Policy no. II-17
Effective Date: 01/01/2008
Scope: Full-time and part-time staff
Exclusions: Faculty, Term and Temporary employees
"Inactive status" refers to the twelve month period following an employee lay off during which time the employee is available for interviews and to return to work.
"COBRA" refers to the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1986 which requires that most employers offer employees and their families a temporary extension of health coverage in certain instances where their coverage would otherwise end.
"Lay off" refers to the necessity of eliminating filled position(s) due to changes out of the employee's control such as lack of funding, lack of work, or reorganization.
Reorganization is the restructuring of a department or distinct unit within a department that may result in the layoff of an employee(s). Restructuring may also constitute reorganization should an employee’s reporting level and or salary grade be reduced even if a layoff does not occur. A layoff (or reduction in force) refers to the necessity of elimination of a position(s) due to changes out of the employee’s control such as lack of funding, lack of work, or reorganization. In addition, if a department wishes to make a permanent reduction in hours for a full-time position, the department has two options: reduce the employee’s hours or lay off the employee. The university will attempt to provide at least two weeks’ notice of layoff. Term employees are not eligible for layoff status or severance pay.
Any request to reorganize or lay off an employee or group of employees must be approved by Employee Relations and the Office of General Counsel. Refer to reorganization procedures (II-17a) for details of the reorganization/layoff process.
Benefits for Laid-Off Employees
After one complete year of continuous service, any regular staff employee who worked half-time or more and is laid off by the university due to lack of funding, lack of work or reorganization may be eligible to receive severance pay. Term employees are not eligible for layoff status or severance pay.
If an employee is eligible to receive severance pay, the calculation of the severance pay will be based on the most recent hire date and is based on the number of years of continuous service. If an employee is eligible for severance pay, severance may be paid to staff employees who have not obtained other employment or comparable employment outside the university by the end of the pay period following the date of layoff. If severance applies, the severance pay will normally be included in the final check. In order for an employee to receive severance pay, the employee must complete the required paperwork which will include signing a release of claims. If an employee is eligible for severance pay, the amount of severance to be provided will be determined individually but will generally be one week base pay for each complete year of continuous employment, up to a total of ten weeks’ base pay. Laid-off employees with one complete year of continuous service should discuss their eligibility for severance pay and the requirements to receive severance pay with the Office of Employee Relations. If an employee is recalled during the severance period and after having received severance, the employee must waive or return the pro-rated severance in order to return to Case Western Reserve University payroll.
Staff currently enrolled in the university health and/or dental plans coverage will continue to receive benefits until the end of the month in which he/she is laid off. Staff may elect to continue coverage for 18 months through COBRA.
Retirement Plan B
If a laid-off employee worked for a period of 5 years or more as a Category II or III employee, he/she is entitled to a Deferred Vested Pension payable at age 65. Staff who are 55 or older and worked at least 15 years have the option of taking “early” retirement with a reduced pension.
Supplemental Retirement Annuity – Plan C (SRA)
Staff employees may withdraw their contributions from their SRA Tax-Deferred Plan now or anytime in the future; however, in addition to being subject to the federal tax there is also a 10 percent tax imposed on early withdrawals (those withdrawals made before age 59½). A minimal withdrawal of these funds must be made before age 70½ and each year thereafter.
Group Life Insurance
The Group Life Insurance Plan will continue to the end of the month in which the staff member is laid-off. The policy can be converted to an individual life insurance policy.
If the laid-off employee, their spouse, or eligible dependents are currently enrolled in classes at the university and receive tuition waiver, the waiver will continue to be effective until the end of the semester as long as he/she has worked through October 15th for fall semester, March 15th for spring semester or July 15th for summer semester.
Employees who are laid off will be eligible for re-employment consideration within 12 months from the effective date of the layoff. Laid-off employees who apply for open positions within Case Western Reserve University within the 12-month period shall be treated as preferred internal applicants if they meet the minimum position qualifications and are not in positive corrective action. Human Resources will assign an employment specialist to each laid off employee. Hiring managers must interview preferred internal applicants. However, preferred internal applicant status does not guarantee employment. Staff employees who are laid off or expecting to be laid off will be considered to have voluntarily terminated their position if they decline an offer of employment or fail to cooperate with the Department of Human Resources in efforts to secure a position that would pay 80% or more of their former annual salary. Should employees subsequently be reemployed by the university after the 12-month period, he/she may be eligible for reinstatement of service for pension plan purposes, in accordance with the requirements of the pension plans.
Vacation & Sick Time
Employees who are laid-off will be compensated for the balance of their unused vacation. Employees will continue to accrue service for benefits-related purposes and will retain their sick balance during the 12-month period.
Reference: Reorganization Procedure II-17a.