In this section

SEPARATION AND SEVERANCE

About This Policy

Responsible Officer
Vice President of Business & Operations

Policy Owner
Director of Human Resources

Policy Contact
Jan Serumgard

Issued
2021-02-25

Policy Statement


North Central University values the contribution that employees make to the successful operation of the university and expects a productive and mutually satisfactory employment relationship with each employee. However, it is understood that neither the employee nor the university is obligated to continue the employment relationship and either may terminate the relationship at any time. Employee separations are either voluntary or involuntary.

Types of employment separation:

  • Voluntary separation—includes resignation and retirement.
  • Involuntary separation—includes termination, reduction-in-force, or separations for non-corrective reasons

Employees who are involuntarily separated from employment are entitled to receive the reasons in writing.

All written notices of involuntary separation must be created by the Office of Human Resources office before distribution to the employee.

The employee must return all university property (keys, laptops, cell phones, tools, records, books, etc.) to their supervisor and/or department.

Reasons for separation
When an employee voluntarily or involuntarily separates from the university the department, in consultation with the Office of Human Resource, must determine the correct termination/separation reason. The reason for separation determines the employee’s eligibility for reemployment.

There are three types of eligibility for reemployment.

  1. Eligible for reemployment – the employee is eligible to be rehired at any time.
  2. Not eligible for reemployment – the employee may not be rehired under any circumstances.
  3. Conditional reemployment – the employee may be rehired subject to the Human Resources office review of the circumstances.

A reason for separation that results in a conditional or not eligible for reemployment must be supported by documentation with an explanation for the separation. Not eligible for reemployment always requires written documentation, such as a termination letter.

Voluntary separation—resignation
An employee may decide to end their employment with the University at any time by notifying their department. A written resignation is required, stating the reason for resignation and last day of work. Employees are encouraged to give advance notice of at least two weeks when separating from university employment, including retirement.

Employees are expected to work through their resignation period including their last day on the job. Employees cannot use vacation or discretionary time to extend the period of appointment beyond the last day of work.

Departments may waive the last day work requirement if employee fails to return to work following a Leave of Absence, Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), sick leave, paid leave, or injury on the job.

Employees may be removed from the workplace during their resignation notice period, and required to take accrued vacation or discretionary time. Such removal requires prior approval from the Office of Human Resources.

Voluntary separation—retirement
A written resignation or retirement notice is required, stating the reason for resignation and last day of work.

Involuntary separation—termination as the result of corrective action
A staff employee may be removed from work or suspended with or without pay pending a termination decision in accordance with a corrective action. In such cases, the Office of Human Resources must be consulted prior to this action being taken.

A staff employee may be required to take accrued time off, or compensatory time off) or time off without pay when the employee is provided notice of termination from the university or when the employee is removed from the workplace pending termination.

  1. For temporary employees, no notice of corrective action is required, however, it is encouraged. Should the employee be removed from work pending the action, it is without pay.
  2. Once the applicable steps have been followed and a decision is reached to terminate the employee as a result of corrective action, a further notice period is not required.

Involuntary Separation—non-corrective action

  1. Involuntary separations for non-corrective action reasons include:
  2. Can no longer meet the qualifications and/or perform the essential functions of the position.
  3. No reasonable accommodation can be found under the Americans with Disabilities Act and its Amendments.
  4. An employee has exhausted all leave options or is ineligible for additional leave; and unable to return to work.
  5. Loss of position because of a change or reduction-in-force.
  6. Other circumstances not covered in involuntary separation as a result of corrective action (termination).

No notice period is required when the university separates an employee for non-corrective action reasons.

Departments are encouraged to give an advance notice of at least two weeks when circumstances permit for all non-corrective action separations.

During the notice period, employees may:

  1. Be reassigned.
  2. Request use of accrued time off—per requirements of Minneapolis Sick and Safe time.
  3. Be required to use accrued time off or time off without pay during the notice period if:
    1. Such action is necessary to address a legitimate job-related work or behavior issue that may arise.
    2. Is approved by the Office of Human Resources.

An employee who has been returned to work under the provisions of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) may not be separated from employment except for cause for 180 days after his or her date of reemployment if the most recent period of uniformed service was less than 181 days or for one year after the date of reemployment if the most recent period of uniformed services was more than 180 days.

Change or reduction in force
Decisions to change or eliminate a position due to budgetary constraints, lack of work, reorganization and similar reasons should be made by the department head, dean and/or department/program chair, and reviewed by the Office of Human Resources. Details should be provided to Human Resources and the information will be carefully reviewed by human resources and university administration. Appropriate time should be allowed for such review. Possible alternatives to job elimination should also be discussed.

Decision criteria
Often, layoff decisions are based on a business rationale that there is no longer a need for a specific job or skill. At other times, the decision to layoff or reduce hours may be more complex. For example, this may occur when there are several employees performing similar or related work. In these cases, department heads, deans and/or department/program chairs should carefully consider individual performance, the skills an individual possesses and the importance of retaining these skills to the department when making layoff selections. Once the reduction-in-force template is reviewed and approved, human resources will notify the department.

Declining an alternative position and reduction in hours
Employees may be offered an alternative position or a position with reduced hours, if available. An employee who is offered and declines an alternative or changed position for which the employee is qualified, with hours and pay reasonably similar to their previous position, generally will still receive severance.

Notice period
Employees will receive a notice period of their separation.  Managers will determine if an employee should continue to work during the notice period, or be paid in lieu of notice or receive a combination of working notice and pay in lieu of notice.

Separation date
An employee’s separation date will be the last day of the notice period as stated in the employee’s separation agreement.

