2.13.4 Reduction in Workforce Policy

Only the President may authorize any decision regarding a reduction in workforce, layoffs, or other major organizational actions or changes in departments or services offered.  The President shall determine those areas of the University whose budgets must be reduced based upon consideration of the budgetary needs and priorities of the University, both academic and non-academic. 
The purpose of this policy is to clearly prescribe the guidelines and procedures for a reduction in regular full-time University employees including administrative, professional, and other staff.
Jackson State University values the contributions of all its employees and endeavors to provide a regular and stable employment.  However, situations including but not limited to financial exigency, a lack of work, reorganization of the University’s operation and changes in program or technologies, may require a reduction in work force to maintain financial security, quality, and efficiency of University operation. These situations can dictate substantially decreased workloads, discontinued functions, a change in business operations, economic conditions, or other circumstances out of the employee’s control, and it is the policy of the University to provide an equitable and supportive process to those employees directly impacted.  The determination of when such actions should be taken rests with the administration of the University, and when applicable, the Board of Trustees of the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning.
In the event of a Reduction in Force, Jackson State University will consider the following factors:
  1. The role and importance of the position as it relates to the goals and objectives of the University and department;
  2. Performance and productivity of employees measured against the ultimate objective of providing the best programs within funding limitations;
  3. The need for faculty and student support; and
  4. Seniority of service within the University.
The University retains the right to make the final decisions based on reasonable business and economic needs. The determination of “reasonable business need” rests with the administration of the University.
Affected employees will be given consideration for any available positions at the University based on their skills, experience, educational background, and past performance. The primary responsibility for locating a new position either within or outside the University shall reside with the affected employee; however, the Division of Human Resources will be available to advise and assist the employee regarding job search techniques, resources, and procedures. 
This policy applies to all non-contractual exempt and non-exempt benefit-eligible staff employees. 
Responsibilities for administering the Reduction in Force Policy is divided between the provost or appropriate vice president, department heads, and the Division of Human Resources.
  1. The provost or appropriate vice president is responsible for administering this policy.
  2. Deans and department heads will make determination of need, positions affected, and eligibility levels of employees. These administrators must contact the Division of Human Resources prior to notification.
  3. The Division of Human Resources will:
    1. Review occupational unit seniority lists with department heads, as well as consider the other Reduction in Force factors;
    2. Audit/monitor the process to ensure the Reduction in Force Policy is being followed fairly and consistently throughout the University; and
    3. Work with employees terminated due to a reduction in force so that such affected employees may be given a preference if they apply for employment when a position for which they are qualified becomes available.
  1. The University administrator whose department is affected will provide the President, Administrative Cabinet, and the Division of Human Resources with a business justification, including the list of positions that are being recommended for a reduction in force.
  1. This business justification will be reviewed by the President, Administrative Cabinet, and the Division of Human Resources to verify the existence of a reasonable business justification, including but not limited to economic need, for the reduction in force.
  1. After review and evaluation, a final list of those employees who will be affected by the reduction in force will be prepared by the Division of Human Resources and presented to the President for final approval.
  1. The Division of Human Resources will prepare documentation for each affected employee outlining their employment and benefit status. This information will be reviewed with the employee during a formal notification meeting, which will be conducted by a representative of the Division of Human Resources and the appropriate University administrator.
  1. All exceptions to this policy must be approved by the Executive Director of Human Resources.
  • In the event of a Reduction in Force, the University will provide the affected employee with a 30 day notice.  The notice shall be in writing and when such termination is due to a Reduction in Force, the termination notice will state that reason. 
  • The affected employee will be paid for 30 days of accrued personal leave in accordance with state law.   
  • Benefits in effect as of the notification date will continue during the paid period and will end in accordance with current policies for all employees separating from benefit eligible service.  
Health and Dental Insurance Benefits
All employees affected by a Reduction in Force who have attained the required age and years of service as outlined in the retirement eligibility section of the benefits handbook may elect to retire and enroll in the PERS Retiree Medical Insurance Plan.  
All employees affected by a Reduction in Force who do not meet the eligibility requirements to elect retirement with retiree health care benefits have the opportunity to continue health coverage for up to 18 months under the COBRA legislation.
Vacation Pay
All employees will be paid for all accrued and unused vacation hours for the current year, up to the maximum accrual, at their regular rate of pay.  This payment shall be made on the employee’s final payroll check.  
Other Benefits  
Please refer to the policies on Benefits (policy 3.1 – 3.3) ending dates due to separation from benefit-eligible service within the appropriate employee benefits handbook for an explanation of all other benefits.