University of South Alabama Logo     
Policy No: 2046
Responsible Office: Human Resources
Last Review Date: 11/11/2022
Next Required Review: 11/11/2027
Policy No: 2046
Responsible Office: Human Resources
Last Review Date: 11/11/2022
Next Required Review: 11/11/2027

Layoff and Recall

1. Purpose

The Layoff and Recall Policy ensures best practices are in place in administering staff layoffs and recalls.

2. Applicability

The Layoff and Recall Policy applies to employees of all University Divisions, including USA Health.

3. Definitions

Externally Funded Position:  A position funded externally by sources other than a grant or contract, with a defined project scope and timeline.

FTE (Full-Time Equivalent):  The percentage of a full-time position routinely worked.

Grant/Contract Funded Position:  A position that is funded by a grant or contract.

Layoff:  A separation of employment due, but not limited to, the abolishment of a position or positions necessitated by a shortage of funds, lack of work or a material change in the duties of the position, or an organizational change in a department or division.

Probationary Employee:  A staff employee who has not completed a probationary period, normally defined as the first six months of employment, but may be longer.

Recall:  The action of staff employee returning to work in the same position within one year of being laid off.

Regular Employee:  An employee in a budgeted position.

Seniority Date:  The most recent date of hire as an employee without a break in service. Student employment is not applicable in determining seniority date.

Staff Employee:  An employee in a non-faculty and non-executive/administrative/managerial type position.

Temporary Employee:  An employee in a non-budgeted position.

4. Policy Guidelines

Departments anticipating a layoff must consult with Human Resources prior to any communication with affected employee(s). A layoff will not be implemented without advance written approval from the Division Head and Human Resources.

Employees hired on or after September 10, 2004, in grant or contract funded positions, are excluded from the Layoff and Recall policy, as funding for such positions cannot be guaranteed beyond the grant or contract end date. Effective August 1, 2008, this exclusion includes other externally funded positions with a defined project scope and timeline. Externally funded positions must be verified by the Business Office to ensure funding type.

When a layoff is anticipated, the department will determine work and staffing needs and provide written justification to their Division Head. The criteria for determining employees affected by a layoff is based on the analysis of business needs and any new organizational structure.

4.1  Steps to Determine Staff to be Laid Off

4.1.1  All decisions will be made on the basis of departmental needs. A reduction in force is defined as a separation from employment due to lack of or elimination of funds, lack of work, redesign or elimination of position(s) or reorganization, with no likelihood or expectation that the employee will be recalled because the position itself is eliminated.

4.1.2  In no instance should the layoff process be utilized as a means of resolving unsatisfactory performance. (Note: This does not mean that performance cannot be considered in the layoff process. See Section 4.1.4 below.)

4.1.3  When a reduction in staff is necessary within a job classification or function within a department, employees will be laid off in the following order:

      • Temporary Employees;
      • Probationary Employees;
      • Regular Employees.

4.1.4  Following an analysis of the business needs of a department, the following steps should be used to identify the positions that will be eliminated.  Analysis of the job functions that the department needs going forward and the positions that will be retained and eliminated. This step is based solely on the job functions of positions and the business needs of the unit or department.  Evaluation of the skills and qualifications of individual employees, but only when there are multiple incumbents in a classification that has been selected for elimination.

In this multiple incumbent situation, one or more of the following factors may be considered in the assessment:

Skills and competencies - includes, but not limited to, the employees’ skills and competencies in the areas of analysis, effectiveness, execution, innovativeness, technical proficiency and business knowledge.

Performance - determined through examination of performance evaluations and any performance-related documentation of record since the last performance evaluation.

Seniority - determined with reference to University employment among employees in the same classification within the same department affected by the layoff. Review of seniority is to the extent that employees are otherwise equal in skills, competencies, and performance. Seniority is based on the employee’s most recent date of hire. Department, for layoff purposes, is defined as a budgetary unit with a unique organizational (ORGN) number.

Human Resources will assist in the review process, evaluate performance criteria, and verify seniority.  Human Resources will review management decisions regarding identified employees for compliance with all University policies. Employees will receive a minimum ten (10) business day written notification, prepared by Human Resources, for distribution by each employee’s supervisor.

4.2  Separation or Department Transfer Requirements

Employees and supervisors are responsible for following notification processes in a timely manner to initiate the termination or modification of access to various systems.

University employees who are laid off, or who transfer to another department due to a pending layoff, must complete the Employment Separation/Department Transfer Checklist for Employees Form.

In addition, supervisors are required to complete the Employment Separation/Department Transfer Checklist for Supervisors Form.

4.3  Recall

If an employee is laid off and has completed the six-month probationary period, the employee will be eligible for recall from a roster maintained by Human Resources, which identifies the last employee laid off as the first employee to be recalled. A laid off employee will be recalled only if a vacancy exists in the same department, the same FTE and the same classification within 6 months from the date of layoff. Employees who accept a recall must report to work within the time period specified by the department or they will be taken off the recall roster and no longer be eligible for recall. Employees who are recalled will have any accrued, but unpaid employee benefits restored to them. Employees who are recalled do not have to serve another probationary period.

Employees who have been laid off and wish to be considered for positions in other departments within the University, must apply for open positions. Acceptance of a position in another department will waive the employee’s right to be recalled to the employee’s prior position.

4.4  Probationary Period

Staff employees who transfer to another department will be required to complete a three-month probationary period. Employees who are laid off and rehired will be required to complete a six-month probationary period. A new probationary period does not apply to laid off employees who are recalled.

4.5  Filing for Unemployment

A laid off employee may file for unemployment insurance benefits with the Alabama Department of Labor. For information call 1-866-361-4524 or visit Eligibility for unemployment insurance benefits will be determined by the Alabama Department of Labor.

5. Procedures

Not Applicable.

6. Enforcement

Staff layoffs and recalls are processed through Human Resources to ensure policy and procedure compliance.

7. Related Documents

7.1  Employment Separation/Department Transfer Checklist for Employees Form
7.2  Employment Separation/Department Transfer Checklist for Supervisors Form
7.3  Staff Employee Handbook