a. Seniority. Layoff seniority is defined as the continuous length of service in calendar days with the Employer from the most recent date of hire to the Employer. Service of less than full time shall be considered full time. Time spent on leave of absence without pay or on layoff shall not be included in computing seniority except for cyclic year positions, but does not constitute a break in service.
Permanent employees who are veterans or their unmarried widows/widowers shall have added to their seniority the veteran's active military service to a maximum of five (5) years credit. Probationary employees are not vested with seniority credits until successfully completing the probationary period.
Seniority shall be lost following a break in service including resignation, termination for cause, failure to return from a leave of absence, expiration of rehire rights.
Employees who enter into the bargaining unit from other state agencies and institutions of higher education shall earn layoff seniority from the first day of coverage under this Agreement. Seniority for leave accrual purposes shall include all time credited to the employee up to the date of entering into the bargaining unit. Unused sick and vacation leave balances of permanent status employees changing employment between bargaining unit and non-bargaining unit positions shall move with the employee.
b. Department Seniority. Department seniority is defined as continuous length of service in calendar days within the employee's department and where applicable, shall be used for internal department processes, such as vacation and schedule bids.
49.2 (a) Layoff and Rehire.
(1) Whenever it becomes necessary for the Employer to reduce its workforce due to lack of work, lack of funds, or good faith reorganization for efficiency purposes, the Employer shall use the following procedure. The Employer will notify the Union of impending layoffs thirty (30) calendar days in advance of implementation so that reasonable alternative proposals can be considered. Whenever possible the Employer will provide more than minimum notice.
(2) The Employer shall not lay off bargaining unit employees in lieu of disciplinary action.
(3) The Employer shall make a concerted effort to re-employ bargaining unit members on the rehire list. Bargaining unit members on the rehire list are eligible to take all Professional & Organizational Development (POD) courses on a space available basis upon payment of designated fees.
(4) Employees will be laid off in accordance with seniority, as defined in Article 49.1(a).
(b) Employment Option.
The employee affected by the reduction in force shall be offered the following employment options in descending order, provided he or she meets the essential skills (defined as the minimum qualifications listed in the job description for the classification and any specific position requirements or credentialing) of the offered position:
Employees who are within six (6) months from the effective date of a Final Counseling (Article 23) are not eligible for the employment option but, instead, will be eligible for placement on the appropriate rehire list(s) per section (e) below.
(c) Notice. The Employer shall identify the positions to be abolished and the employee(s) to be effected and shall notify employees in these positions not less than thirty (30) calendar days prior to the abolishment of the positions, pay the employee in lieu of notice, or combine pay and notice. Whenever possible the Employer will provide more than minimum notice. The notice shall include:
In accordance with 49.2.b. above, if the incumbent in a position to be abolished has an opportunity to replace the most junior employee within the layoff/seniority unit, the incumbent will be given up to three (3) calendar days to determine if he/she wants to replace the junior employee or be placed on the rehire list. Vacant positions or those held by probationary employees within the layoff/seniority unit will be considered a more junior position.
(d) FTE Reduction. An employee in a position that is not abolished but is reduced in FTE status and who will remain benefit eligible after the reduction will have the choice of staying in the reduced position and going on the rehire list for the position and FTE status held by the employee immediately prior to the reduction or exercising available layoff rights under 49.2. The employee must exercise this choice within three (3) working days of the reduction notice.
(e) Rehire. Employees without employment options will be placed on the rehire list(s) designated by the employee for twenty-four (24) months. In addition to the rehire list for the classification and FTE status from which the employee was laid off, employees identified for layoff may request placement on the following rehire lists:
(f) Rehire Trial Period. Employees placed into vacant positions from the rehire list will serve a six (6) week rehire trial period. During the rehire trial period either party may, at its sole discretion and without resort to the grievance procedure, initiate return to the rehire list. Time spent in a rehire trial period will not count toward the twenty-four (24) month rehire list period. The six (6) week rehire trial period will be adjusted to reflect any paid or unpaid leave taken during the period.
(g) Corrective Action. Final Counseling that occurs within the six (6) months prior to the layoff will be considered in effect should the employee be rehired. The employee will continue to be subject to any consequences of not following the directives and/or action plan(s) specified in the current corrective action.
(h) Removal from List. Removal from the rehire list(s) will occur for any of the following circumstances:
49.3 Rehire Wages and Increment Date. When employees are rehired from layoff status the periodic increment date and annual leave accrual date will be reestablished and extended by an amount of time in calendar days equal to the period of time spent on the rehire list prior to rehire. Employees placed from the rehire list into positions with the same salary range held at the time of layoff shall be placed at the same step in the range held at the time of layoff. Employees placed from the rehire list into positions with a lower salary range than held at the time of layoff shall be placed in a salary step nearest to, but not in excess of, the salary held at time of layoff.
49.4 Affirmative action goals may be considered at any point during the layoff or rehire process.
49.5 Benefits and Temporary Services. Employees on the rehire list who follow the rules prescribed by Temporary Services may be referred to temporary positions and can receive employer paid health benefit coverage if they meet the eligibility requirements as determined by the State.