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2013/2014 University of Minnesota Duluth
Voluntary Layoff, Voluntary Non-Renewal, and Voluntary Reductions in Appointment


University of Minnesota Duluth
Voluntary Options Q&A
(Retirement, Layoff/Non-Renewal, Leave of Absence, Reduction of Appointment Percent or Term, or Resignation)

Q1: What is the timeline for these options?

A: The timeline for these options are as follows:

 

November 8, 2013

Announcement of the options to employees

December 13, 2013

Interested employees should have a preliminary conversation with their supervisor to indicating their interest.  This indication of interest does not commit the employee or the University to a final decision. An employee who wishes to elect an option can submit paperwork anytime between December 13 and January 31.

January 31, 2014

Last day for employees to submit Voluntary Options Election Form to supervisor.  Voluntary options election period closed. Forms may be found at http://www.d.umn.edu/umdhr

February 14, 2014 

Anticipated date for supervisor to submit signed Voluntary Options Election Form, work plan write-up and financial impact statement to HR&EO and vice chancellor/Chancellor

February 28, 2014 

Final deadline to provide employee with decision regarding approval or disapproval. We anticipate that it should take approximately four weeks to process a request from the time of receipt. However, in some cases a decision cannot be made until all requests are received and the impact on the department and/or operational area is determined. 

March 28, 2014 – June 15, 2014 

Date range (based on a January 31, 2014 request) for employees’ requested last day of employment.  Date to be mutually agreed upon between the employee and the University. 

  • Civil Service/Labor Represented employees must be given 28 calendar days written advance notice prior to the approved last day of employment to elect the layoff severance.
  • P & A employees must have 60 days written advance notice to elect the nonrenewal benefit prior to the approved last day of employment. 

NOTE: The effective date may be before March 28, 2014 if the request is made prior to January 31, 2014. We anticipate that it should take approximately four weeks to process a request from the time of receipt. However, in some cases a decision cannot be made until all requests are received and the impact on the department and/or operational area is determined. All decisions will be made no later than February 28, 2014.


Q2: Will there be information sessions?

A: Yes, information sessions will be held for both employees and supervisors. The schedule is as follows:

Employee Sessions
            Tuesday, November 19, 2013- 3pm to 4pm in Rafters
            Wednesday, November 20, 2013 – 9am to 10am in Rafters
            Monday, November 25, 2013 – 10am to 11am in Rafters.
Supervisor Sessions
            Tuesday, November 19, 2013- 2pm to 3pm in Rafters
            Wednesday, November 20, 2013 – 10am to 11am in Rafters
            Monday, November 25, 2013 – 11am to 12pm in Rafters.

Q3: What voluntary options are being offered?

A: The following voluntary options are being offered:
1)  Voluntary Layoff or Voluntary Non-Renewal: You may submit a request to apply for a voluntary layoff or voluntary non-renewal to your supervisor.  Requests are not official until approved by the HR&EO Department and the Chancellor or the appropriate vice chancellor for each unit.
2)  Voluntary Reductions: You may apply for an appointment reduction.  Appointment reductions will be discussed on a case-by-case basis, depending on department work flow. Voluntary reduction may be on a permanent or temporary basis and subject to the approval of the HR&EO Department and the Chancellor or appropriate vice chancellor for each unit.
3)  Partial or Full Unpaid Leaves: You may apply for a partial or full unpaid leaves.  These may be approved subject to operational needs of the department such as staffing, workload, financial implications and the impact on students.

Q4: Who is eligible?

A: The options are being offered to P&A, Civil Service and labor represented groups. However, the offers and eligibility will differ by employee groups, according to University policy or the employee’s collective bargaining agreement.  Faculty and students are not included. Also excluded are: UMD Medical School faculty and staff; UMD Pharmacy program faculty and staff; Law Enforcement staff; Office of Internal Audit staff; Office of Environmental Health & Safety Office staff; or offices or departments paid through the Twin Cities.

Q5: How do I make a request?

A: Talk to your direct supervisor about what option you are interested in pursuing. We are asking that employees have an initial exploratory conversation with their supervisor by December 13, 2013.  This conversation does not commit the employee or the University to any agreement. When you are ready to make an official request, complete the Voluntary Departure Options Election Form and submit it to your supervisor no later than Friday, January 31, 2014.

Q6: What is the deadline for submitting a request election form?

A: The deadline for staff to submit a request to volunteer for an option on the election form is January 31, 2014.  However, we ask that employees who may be contemplating one of these options talk with their immediate supervisor by December 13, 2013 to express your interest.  The purpose of this deadline is to get an idea of who may be interested, and allows the supervisor time to develop a plan to handle the possibility of a staffing change; it does not commit the employee or the University to a decision.Official requests (by completing the Voluntary Departure Options Election Form) should be submitted as soon as possible once you have made a decision about the options.

NOTE: We anticipate that it should take approximately four weeks to process a request from the time of receipt. However, in some cases a decision cannot be made until all requests are received and the impact on the department and/or operational area is determined. All decisions will be made and communicated no later than February 28, 2014.

Q7: Who decides whether my request is approved?

