3.59 / Reduction in Force

  1. Initiating Authority

    Human Resources

  2. Purpose

    The purpose of this policy is to establish a fair process to ensure consistency and accountability for position eliminations, while maintaining respect of those impacted.

  3. Policy Statement

    Wichita State University (University) strives to provide a stable and secure environment in which to work. Under certain circumstances, it may be necessary to eliminate position(s) due to changing priorities or business needs.

  4. Definitions

    For the purpose of this policy only, the following definitions shall apply:

    • Displaced Employee: An Employee whose position has been eliminated by a Reduction in Force (RIF). 

    • Employee: For the purposes of this policy, an individual who provides services to the University on a regular basis in exchange for compensation and receives a W-2 for such services. This does not include Employees in a Contingent status, or in a Temporary position, as defined in the WSU Policies and Procedures.

    • Leadership: Leadership includes individuals at the University who have Employees reporting directly to them, or Department Chairs/Directors.

    • Notice Period: The time period beginning on the date the Displaced Employee is officially informed of the Position Elimination through the Separation Date.

    • Position Consolidation: Combination of two or more positions with substantially similar roles and responsibilities into one position.

    • Position Elimination:  A permanent reduction of may be necessary to eliminate position(s) due to organizational Restructuring, Departmental, Program, or Position Consolidation, or discontinuation of a service, program, or function.

    • Reduction in Force (RIF): A separation from employment for situations such as lack of funds, financial exigency as defined by Kansas Board of Regents (KBOR), lack of work, program discontinuance, 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. A RIF may be necessary or appropriate when there is a redesign or elimination of work, redundancy in roles, or excess capacity within a work group or across work groups, such that it would be economically feasible and responsible to reduce the number of position(s) in a unit or department.

    • Separation Date: The last day of the Notice Period, or the last day worked if a Displaced Employee resigns or is involuntarily separated from employment prior to the end of the Notice Period.

    • Separation Pay: The hourly pay and benefits a Displaced Employee receives. This calculation equals hourly base rate of pay at the time of elimination multiplied by authorized hours per pay period. Additional compensation and/or stipends may be factored into the separation pay.

    • Transition Pay: Occurs when a Displaced Employee has secured a position at the University, prior to the end of the Notice Period, in which the rate of pay is less than the Separation Pay. Transition Pay is an amount equal to the difference between the rate of pay in the new position and Separation Pay.

  5. Administrative Procedure

    1. Assessment and Position Selection

      1. Leadership completes an analysis of the business needs, submits to their direct leader and will progress through divisional leadership for approval.

      2. Leadership analyzes the job functions that the work unit needs going forward, and the position(s) that will be retained and eliminated. This is based solely on the job functions of positions and the business needs of the work unit. A Reduction in Force Memo must be completed to provide justification for the RIF.

      3. When there are multiple incumbents in a position that has been selected for elimination, an evaluation of the skills and qualifications of each Employee must be completed by the respective Leadership. In this multiple incumbent situation, a Candidate Profile Worksheet (CPW) must be completed for each incumbent.

      4. Before any Employee notification, a Reduction in Force Memo and plan must be approved by divisional Leadership and Human Resources.

      5. Human Resources assists in preparing the written notice for the Displaced Employee and determines any Separation Pay.

    2. Employee Notification

      1. Employees are given 60 calendar days' notice that their position is being eliminated.

      2. In some situations, it is in the best interests of the Displaced Employee or the department that the Notice Period be non-working. This decision is made in consultation with Human Resources.

      3. The Displaced Employee is informed, during notification, whether the Notice Period is working or non-working (or some of both). For a non-working Notice Period, the Displaced Employee is placed on a paid leave. Displaced Employees are paid regular hours and applicable additional compensation and/or stipends for the Notice Period, regardless of whether it is working or non-working.

      4. When the Displaced Employee is notified, the Leader meets with the Displaced Employee in-person and provides the Displaced Employee with written notification regarding the Position Elimination and the Separation Date.

    3. Non-reappointment Pay, Separation Pay & Separation Agreement

      1. Displaced University Professionals (UP) receive pay based on applicable appointment notice provisions. Displaced University Support Staff (USS) receive a minimum of two weeks of Separation Pay.

      2. A Separation Agreement may be offered to the Displaced Employee at the time of notification. Separation Pay is paid, only if the Displaced Employee signs and returns the Separation Agreement during the allowable time. The signed Separation Agreement is returned to Human Resources.

      3. Separation Pay is not paid if the Displaced Employee separates employment prior to the end of the Notice Period. 

      4. If an Employee accepts an offer of employment at the University prior to the end of the Notice Period in which the rate of pay is less than Separation Pay per pay period, the Employee will receive Transition Pay for the remainder of the Notice Period in an amount equal to the difference between the rate of pay in the new position and Separation Pay. Neither the employee nor Leadership may delay the start date in a transfer or rehire event in order to extend the receipt of Separation Pay.

      5. If the Displaced Employee starts employment in a different position during the Notice Period in which the rate of pay is equal to or greater than the current position, the remaining Separation Pay is discontinued on the transfer or rehire date.

      6. Displaced Employees will have the option of being reinstated into their former position if the position is restored within twelve (12) months and they are otherwise eligible to be reinstated.