Shortly after leaving the university, employees are sent an exit interview form. This form is designed to obtain input from the exiting employees regarding supervision, working conditions, benefits, training and promotional opportunities within their division and the university. The employee also is encouraged to offer suggestions in areas they feel could be improved. Human Resources reviews the data and monitors trends. Some results may be forwarded to departments for possible action when appropriate.
Under the provisions of the Virginia Unemployment Compensation Act, an employee who becomes separated from his or her job may be eligible for unemployment compensation. See unemployment compensation under benefits.
When it becomes necessary to eliminate a position due to budget constraints or reorganization, managers are guided by two state policies – layoff and severance benefits. Following is an overview of the provisions of those policies that may apply.
Generally, an employee will receive two notifications of layoff:
- The first is an informal notification from the department. It includes the effective date of layoff and a referral to a VCU Human Resources Consultant for assistance with placement options and benefits.
- The second is the official written notification from VCU Human Resources at least two weeks before the layoff effective date. This notification places an employee on leave without pay-layoff status for up to 12 months and it includes information about rights and benefits under the layoff and severance policies, if eligible.
The VCU HR consultant will determine eligibility for severance and layoff benefits and/or assist layoff candidates with exploring possible job opportunities. Generally, employees in grant-funded (restricted) positions are not eligible for severance and layoff benefits, including placement.
Before being placed on leave without pay-layoff, employees may have preferential hiring rights that entitle them to placement in vacancies at VCU in an existing or lower pay band for which they are minimally qualified. An HR Consultant will work with employees to identify appropriate vacancies and submit an application.
HR Consultants will also provide copies of the interagency screening form (“yellow form”) for use at other state agencies. The yellow form gives employees preferential consideration for vacancies posted as internal or external recruitment in any executive branch agency from the date of issuance until they are placed on leave without pay-layoff.
To be considered, the yellow form must be received at the other agency by the application deadline. Once they have accepted a position using the yellow form, the form may not be used to obtain another position. They may refuse employment offers with another agency and retain placement options within VCU, if any are available. If the new position is in a lower pay band, they remain eligible for recall by VCU for the length of your leave without pay-layoff, up to 12 months.
Preferential hiring card (“blue card”) – The blue card gives employees preferential employment rights to a vacant position posted as internal or external recruitment in another agency that is in the same role as shier former position. To be considered for preferential hiring rights, the blue card must be submitted to agencies along with a completed state application form by the position’s closing date. Preferential rights cease before the end of the layoff year when they accept recall to VCU, accept a position through use of the blue card or resign, whichever occurs first.
Additional re-employment opportunities within the commonwealth – Employees may choose to participate in the state RE-OP pool while they are on leave without pay-layoff and have an active blue card. Agencies may review applicants in the RE-OP pool before they advertise or list positions in the state employment system. To participate, submit a completed application to an HR Consultant who will transmit it to the Virginia Department of Human Resource Management (DHRM).
Recall rights – If an employee has been placed on leave without pay-layoff or demoted in lieu of layoff, they have recall rights to positions at VCU. Recall entitles them to placement into a vacant position that is in their pre-layoff role and for which they are minimally qualified. Recall rights extend for 12 months from their leave without pay-layoff effective date.
To be eligible for the following benefits and severance, employees must be in a full-time, non-restricted classified position. Employees in grant-funded (restricted) positions are not eligible for the benefits listed below or for severance or placement rights, unless the employee previously held a non-grant-funded position. If you have questions about other benefits not listed here, please contact VCU Human Resources.
- Group life insurance – VCU will continue its contribution toward group life insurance for 12 months from the effective date of leave without pay-layoff.
- Health insurance – VCU will continue to pay its portion of health insurance premium for 12 months from the effective date of leave without pay-layoff. The employee is responsible for paying their share of the premium. Human Resources will provide information regarding when and where to make payments.
- Severance payments – Severance payments are paid twice a month based on years of service.
- Retirement – Contributions to retirement plans will not be made and no refund of contributions can be made until the employee resigns from state service. In lieu of receiving health insurance, life insurance and severance pay, any eligible full-time employee — who is a vested member of the Virginia Retirement System (VRS) and is at least 50 years of age — may elect to use the total value of these benefits to have the commonwealth purchase years to be credited for retirement purposes to either the employee’s age, creditable services or to be divided between age and creditable service (enhanced retirement).
- Unemployment compensation – Receipt of severance payments does not automatically deny or modify an employee's right to receive unemployment compensation; however, the amount of unemployment compensation may be reduced by the amount of severance payments received. Please contact the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) to determine eligibility for unemployment benefits.
Annual and traditional sick leave – Employees do not accrue annual or traditional sick leave while on leave without pay-layoff status. They may request payment of accrued leave, if eligible, or retain these balances when placed on leave without pay-layoff. If they choose to retain the balances, they will be paid for the maximum amount allowable of annual and traditional sick leave, if eligible, at the end of the leave without pay-layoff or at resignation, whichever occurs first.
Virginia Sickness and Disability Program (VSDP) leave balances – VSDP leave balances will be held when placed on leave without pay-layoff. If an employee is recalled or obtains placement through preferential employment rights prior to the end of the layoff year and prior to Jan. 10, leave balances will be reinstated. If they are recalled or obtain placement within the layoff year, but after Jan. 10, they will be credited with the appropriate VSDP sick and family/personal leave credits.
Leave without pay-layoff benefits will cease:
- If an employee is offered a position at the same salary through the preferential hiring process, they must accept or will be separated from employment. They will no longer be entitled to other placement options or to severance benefits.
- Recall rights during leave without pay-layoff cease if they are employed or promoted to a position that is in the same or higher role as the former position, or if they resign or retire. If they decline recall to a position in the same role held at layoff, which does not require relocation or a salary reduction, they forfeit rights for further severance payments and their name will be removed from the recall list.
- Health care and group life insurance benefits cease after 12 months of leave without pay-layoff or if they resign or retire.
- Severance ceases if they are re-employed by the Commonwealth of Virginia or hired as an independent contractor or consultant while receiving benefits.
Employee responsibilities during the layoff process:
- Meet with a HR Consultant to learn more about rights and benefits
- Inform department and consultant about paying or holding leave balances, if applicable
- Complete a VCU application and a Commonwealth of Virginia application for use with the various placement options and ensure that the information on the application remains up to date
- Make every effort to attend interviews on time and present yourself professionally during the interview process
- Make health care payments promptly
- Contact the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) regarding unemployment compensation
Human Resources responsibilities during the layoff process:
- Provide layoff information to employees, explaining rights and benefits for which they are eligible
- Provide formal notification at least two weeks before the leave without pay-layoff effective date
- Complete paperwork to ensure benefits continuation and accurate severance payments
- Forward the employee’s application for all appropriate vacancies
- Review documentation if the employee is determined to not be minimally qualified for a particular vacancy
- Facilitate the employee’s participation in the RE-OP pool if he or she chooses to participate