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REQUIREMENTS AND POLICIES MANUAL

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    Title:

    Reduction in Force

    Publication date:

    6/30/2022

    Effective date:

    9/25/2014

    BRIEF

    Policy Summary

    Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) operates principally with funds provided by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The total level of funding for Berkeley Lab, specific Berkeley Lab divisions, and division-specific programs is determined each year, with the final determination made in Washington, D.C., by action of the U.S. Congress, Office of Management and Budget, and DOE.
    Because Berkeley Lab has no final control over its funding, it is unable to guarantee long-term employment, and its rules on termination must acknowledge that the overall Berkeley Lab budget and/or the level of support for individual programs may be reduced in any budget year. To ensure Berkeley Lab can carry out the advanced research and technology goals determined by its annual budget review, any reduction in force must result in a suitable composition of Berkeley Lab staff.
    Berkeley Lab policy and procedures on termination of employment because of lack of funds and/or work (including lack of work due to a reorganization) are described in this policy.

    Who Should Read This Policy

    • This policy applies to Career employees.
    • This policy applies to non-represented employees. Represented employees should consult their collective bargaining agreement (CBA).
    • This policy does not apply to Career employees in Upper Laboratory Management positions. Those employees should consult the Appointments, Upper Laboratory Management policy.
    • This policy does not apply to those employees on temporary work deferment status or who are temporarily reduced in time (refer to the Work Deferment Policy).

    To Read the Full Policy, Go To:

    The POLICY tab on this wiki page

    Contact Information

    For more information, contact your division's HR Field team. Feedback on HR policies or procedures is welcomed. Send comments to [email protected].

    Title:

    Reduction in Force

    Publication date:

    6/30/2022

    Effective date:

    9/25/2014

    POLICY

    A. Purpose

    Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) operates principally with funds provided by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The total level of funding for Berkeley Lab, specific Berkeley Lab divisions, and division-specific programs is determined each year, with the final determination made in Washington, D.C., by action of the U.S. Congress, Office of Management and Budget, and DOE.
    Because Berkeley Lab has no final control over its funding, it is unable to guarantee long-term employment, and its rules on termination must acknowledge that the overall Berkeley Lab budget and/or the level of support for individual programs may be reduced in any budget year. To ensure Berkeley Lab can carry out the advanced research and technology goals determined by its annual budget review, any reduction in force must result in a suitable composition of Berkeley Lab staff.
    Berkeley Lab policy and procedures on termination of employment because of lack of funds and/or work (including lack of work due to a reorganization) are described in this policy.

    B. Persons Affected

    • This policy applies to Career employees.
    • This policy applies to non-represented employees. Represented employees should consult their collective bargaining agreement (CBA).
    • This policy does not apply to Career employees in Upper Laboratory Managements positions. Those employees should consult the Appointments, Upper Laboratory Management policy.
    • This policy does not apply to those employees on temporary work deferment status or are temporarily reduced in time (refer to the Temporary Work Deferment Policy).

    C. Exceptions

    Requests that exceed what is allowed under current policy or that are not expressly addressed by current policy are considered exceptions to policy. A request for an exception to policy requires, at a minimum, approval of the Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO). Depending on the circumstances, some exceptions may require University of California Office of the President (UCOP) and/or DOE approval. 

    D. Policy Statement

    1. Policy
      1. The policy of Berkeley Lab is to minimize, by anticipating and planning for reduced staff needs, the effects of layoffs and reductions in time of Career employees when such layoffs or reductions in time are necessitated by lack of funds or lack of work.

