Layoff Policy and Procedures

The Department of Human Resources in conjunction with the University Staff Council present to UWM this ongoing series of executive summaries to showcase the new policies adopted as of July 1, 2015 under the University Personnel System (UPS). We hope this information will lead to a clear understanding of the intent of the new policies, how they work, and how they differ from what went before.

The employer may utilize this layoff policy and procedures to eliminate positions held by an employee that holds his/her position with an expectation of continued employment (formerly called being “permanent”). Layoff procedures are available only for reasons of budget or program, and are not to be used in place of employee discipline or performance management.

There is no displacement or “bumping” of other employees in areas other than the operational area.

1. The Layoff Plan

The employer must first develop a “Layoff Plan” which will identify the operational area of the layoff and the individuals in the layoff group. The plan will describe where the layoff is taking place, the effective date of the layoff, and which employees and positions will be affected.

The employees subject to layoff will be evaluated according the following criteria:

  • The needs of UWM to continue to deliver services and programs;
  • The relative skills, knowledge or expertise of employees;
  • The length of service of the potentially affected employees; and
  • Other appropriate criteria.

The layoff plan will be transmitted to the University Staff Council at the same time as the employee receives an “At Risk” letter.

2. At-Risk Notification

An employee that has been designated for layoff must be given advance notice, in the form of an “At Risk” letter. The expected minimum At Risk notice period is:

Years Employed Notice Period
0-3 years 3 months
3+ years 6 months

In the At Risk period, the employee can apply for open jobs, or can decide to retire or separate voluntarily. The employee has the right to be interviewed for positions for which he or she applies and is qualified. The employee can also be moved involuntarily, to avoid the separation of a layoff. The employee will be notified in writing of the reason for being moved.

3. Official Notification

Not less than 30 days before the effective date of the layoff the employee will receive an official Layoff Letter, outlining specific job alternatives at UWM. At this time the parties can agree to a lateral movement or a demotion to a different position, outside of the recruitment process.

Once the official layoff notice has been issued, the layoff can be grieved according to the UWM University Staff Grievance Policy and Procedures.

4. Other UW Institutions

An employee subject to a layoff may request to be considered for openings at other institutions in the UW System, according to their policies. This does not guarantee an interview or a job offer.

5. Reasonable Offer

For three years, employees laid off from UWM may apply for vacancies at UWM in the same manner as current employees.

For three years from the anniversary of the layoff, no one may be hired into a position with an expectation of continued employment in the area that laid off the employee, to perform duties reasonably comparable to those that used to be performed by the laid off employee, unless the unit makes an offer of return to the laid off employee.

What did we have in the past?

  • UWM followed the Office of State Employment Relations (OSER) layoff procedures under Wisconsin Administrative Code ER-MRS 22. Layoffs were determined according to the State’s employing unit divisions instead of by UWM-driven operational area. The employer had to design a layoff plan, but it was sent to OSER instead of to the UWM University Staff Council.
  • While a job could be eliminated anywhere on campus, the layoff always fell on the least senior employee in the employing unit. This meant that people whose jobs were slated for elimination could displace less senior employees in other offices, departments, Schools or Colleges.
  • For three years, employees had a right to be recalled when the area they left had an opening, but only to a job in the same pay range as the one he or she left.

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