Severance
The university will provide severance benefits as stated in this policy to full-time and permanent part time staff employees, other than teaching faculty, of the university who are involuntarily separated from employment because of the elimination or restructuring of their position. Employees who resign or are terminated are not entitled to severance benefits under this policy. The university will attempt to provide reasonable notice under the circumstances. Administrative and non-union staff employees who are funded by federal, state, private, or agency grants and contracts are not eligible for the severance program. In order to receive any severance benefits, the separated employee must sign an appropriate release. Severance pay is calculated on base pay only.

An employee who is separated from the university will be paid through the last day actually worked and will receive payment for accrued, but unused vacation in accordance with university policy. Discretionary or any other type of accrued leave is not eligible to be paid out.

Separation allowances will be paid in a lump sum on the first payroll after the University receives the separation agreement signed by the employee. All payments are subject to normal tax and other withholdings.

Severance pay funding
The department funds severance pay and payment of any accrued, unused vacation. Departments should plan any job eliminations or reductions in anticipation of these expenses.

Reemployment during severance pay period
If employees are reemployed at the university in any capacity during the severance pay period, they will not be eligible for a severance.

Effect on benefits
The university will continue its contributions to health and dental insurance until the last day of the month in which the employee’s last day of work occurs. Health and dental insurance may be temporarily continued, in accordance with Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) regulations

If enrolled, both the employee’s contributions and the university’s contributions toward retirement cease on the separation date (end of notice period), as do deductions for flexible spending accounts. Other benefits, such as life insurance, cease at the end of month in which the date of separation occurs. Long-term disability insurance coverage will end on the last day of the month in which the separation occurs or the employee becomes ineligible due to a change in employment status. Information will be provided at the time of separation.

If participating, employee education benefits will end on the last day of the semester.

At the end of the notice period, and consistent with the university’s vacation carryover policy, employees will receive payment for any accrued, unused vacation.

Unemployment compensation
Employees whose jobs are eliminated in accordance with this policy may apply for Unemployment Benefits with the Minnesota Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA). The University will accurately report the reason for the separation and will not contest these claims; however, eligibility is determined by the DUA, not by the university.

Tuition remission
A separated employee and/or his/her eligible dependents who were enrolled as students at the university at the time the employee is separated may continue to receive tuition remission benefits until the end of the current semester.

Rehire
An employee who is rehired by the university and is later separated under this policy will be entitled to severance based on the date of rehire, not the date of original employment.

Disclaimer
This policy does not create a contract of employment or alter the at-will employment relationship between the university and its employees. Nothing contained in this policy shall limit the right of either the university or the employee to terminate the employment relationship at any time, with or without cause.

Responsibility for the interpretation and administration of this policy resides solely with the Department of Human Resources. The university reserves the right to amend or discontinue this policy at any time.

Separation counseling
The Office of Human Resources will prepare a personal statement detailing the amount of your severance payment including any accumulated vacation and other paid time to which you may be entitled. The Office of Human Resources will explain the options available to you for continued health and dental benefits, and will provide details concerning the continuation or conversion of any other benefit in which you are currently participating

Reason For Policy


The university provides a severance program combining severance pay and benefits to provide economic support for eligible administrators and staff whose positions are eliminated or restructured. The severance program is designed to provide financial support during a period of employment transition.

Policy Scope


This policy applies to exempt and nonexempt full-time and permanent part-time staff employees.

Senior management employees are covered under a separate policy. Faculty, administrative faculty, and deans are covered under separate policies or specific contracts.

Forms


  • There are no forms associated with policy.

Appendices


  • There are no appendices associated with policy.

Additional Contacts


SubjectPolicy ContactPhoneEmail
Policy Clarification and
Interpretation
Director of Human Resources612.343.4442hr@northcentral.edu

Definitions


Lay off/reduction in force
A separation is the involuntary cessation of an individual’s employment effected by the University due to the elimination of that individual’s position or duties, for reasons such as, but not limited to, lack of work, organizational change or a reduction in force.

Resignation
A resignation is the voluntary cessation of an individual’s employment effected by the individual. An administrative employee (holds a position of Director or higher) who intends to resign is asked give a minimum of thirty (30) days notice to his/her immediate supervisor and the Director of Human Resources. All other staff employees who intend to resign are asked to give a minimum of fourteen (14) days notice to his/her immediate supervisor and the Director of Human Resources. A resignation must be in writing.

Separation
An overarching term that refers to an employee leaving (voluntarily or involuntarily) the organization.

Severance
Severance is compensation that may be provided to an employee who is laid off, fired, or leaves by mutual agreement

Termination
A termination is the involuntary cessation of an individual’s employment effected by the university for cause, as defined by the university, or without cause, at the discretion of the university. Cause may be defined as, but is not limited to, unsatisfactory performance, conduct detrimental to the university or its employees or otherwise inconsistent with the university’s mission. Individuals terminated for cause may not be reemployed by the university.

Responsibilities


Employees

  • Read, understand, and comply with this policy.

Office of Human Resources

  • Enforce this policy.
  • Work with employees and departments to process employee separations.

Department heads/senior leaders

  • The Department Head/Senior Leaders with responsibility for the Department and employee affected by a separation will make the final decisions on position elimination in consultation with University Human Resources.
  • The Department Head/Senior Officer must prepare a written rationale for position elimination.

Departments should initiate the separation process in with the Office Human Resources and submit a copy of the separation letter as soon as the employee has been informed that the position has been eliminated or funding for the position has ended.

RELATED INFORMATION


Related Policies & Procedures

History


Issued
2021-02-25