A: Supervisors will consult with the dean/director and HR & EO on staff requests.  The final decision for all requests will be made by the Chancellor or vice chancellor, depending on the unit. An approval or denial of the request will be determined and employees notified no later than February 28, 2014.

Q8: As a supervisor, what is my role in the offering of voluntary options?

A: Responsibilities of supervisors include the following:

  • Communicate voluntary options to all staff; do not single out particular employees.

  • Upon receiving a request from an employee, be prepared to submit a brief work plan write-up, Business Plan Form, addressing how you plan to handle the reduced appointment and/or departure and the potential cost savings.  HR&EO will provide for you the potential cost savings. NOTE: Upon receipt of a Staff Voluntary Options Election Form, you begin to acquire the deans/director’s signature and recommendation and submit the signed form, the work plan write-up and financial impact statement to HR&EO and the vice chancellor/Chancellor.  The timeline to submit the forms to the vice chancellor/Chancellor will depend on the number of requests received and the impact on the department.  In some cases you will need to wait for all requests to be received as of January 31, 2014 before determining the impact. In these cases you should have the documents to the vice chancellor/Chancellor no later than February 14, 2014.  Other situations may allow you to submit the paperwork earlier.  Please talk with the dean/director regarding the appropriate time line for submitting the paperwork.  In either case all paperwork should be submitted no later than February 14, 2014.

  • Contact the HR&EO department to help you to determine the financial impact of the request.

  • Provide recommendation and sign your employee’s Voluntary Departure Options Election Form.

  • Acquire the recommendation and signature of your dean/director.

  • Submit your employee’s Voluntary Departure Options Election Form with the appropriate signatures—attaching your work plan write-up and financial impact statement, based on the timeline above to the HR & EO Department and Vice Chancellor/Chancellor.

  • Inform your employee of whether the request was approved or denied as soon as possible —but no later than Friday, Feb. 28, 2014.
 Q9: What factors will be considered when making a decision on my request?

A: The criteria are as follows:

1. Must comply with University policies
2. Civil Service /labor represented layoffs must meet the definition of a layoff.  P&A employees non- renewals must be consistent with the P&A non-renewal policy
3. All requests from eligible employees will be given full consideration
4. Applications will reviewed and approved or denied on a case-by-case basis

Considerations:

  • Whether work can be eliminated, absorbed or re-organized
  • How a request will impact the operational effectiveness of UMD
  • Financial impact of the reques
Q10: When will I hear about a request being approved or denied?

A: We anticipate that it should take approximately four weeks to process a request from the time of receipt. However, in some cases a decision cannot be made until all requests are received and the impact on the department and/or operational area is determined. All decisions will be made no later than February 28, 2014.

Q11: If my request is turned down, what are my options? Will there be an appeal process?

A: You may still voluntarily resign (or retire, if eligible) from your position if your request is turned down; however, that does not make you eligible for the severance or nonrenewal benefit plan(s).  We will not create a formal appeal process, but ask that you bring your concerns to your supervisor or the HR & EO Director for discussion.   If you believe there was a violation of University policies, or respective employee rules or contracts, please consult with a representative in the UMD Human Resources and Equal Opportunity department at 218-726-7161.

Q12: What if too many people volunteer?  How will you make a decision about who is approved?

A: Decisions will be made using the criteria and considerations outlined above.

Q13: When do I have to leave?

A: Staff would leave their positions by a mutually agreed upon date between the employee and the University, but no later than June 15, 2014.  Appointment reductions will be discussed on a case-by-case basis, depending on department work flow.

Q14: What will happen to the work of the people who leave or reduce their appointment?

A: Some of the work will be done differently, and some of it will go away.  As part of this process we will explore operational efficiencies and alignment with the priorities of UMD. We will look for everyone’s input through that process.  

Q15: If I want to take an unpaid leave, how long can I be gone? What is the impact on my health benefits?

A: Due to variations across departments, decisions about leaves will be made on a case-by-case basis. There are several factors taken into consideration when determining health benefits and retirement benefits.  You should contact Employee Benefits at (612-624-8647) or (800-756-2363) to discuss the impact on your benefits.

Q16: What happens to my vacation earnings if I leave the University?

A: This depends on the employee group and the governing contract and rules.  Vacation will be either paid out or transferred to a Health Care Savings Plan.

Q17: If I want to take a partial leave, how long can I have this arrangement?

A: Due to variations across departments, decisions about leaves will be made on a case-by-case basis. There are several factors taken into consideration when determining health benefits and retirement benefits.  You should contact Employee Benefits at (612-624-8647) or (800-756-2363) to discuss the impact on your benefits.

Q18: If I had a break in service, how will my staff severance payout package be determined?

A: It is important to meet with an employee benefits counselor to go through your particular employment history.  Usually, for the purpose of determining the number of weeks to payout in the severance package, time will only be counted back to the most recent eligible date of hire.

Q19: If I reduce my appointment now, but then receive a layoff or non-renewal notice, how will my severance payout be determined?