        Other Policy of Interest

        Recall and Preferential Rehire

      2. To avoid a layoff, Berkeley Lab will provide preferential opportunity for reassignment or transfer to an eligible non-probationary Career employee targeted for layoff to a position for which the employee is qualified.
      3. Berkeley Lab will give eligible employees who are laid off the choice of either (1) severance pay in accordance with the Severance policy or (2) the right to be recalled to the layoff unit from which the employee was laid off and preference for reemployment at Berkeley Lab for up to one year in accordance with the Recall and Preferential Rehire policy. Employees who are permanently reduced in time will be given the right to recall and the preference for reemployment for up to one year.
      4. Positions identified for a reduction in force will not be actively recruited for 12 months. This applies to positions that were involuntarily laid off and to positions where a Career employee volunteered to be laid off in lieu of another employee.
    2. Layoff Units
      1. Layoff units are administrative entities within Berkeley Lab that allow Berkeley Lab to administer the reduction-in-force policies in the Requirements and Policies Manual (RPM) and CBAs. They provide the structure to identify individuals who may be affected by a reduction in force.
      2. Berkeley Lab management has the sole authority to determine layoff units, and the determination is not subject to the Employee Complaint Resolution policy. Employees will be provided appropriate notice before the implementation of any changes in layoff units that affect them.
    3. Decision to Implement Reduction
      1. Note: For the purposes of administering this policy, "layoff unit manager" is defined as the manager with the ultimate organizational responsibility for each of the layoff units (e.g., division director etc.).
      2. Berkeley Lab management has the sole discretion to determine the need for layoffs and the classification of employees to be laid off in the layoff unit, consistent with this policy.
      3. When a reduction in force is required, each layoff unit manager will review the programs, departments, or areas for which the layoff unit manager is responsible and determine the number of employees, classifications, and programs to be involved in the reduction. The layoff unit manager, working with their HR Division Partner and Employee and Labor Relations, will take into account the objectives of the Affirmative Action Compliance Program through consultation and discussion with the Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) before initiating further action.
      4. Employees in non-Career positions are normally the first reviewed when lack of funds or lack of work necessitates a decrease in staffing levels. The layoff unit manager will determine which non-Career employees are to be terminated or reduced in time and the effective date of the action.
      5. A layoff unit manager or designee will inform employees in the specific program, department, or areas of the division where lack of funding or work has been identified that such a reduction in force is necessary. The layoff unit manager may also request volunteers for layoff.
    4. Order of Layoff
      1. The layoff unit manager is responsible for selection of individual employees to be released. The selection and the terms or conditions of the release are subject to prior review by the CHRO, or designee. Criteria for consideration when determining order of layoff must include relevant skills, knowledge, and abilities, documented performance, and length of service. Assessment of performance will be based on written performance reviews and disciplinary records. When multiple employees have the same skills, knowledge, and abilities, and do not have documented unsatisfactory performance, employees with greater levels of seniority will have priority for retention.
      2. A layoff unit manager may retain any employee irrespective of seniority if the employee possesses special skills, knowledge, and abilities not possessed by more senior employees in the same class and that are necessary to perform ongoing functions of the layoff unit. An employee in the same class with documented unsatisfactory performance may also be laid off out of seniority sequence.
    5. Determination of Seniority
      1. Seniority will be based on the employee's full-time equivalent paid months (or hours) of Berkeley Lab and University service in any job class or title.
      2. Employment before a break in service is not counted toward seniority. A break in service is the separation of at least one scheduled working day of Berkeley Lab or University employment. Authorized leave without pay and time on recall or preferential rehire status do not constitute a break in service if the employee returns to service.
      3. When two or more employees have equal full-time equivalent service time, the employee with the most recent hire date is deemed to have the lesser seniority.
      4. A layoff unit manager may, when feasible, accept volunteers for layoff in lieu of other employees. The acceptance of individual voluntary layoffs will be based on the operational needs of the division. When an employee volunteers for layoff in lieu of another employee and is subsequently selected for layoff, the employee is entitled to the full protection of the layoff policy, with the exception of right to recall and preferential rehire rights. An employee who volunteers to be laid off in lieu of other employees may receive only severance pay. The employee should be informed that eligibility for unemployment insurance benefits depends on the evaluation of the termination by the state of California Employment Development Department (EDD).
    6. Notification to Employees
      1. The layoff unit manager is responsible for ensuring that employees are notified of their layoff in accordance with the plan agreed on with the Human Resources Division. The scheduling of notification interviews should be handled to minimize the anxiety and disturbance of other employees. Notification will be accomplished orally and will include instructions for obtaining assistance and guidance from the Human Resources Division.
      2. Written notice will be at least 30 calendar days before the effective date or, if less than 30 calendar days' written notice is given, a Career employee will receive pay in lieu of notice for each additional day the employee would have been on pay status had the employee been given 30 calendar days' notice. For Career scientist employees, refer to the Appointments, Scientist & Engineer policy for notice requirements.
    7. Assistance to Employees
      1. It is the layoff unit manager's responsibility to ensure that Career employees who have received a layoff notice are given primary consideration for vacancies in the layoff unit for which they are reasonably qualified.

        Contact the Benefits Office:

        Building 90
        Benefits phone: (510) 486-6403 (internally x6403)
        Benefits fax: (510) 486-6009
        Benefits email: Ben[email protected]lbl.gov

        Mailing address:
        HR Benefits Group
        One Cyclotron Road, MS90R1136
        Berkeley, CA 94720

      2. The designated Layoff Coordinator in the Human Resources Division is responsible for assisting employees who have received a reduction-in-force notice before they are laid off. The Layoff Coordinator also provides assistance to laid off employees who have elected the right to recall and preference for reemployment instead of severance payment. This assistance includes, but is not limited to:
        1. Reviewing with the employee the terms of the planned release. If eligible, explaining the Recall and Preferential Rehire policy.
        2. Referring the employee to the Benefits Office, Employee Assistance Program (EAP), and other Berkeley Lab services and outside agencies as appropriate or requested.
        3. Referring the employee to the agency providing outplacement services.
        4. Coordinating with the appropriate HR Division Partner regarding the employee's recall to their former division or preferential rehire.
    8. Continuation of Benefits during Layoff. An employee on layoff status will continue in certain group insurance programs, if previously enrolled, for the length of time provided by the University's contract with the insurance carrier, subject to the payment of full premiums. Retirement system regulations determine the effect of the layoff on retirement benefits. The employee should contact Berkeley Lab's Benefits Office regarding eligibility for continuation of benefits.

