Position Elimination and Layoff

Position Elimination

Brown University accomplishes its mission of academic excellence through effective utilization of a knowledgeable and responsible stable work force. Under certain circumstances, however, it may be necessary to eliminate a position.

Position Elimination Process

The Department Head recommends elimination of a position to the Senior Officer based on the following criteria (in usual order of preference):

  1. Position is currently vacant and is not critical to meeting department objectives.
  2. Position is filled by an employee in a probationary status.
  3. Position is filled, but the work is no longer critical to meeting department objectives.
  4. Position is filled, but the funding source ends.
  5. Position is filled, but the work can be effectively redistributed to others in the department.

The Department Head and/or senior officer should discuss the proposed position elimination with the Director of Employee Relations, Director of Employment, Director of BioMed HR, or an HR Generalist. Final decisions on position elimination are made by the senior officer in consultation with  the University Human Resources Department and the Director of EEO/AA.


Alternative Employment

Human Resources will make reasonable efforts to assist those whose positions are eliminated in finding suitable alternative employment within the University.

It is expected that employees whose positions on the regular payroll have been eliminated will accept a comparable position at the same salary, if offered to them. If no such position is available, they are entitled to severance pay according to the schedule on page three of this policy.

The Employment section of Human Resources is available to assist Brown staff employees with career, job search and re-deployment efforts within the Brown community.

Fixed Duration Positions and Term Appointments

An employee who has as term appointment or whose position is supported by grants, contracts, or other external funding sources shall not be eligible for severance pay when the end date for that position occurs. If the employee has not been informed in writing of the end date or funding contingency, the employee must be given one month's written notice or one month's pay in lieu of notice.

Pay In Lieu of Notice

Pay in lieu of notice is designed to provide employees with replacement income in extraordinary circumstances where it is impractical or impossible to provide reasonable notice to the employee of an impending position elimination. The decision to provide pay in lieu of notice is made at the discretion of the appropriate Senior Officer in consultation with the Employment or Employee Relations section of Human Resources. In situations where an employee is eligible to receive pay in lieu of notice, the payment is generally made after the employee has ceased active employment. Benefits will cease when active employment ends, consistent with existing policy.

Layoff Process

The Senior Officer verifies with the Department Head (and immediate supervisor, if applicable) the date on which the position will be eliminated.

When the position elimination will result in the layoff of an employee, the Human Resources Director advises the Senior Officer, (or Department Head, if responsibility is so delegated) on the wording of the letter to the affected employee and/or severance payments to be made in accordance with University policy. (See next section: "Severance Payments.")

A minimum of two weeks’ written notice should be given to the employee by the Senior Officer, Department Head or other authorized University representative stating that employment with the University will end due to elimination of the employee's position.

Departments should submit to the Human Resources Department a Personnel Action Form (PAF) and a copy of the layoff letter as soon as the employee has been informed that the position has been eliminated. This letter will be placed in the employee's personnel file.

Employees whose positions have been eliminated should contact the Human Resources Department as soon as possible after receiving notification.

Severance Payments

The employee's department pays severance pay according to the following schedule:

Years of Completed Service

Advance Notice and/or Severance Pay

1 year

2 weeks

2 years

4 weeks

3 years

6 weeks

4 years

8 weeks

5 years

10 weeks

6 years

12 weeks

7 years

14 weeks

8 years

16 weeks

9 years

18 weeks

10 years and over

20 weeks

Severance Payments—Schedule of Payments and Benefits

Severance pay is provided only when no notice or insufficient notice under the guidelines is given. For example, an employee who has completed ten years of service would be eligible for twenty weeks of severance pay. However, if the employee had been provided ten weeks notice, then s/he would only be eligible for ten weeks of severance pay.

Severance pay is based on years of completed service. Completed service cannot count twice in calculating severance pay. For example, if an employee has ten years of service and receives twenty weeks severance, and is then re-hired and works five full additional years and the second position is also eliminated, then the employee is eligible for severance based on only five years of completed service.

Severance pay is paid according to the employee's normal payroll schedule (weekly, semi-monthly or monthly). In general, active employment is considered to cease when the severance period begins. All benefits will cease, including accrual of sick and vacation time, according to existing policy when the severance period begins. Health and dental benefits, however, may continue to be deducted from severance payments on a post-tax basis only. Health and dental benefits during the severance period will be considered continued under COBRA.

Employees who have been laid off will be permitted to finish a course taken under the Employee Education Program. Dependents of employees who are enrolled in the Tuition Assistance Program will be permitted to remain covered for the semester in which they were enrolled at the time of layoff. However, all other loans and debts to Brown must be repaid by the time employees receive their final paychecks. Vacation days accrued up to the time of layoff are payable in the paycheck immediately following the employee's last day of work. Severance pay stops effective the first day of reemployment if the laid off employee begins working in another position at Brown during the severance period.