Developing a Lay Off Procedure

Developing a Lay Off Procedure


lay off procedure

When a department plans to eliminate, reduce or restructure its work, it's essential to create an organized lay off procedure. Doing this will guarantee employees understand the process, receive proper notification and receive ongoing support.

Managers and supervisors should approach the discussion with an employee concerned empathically and professionally. Layoffs can be a difficult situation for many workers.

The Process

Layoff can be a stressful process that puts enormous strain on those affected by it. Employees affected by layoff are anxious about their job prospects, while HR managers worry about potential legal and regulatory issues that arise during the procedure.

Communication is the most essential task in any layoff situation. Effective communication helps reduce stress for everyone involved by helping employees understand and access resources to assist in finding employment and learning about health insurance coverage options.

Once an employer has decided that a reduction in force is necessary, they must identify how many staff members will be let go and which units they will be taken off from. This must be done as part of an overall plan and after consulting Human Resources and Affirmative Action departments.

The Department Head must coordinate the layoff process, designing either a unit or units where layoffs will take place and applying the criteria outlined below for selecting those to be let go. They must consult Human Resources and Affirmative Action during planning stages of any reorganization or layoff plan to guarantee selections are done according to University policies and/or bargaining contract provisions.

Seniority plays a major role in the layoff process, but other elements are taken into account too. Before terminating an employee, the University takes into account their willingness to accept reduced hours or work years, be demoted or transferred to another position.

Furthermore, if an employee is selected for layoff and the Department chooses to hire in their former job class within two years of layoff date, that employee has restoration rights. This allows them to return to the same or similar position within the same department, provided the new position offers equivalent pay and benefits to that of their previous job class.


Notifying employees of their dismissal or reduction in hours can be a particularly trying time for them.

Layoffs are a common strategy used by companies to reduce expenses and boost competitiveness. They may be precipitated by internal issues like restructuring or downsizing staff size, as well as external circumstances like a national recession or global supply chain challenges.

Layoffs fall into two categories: regular professional staff and administrative personnel. A layoff of a regular professional staff position is generally exempt from the layoff process since reductions in percentage time or months worked per year are not considered to be real layoffs.

If you anticipate having to undertake a complex layoff situation, begin planning and discussing the process with your HR consultant as soon as you become aware that layoffs may be necessary. Make sure the procedure is well documented and includes support functions like UW CareLink, outplacement consultants, and any other personnel specialists who may help ease the transition.

Create or revise job descriptions for all positions that could be affected by the reductions. These should include essential knowledge, skills and/or experience and reflect any restructuring necessary due to reduced duties or responsibilities.

Notify all other members of the unit, including senior management and business partners or customers, of upcoming layoffs. Establish a communication/notification schedule and specify who should receive what information.

Be sure to arrange private meetings for employees whose positions will be eliminated, reduced, or restructured (see Checklist - Transferring Employees). It is likely that some may feel particularly affected and you should discuss this possibility with your HR consultant prior to making the announcement of layoffs.

After a layoff, employees may be eligible for severance pay and other benefits. It's essential that employees take this step in order to safeguard their financial interests as well as future employment prospects.


Severance pay is a form of compensation an employee may receive if their employment is terminated. It can include wages, vacation pay or other non-monetary benefits like health insurance coverage or job search assistance services.

Tessa White, career navigation expert and founder of The Job Doctor, recommends that you negotiate your severance package before beginning a new job. In her previous role, she had successfully negotiated a six-month severance package ahead of time; this proved especially helpful when she was laid off during an office relocation later in her career.

The amount of severance pay varies depending on the company and length of service. Smaller firms tend to offer less compensation than larger ones, though they still provide similar benefits like health insurance.

Additionally, you have the option to request a higher amount than what was offered initially if you feel it would be more beneficial for you. However, Sparks warns that negotiating can be risky: "It is possible you could lose out on all of your severance benefits."

Employees laid off typically receive severance pay. Packages can range from one week of pay for every year of service to several months or more for those who have worked at the company for many years.

Employers are not legally required to offer severance pay, but most organizations do. Employers typically offer it based on the terms of an employee's contract or offer letter, or they may have a severance policy in their employee handbook.

IRS guidelines state that severance pay is typically treated as wages for federal income tax purposes, and is thus subject to Social Security and Medicare taxes, as well as federal, state and local payroll taxes.

No matter the amount of severance you receive, it's wise to consult a tax professional before claiming any money on your tax return. Furthermore, determine if you qualify for unemployment compensation.

A severance package is a negotiated agreement between an employer and employee that provides money or other benefits in exchange for the employee releasing the employer from any legal issues related to termination. It can be an invaluable tool in helping you transition into your new position while relieving some of the stress that comes with being laid off from a job you've held for years.


Recall is the process where an employer brings employees back to work after putting them on temporary layoff. It also serves as a safeguard for employee rights, since employers in unionized workplaces must guarantee this right along with other legal protections for workers.

Employees affected by the recall should be informed in writing via registered or certified mail, return receipt requested. The notice should include the date and time that they are expected to report back to work, as well as which position they will occupy upon return.

In Alberta, employees may be terminated if they fail to report for work on their recall or otherwise breach the terms of their employment when they return. A failure to appear could constitute constructive dismissal in Alberta.

According to the jurisdiction in which a layoff occurred, employees may be eligible for either severance pay or preferential rehire rights. UC Riverside offers these rights to union represented career employees who have been laid off and exercised their recall rights (unless they elect instead to receive severance pay).

Preferential rehire allows affected employees to receive early consideration for vacant career positions within their bargaining unit, with salaries that match or lower than what was earned prior to layoff, and with job duties similar to what they held prior to layoff. They must indicate their preference by checking off the relevant box on their employment application form.

If an employee elects to receive severance pay, it must be paid out in full within 180 calendar days of being laid off. Severance pay is awarded in increments of 1 1/2 weeks of pay for every year of continuous employment up to a maximum of 25 weeks of pay.

Furthermore, if an employee has accrued any sick leave during their layoff period, that leave is reinstated upon returning to work.

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