    E. Roles and Responsibilities

    Role

    Responsibility

    Chief HR Officer (CHRO)

    Has the functional responsibility for this policy and process.

    Employees

    Have the responsibility to adhere to the provisions of this policy and process.

    HR Division

    Has the responsibility to advise management and employees on how to comply with this policy and process.

    Layoff Coordinator

    Is responsible for assisting employees who have received a reduction-in-force notice or who have been terminated as a result of a reduction in force (during the period of recall and preference for reemployment eligibility).

    Managers and Supervisors

    • Have the responsibility to adhere to the provisions of this policy and process.
    • Under right for preferential rehire, review a laid off employee's application before other applicants and either select or disqualify the application relative to the requirements of the position.

    F. Definitions/Acronyms

    Term

    Definition

    Break in Service

    A separation of at least one scheduled working day of Berkeley Lab/University employment. Authorized leave without pay and time on preferential rehire status do not constitute a break in service.

    CBA

    Collective bargaining agreement

    CHRO

    Chief Human Resources Officer

    DOE

    Department of Energy

    EAP

    Employee Assistance Program

    EDD

    Employment Development Department

    ELR

    Employee and Labor Relations

    HR

    Human Resources

    Layoff Unit Manager

    The manager with the ultimate organizational responsibility for each of the layoff units (e.g., division director, department head, etc.)

    Preferential Rehire (Preference for Reemployment)

    The right of the non-probationary Career appointee who is laid off indefinitely or whose time is reduced indefinitely to receive preference for any active, vacant Career position for which the employee is qualified, which is at the same or lower salary grade, at the same or lesser percentage of time, and at the same campus as the position from which the employee was indefinitely laid off or indefinitely reduced in time.

    Recall

    The right of the non-probationary Career employee to return to any active, vacant career position for which the employee is qualified, which is in the same classification, salary grade, and division and at the same or lesser percentage of time as the position from which the employee was indefinitely laid off or indefinitely reduced in time

    RIF

    Reduction in force

    UC

    University of California

    G. Recordkeeping Requirements

    Role

    Responsibility

    Human Resources Division

    Is responsible for maintaining all employee records.

    Layoff Coordinator

    Is responsible for maintaining the recall and preferential rehire roster and related records.

    H. Implementing Documents

    See the Human Resources Layoff website.

    I. Contact Information

    For more information, contact your division's HR Field team. Feedback on HR policies or procedures is welcomed. Send comments to [email protected].

    J. Revision History

    Date

    Revision

    By Whom

    Revision Description

    Section(s) Affected

    Change Type

    1/2/2012

    1

    M. Bello

    Rewrite for wiki

    all

    Minor

    4/16/2012

    2

    M. Bello

    Under Notification to Employee, removed requirement that the CHRO notifies employee. Updated Benefits Department Contact Information.

    (D)(6) (D)(8)

    Minor

    09/21/2012

    3

    M. Bello

    Recall and Preferential Rehire policy was archived.

    All

    Major + 30

    6/10/2013

    3.1

    M. Bello

    Revised Implementing Documents List

    Policy/Section H Document Information/Implementing Documents Additional Information/Implementing Documents restricted to department/functional use

    Minor

    1/10/2014

    3.2

    M. Bello

    Add exception notice

    Brief, Policy

    Minor

    9/25/2014

    4

    M.Bello/L.Westphal

    Under Notification to Employees, removed requirement that the CHRO notifies employee. Updated Benefits Department Contact Information. With UCOP approval, reinstated 2008 Reduction in Force policy.

    All

    Major +30

    6/30/2022

    4.1

    W. Crosson

    • Updated links
    • Removed outdated Implementing Documents
    • Removed existing gendered pronouns and replaced with gender-neutral language.

    All

    Editorial

    DOCUMENT INFORMATION

    Title:

    Reduction in Force

    Document number

    02.12.004.000

    Revision number

    4.1

    Publication date:

    6/30/2022

    Effective date:

    9/25/2014

    Next review date:

    6/30/2027

    Policy Area:

    Separation

    RPM Section (home)

    Human Resources

    RPM Section (cross-reference)

    Section 2.21(B)

    Functional Division

    Human Resources

    Prior reference information (optional)

    RPM Chapter 2. 21(B)

    Source Requirements Documents

    • California Assembly Bill 2957, Baby WARN, California's Advance Notice Law (Cal WARN)
    • California Unemployment Insurance: Change of Status Notice
    • DOE Order 350.3, Labor Standards Compliance, Contractor Labor Relations, and Contractor Workforce Restructuring Programs, Chapter III
    • DOE Contract DE-AC02-05CH11231, Sec. J, App. A, Advance Understandings on Human Resources, Sec. XII-Reductions in Contractor Employment
    • (Federal) Older Worker's Benefits Protection Act (OWBPA)
    • (Federal) Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act
    • University of California Personnel Policies for Staff Members (PPSM) 60, Layoff and Reduction in Time from Professional and Support Staff Career Positions

    Implementing Documents


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