A: Severance payout will be calculated on the percent time of appointment when you elect the program.  For example:  you are a 100% time employee and you volunteer to reduce your appointment to 80%.  If at a later time you receive a layoff notice and you elect the severance program.  The payout will be the number of weeks multiplied by the 80% appointment, not the 100% appointment.

Q20: Can I be non-renewed or laid off and also retire?

A: Eligibility for retirement varies by employee group and personal circumstances.  You should contact Employee Benefits at (612-624-8647) or (800-756-2363) to discuss your eligibility. If you are eligible to retire, you may still do so if your contract is non-renewed or you are laid off.

Q21: If you don’t get enough volunteers, will you cut jobs?

A: The possibility exists that involuntary layoffs could occur.  We are looking at ways to boost revenue as well as control costs.  Multiple factors are in play that will affect the budget going forward, and if our current approach needs to be modified, we will make any changes consistent with the needs of UMD.  Any involuntary layoffs will be handled in accordance with University policy and/or the collective bargaining agreements.

Q22: Will this be offered every year going forward?

A: It costs a considerable amount of money to pay employees severance. UMD has determined that this type of one-time expense makes sense within the overall budget situation because it will allow us to cut expenses and better align with our mission. This is the only time UMD has made this type of offering on a campus wide basis.  At this time we are not anticipating future offerings for voluntary options such as this. The University also does not plan to offer a retirement incentive in the foreseeable future.

Q23: Will there be additional forms I will need to sign?

A: Yes, there is a standard packet of forms that you will need to sign based on your collective bargaining agreement and/or your assigned employee group such as civil service or P&A.

Q24: Will I be permitted to use vacation during the period between being notified that my request has been approved and my departure date?

A: Yes, all requests for vacation will be handled in accordance with University policy and/or collective bargaining agreements.

Q25: If my request is approved, can I use accrued vacation to depart earlier than the mutually agreed upon departure date?

A: No. Employees will not be allowed to use vacation to depart from UMD earlier than the mutually agreed upon departure date.  All employees must be at work on the last official day of work.

Q26: I still have questions. What should I do?

A: If you still have questions, you can talk with your direct supervisor, or contact the HR&EO department at 218-726-7161. An updated Q & A will be posted on the HR&EO website at http://www.d.umn.edu/umdhr  as additional questions come forward that need to be addressed.

These questions added on 11/20/13

Q27. What is the tax rate for the severance pay and vacation payout?

A: 25% federal 6.25% state 7.65% Social Security/Medicare. = total 38.9%

There are some higher rates if the person has more than 200K in Medicare earnings; the additional Medicare is .9%.  Also, if an employee has in excess of $1 million in supplemental earnings, the excess is subject to 39.6% withholding instead of 25%.  I'm guessing that no one receiving the layoff severance has made more than $200K (if so the total percentage of tax goes up to  39.8%).  And I can speak with confidence that no one has made more than $1 million in supplemental earnings.

Also see http://www1.umn.edu/ohr/pay/taxes/federal/

http://www1.umn.edu/ohr/payroll/tax/supplemental/index.html

Q28: If an employee had a civil service appointment before the P&A appointment, do those years under civil service appointment count towards the years of service in determining the severance pay?

In the P and A Nonrenewal benefit policy the definition section indicates CS employment will count as long as the service is continuous per the definition below, and meets the definitions of eligibility per below.   http://www.policy.umn.edu/Policies/hr/Departure/NONRENEWALPROGRAM.html

Continuous Service

Service commencing on the employee’s most recent date of hire with the University in an appointment of 75 percent or greater and an appointment term of nine months or longer, and ending on the employee’s last day of employment. Continuous service may include periods of approved leaves of absence, disability, or part-time service. If, during any year, the employee (with an appointment percentage of 75 percent or greater and an appointment term of 9 months or longer) worked less than 1,560 hours, that year would not be credited, unless the employee was on an approved leave of absence or disability leave. That year or years would bridge periods of continuous service.

If an employee changes appointments between one employee category and another (e.g., civil service to P&A), the service will be considered continuous as long as there is no break longer than two pay periods.

Year of Service

One full year of service is credited for each anniversary from the employee’s most recent hire date through the last day of employment. A Year of Service will only include years in which the employee held an appointment percentage of 75 percent or greater and an appointment term of nine months or longer, worked at least 1,560 hours in the year, or was on an approved leave of absence or disability leave.

Q29: Can I transfer my severance pay to Optional Retirement?

A. No, per IRS regulation, it has to be paid in lump sum.

These questions added on 11/22/13

Q30: What is the difference between someone leaving on a voluntary layoff than leaving on a retirement?

A. Someone can elect to be laid off and start their MSRS retirement at the same time - so both are actually happening.

Q31: If someone goes on voluntary layoff, can they come back to work on a part-time basis? If that is possible, when is the earliest they can work?

If someone takes the severance program - they cannot come back to work in any capacity for the number of weeks they have been paid out in the lump sum payment.  Once the number of weeks have passed, they can come back to University employment in any capacity if they have not started to draw on their retirement annuities.  If they have started collecting their retirement annuity, then they cannot be employed in a position of more than 49% or exceed 19.5 hours per week.


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The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer.
Last modified on 06/05/14 09:34 AM
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