’s continuous service date and adjusted as noted below. The continuous service date is the most recent hire date without a break in state service.

  • Days of service in an administrative professional, faculty, or other exempt position are deducted from seniority except as required by WAC 357-19-225.
  • Days of leave without pay (LWOP) are deducted from the employee’s seniority, except for military leave in accordance with WAC 357-31-370. LWOP days are determined based on appointment full-time equivalency (FTE).

Eligible veterans also receive seniority credit not to exceed five years in accordance with WAC 357-46-060. Veterans are required to supply copies of Department of Defense (DD) Form 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, to HRS.

Layoff Units

The WSU organization is divided into layoff units which are generally a college, a group of like administrative units, or a geographically-separated activity.

The WSU layoff units are designated as shown in the following table:

Layoff
Unit #
Unit Designation
1Departments, offices, and programs reporting to the President (unless otherwise designated below)
2Departments, offices, and programs reporting to the Provost (unless otherwise designated below)
3Departments, offices, and programs reporting to the Vice President for Finance and Administration
4Enrollment Management
5Departments, offices, and programs reporting to the Vice President for Information Technology Services
6Departments, offices, and programs reporting to University Advancement and External Affairs (area 39)
7College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences
8Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture
11College of Veterinary Medicine
12College of Education
13Carson College of Business
14College of Pharmacy
15College of Nursing
16Libraries
17Departments, offices, and programs reporting to the Vice President for Academic Outreach and Innovation
18Intercollegiate Athletics
19WSU Extension
20WSU Tri-Cities
21WSU Vancouver
22WSU Spokane
24Student Affairs
25College of Communication
26College of Arts and Sciences
27Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine
28Departments, offices, and programs reporting to the Vice President for Development and Chief Executive Officer of the WSU Foundation
29Departments, offices, and programs reporting to University Relations (area 28)
30Departments, offices, and programs reporting to the Office of Research (area 35
31WSU North Puget Sound at Everett (area 40)