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Layoff & Reduction
Managing Complex Layoffs

This page describes the steps involved in preparing for, initiating, and managing, complex layoff situations. If you are not familiar with the characteristics of a complex layoff situation, please review them.

Contact Human Resources

When you need to manage a complex layoff situation your first step is to contact your Human Resources Consultant. Your Human Resources Consultant will make sure that:

Develop Your Unit's Layoff/Reduction Plan

Your plan will need to address some or all of the following elements. As you plan for and communicate about the layoffs that your unit faces, maintain a record of the actions you take and when you take them.

Layoff Pre Planning
Planning Element Planning Goal
Communication Ensure that all members of the organization, at an appropriate time for their position, receive communication about the reductions and the degree to which the reductions will affect them. Address any special needs like having information in alternative formats or language interpreters.

Incorporate resources designed to assist employees in your communication plan. Refer employees to the information published on the Human Resources website about the layoff process. If employees do not have access to a computer, please print out the relevant web pages for them. Review the guide for creating a communication plan.
Preserve the functions necessary to support your core mission Identify and prioritize the functions necessary for you and your department to fulfill its core mission, the work that is necessary to support those functions, and the positions that perform the work.
Position(s) being considered for elimination or reduction including temporary positions For each position, identify the reason(s) the position was selected (e.g., the position's work will no longer be performed; funding limits the number of people who can be employed and the work of a less senior employee is being distributed to employees in similar positions with more seniority, etc.). Anticipate that the positions/employees initially identified for layoff could change as an evaluation of job skills and employee layoff seniority is completed.
Post-layoff work distribution plan Identify individual positions and the work that will be assigned to them. Develop revised job descriptions, as necessary.
Possible job classification or grade changes that may result from work redistribution and/or changed job duties Identify actions you need to take to see those changes implemented (the need for job classification or salary grade changes will be determined by having the Compensation Office review new or revised job descriptions). Evaluate the budgetary impact of anticipated classification or grade changes.
Possible changes to organizational structure Identify changed reporting relationships based on the number or type of positions that you will have to eliminate or reduce, consolidation of functions, etc.
Planned vacations or other leaves of absence Make a record of planned vacations or other known leaves of absence. Your Human Resources Consultant will need this information to ensure that employees receive proper notice of layoff.
Items that may require special attention Identify/record the need to restrict access to sensitive information and information systems and/or the need to get customer feedback about planned service changes.
Special considerations for employees If any employees scheduled to be laid off have indicated an interest in retirement, ensure that they have sufficient notice so that they can determine whether they wish to retire in lieu of layoff.

Identify any professional staff who have accrued more than 240 hours of annual leave, and make sure they understand the annual leave payout limitations of the Professional Staff Program.

Layoff Notification Planning
Planning Element Planning Goal
Written resources
for employees
Work with HR to ensure that all written resources employees will receive are assembled, checked for accuracy, and ready for delivery.
Support resources Ensure availability and arrange for the presence of any special support resources, e.g. UW CareLink, outplacement staff. Review Employee Support Resources so that you will be prepared to assist your staff.
Layoff notification environment Provide for private meetings with the employees whose positions will be eliminated, reduced, or restructured.
Employees who become especially upset Some employees can become especially upset following layoff notification. Anticipate this possibility and discuss it with your Human Resources Consultant, especially if an employee's prior behavior indicates that concern may be warranted.

Post Layoff Notification Planning
Planning Element Planning Goal
Plan for employees who will move to another department through the layoff process - bumping or layoff list placement Review the "Transferring Employee Checklist" to ensure smooth transition.
Plan in advance for tasks related to ending employment Review the "Separating Employee Checklist" to ensure smooth transition.

Layoff Topics