Human Resources

University System of Georgia

Human Resources Administrative Practice Manual


Reduction in Force

Citation Reference  
Official Title Policy on Reduction in Force
Abbreviated Title Reduction in Force
Volume Human Resources
Responsible Office Human Resources
Originally issued January 2008
Revised March 2010

Policy Statement

The University System of Georgia is committed to providing stable employment for its employees; however, each institution shall have the authority to determine the appropriate staffing levels to meet the mission of the institution. Each institution may, in its sole discretion, add positions or change positions where necessary to meet the mission of the institution, and it may eliminate positions that are no longer critical to the mission of the institution. Situations such as lack of funding, lack of work, or reorganization may require a reduction in the workforce. Institutions making such reductions are responsible for retaining the staff necessary to preserve their excellence. If the administration has determined that a workforce reduction will not occur for a particular situation, this policy shall not be utilized.

Generally, a reduction in workforce may be implemented for reasons that include the following:

  • A budget reduction and/or funding changes;
  • Programmatic changes that result in the elimination of or decrease in services;
  • Reorganization that results in a shifting of responsibilities or elimination of certain tasks altogether;
  • Business process improvements that change work to such an extent that a position(s) is no longer required; and
  • Other organizational changes that might prompt an adjustment to staffing needs.

In an effort to avoid reducing positions due to budget cuts or funding changes, each institution reserves the right to consider implementing a furlough or other such program to achieve the necessary budget reduction.

Employees are to be terminated through a reduction in force only after examining other available alternatives. The provisions of this policy are not to be used to remove an employee if the sole cause is substandard performance, incompetence or misconduct.

If the positions eliminated via this policy are reestablished within one year, the employees displaced should be given an opportunity to apply for the positions. The department must coordinate with Human Resources to ensure this communication occurs.

The employee(s) shall also have the right, upon written request within twenty (20) days from the date of the final decision of the President to apply to the Board of Regents for a review of the President’s decision in accordance with the provisions of the Bylaws of the Board.

Reason for Policy

This policy ensures consistency among institutions of the University System as necessary for implementing ethical and legal processes and communication around RIF’s.

This policy also provides institutions with flexible guidelines necessary to meet institutional, University System, State and Federal work regulations and laws.

This policy also supports the University System and institutional financial management goals.

Entities Affected By This Policy

All units of the University System of Georgia are covered by this policy.

Who Should Read This Policy

All institutional Human Resources personnel, managers, supervisors and employees within the University System of Georgia should be aware of this policy.


Contact Phone Email/URL
Office of Human Resources 404-962-3235
Institution Chief Human Resources Officers See University System HR Officer Listing at

Website Address for This Policy

See Policy on Financial Exigency

Related Documents/Resources

Financial Exigency policy


  • Financial Exigency: any event or occurrence that creates a need to reduce financial expenditures for personnel and/or other costs

  • Reduction in Force: A reduction in force (RIF) is an action to reduce the number of employees in a department or at a University overall. A reduction in force may become necessary due to reduced funding, reorganization, and/or changed workload.

  • Georgia Department of Labor Rule 300-2.4-.10 and O.C.G.A. §34-8-70: Georgia’s Unemployment laws state that in the event of a mass layoff, when a requisite number of employees are displaced, certain requirements must be followed. Under Georgia Department of Labor Rules whenever twenty-five (25) or more workers employed in one establishment are separated on the same day, for the same reason, and the separation is permanent, for an indefinite period or for an expected duration of seven (7) or more days, the employer or employing unit shall, within forty-eight (48) hours following such separation, furnish the local office of the department nearest its place of business, Form DOL-402, titled “Mass Separation Notice” (in duplicate) and a copy of Form DOL-402A “Mass Separation Notice (Continuation Sheet),” setting forth the information required thereon.


Identification of Employees for a Reduction in Force

All regular classified employees who have completed their provisional periods are covered by this policy (full-time and part-time regularly scheduled to work twenty (20) or more hours each work week).

Temporary employees, employees funded through sponsored programs and/or contracts, and regular employees scheduled less than twenty (20) hours per week, and provisional period employees may be separated without following this policy.

The decision as to which employee(s) must be separated is determined at the institutional level, subject to the approval of administrators identified by each institution. Each institution should consider financial, supervisory and AA/EEO goals in implementing this policy.

To avoid delays in communicating a RIF each institution should contact their Human Resources Office prior to the anticipated separation of an affected employee by the reduction in force.

A reduction in force decision requires a thorough evaluation of the need for specific positions and the relative qualifications of employees so the institution can provide the highest level of service possible with a smaller work force.

When identifying employees for a reduction in force, management may consider the following factors. This list is not exhaustive and other factors, which are not listed, may be considered:

  • The position classification(s) affected;
  • The appointment type of each employee, and;
  • Impact on institutional equity.
  • Only when multiple positions exist within the department with the same classification but only a subset of those positions has been identified for the RIF, the documented performance of employees in affected classification(s) may be considered. (consult performance section within this policy)

Position Classification

For the purpose of determining which employee(s) will be affected by a reduction in force, comparisons will be made between departmental employees with the same job classification.

Appointment Type

Once the relevant job classification for the reduction in force has been determined, the department head shall make a decision as to which employee(s) is (are) designated for the reduction in force. The type of appointment is the first factor to be considered. Regular employees must be retained over employees with temporary, provisional, and time-limited appointments with the same classifications.


The primary component for determining the performance of employees should be the most recent two (2) annual Performance Evaluation ratings, unless the employee has been employed for one (1) year or less in which case there would only be one (1) annual Performance Evaluation available.

Other components of determining performance are:

  • An active disciplinary action for either job performance or personal conduct;
  • Documented performance difficulties communicated to the employee, but not rising to the level of disciplinary action; or
  • Any other documented indicators of performance.

Management is responsible for making the reduction in force decision using the above factors, and others that may not be listed including reasons not related to performance. A RIF should not be used to remove an employee to avoid adherence to the policy on demotion, suspension or dismissal.


Reduction in Force Process

  1. A supervisor/manager must submit written request for approval of a proposed reduction in force to designated institutional administrators (for example: Dean/VP, Human Resources Administrator, AA/EEO Administrator, CEO/COO). The written request must contain the following information:

    • The reason(s) for the reduction in force;
    • Anticipated date of separation;
    • Name(s) of the employee(s) to be separated and justification for the decision;
    • A listing of all vacant positions in the department which are the same or closely related;
    • Status of recruitment activity for vacant positions which are the same or closely related;
    • What efforts the department has made within the department to avoid the reduction in force of the selected employee;
    • A brief explanation why action other than a reduction in force is not possible;
    • Management contact information; and
    • Current organizational chart of affected department

    Upon receipt in Human Resources, the appropriate Human Resources official will identify the affirmative action information (i.e. race, gender, age, disability status, veteran’s status) for each employee identified for the RIF for use in an Affirmative Action review.

  2. After receiving approval from institution administrators, the supervisor/manager must notify the employee in writing of the reduction in force using the institutional RIF template provided by Human Resources. Whenever possible, this letter should give the employee at least sixty (60) preferably ninety (90) days, prior notice before the reduction in force occurs. The letter should contain the following information:

    • The reason for the reduction in force;
    • The effective date of the reduction in force (whenever possible the employee should receive the notification at least sixty (60) preferably ninety (90) days prior to the effective date)
    • Instructions to contact Human Resources to obtain information about:
      • Unemployment insurance eligibility;
      • The right of employees to appeal the reduction in force to the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia.
      • Retirement system membership and benefit continuation options; and
      • Opportunities for seeking employment within the institution.
  3. The last day the employee works is the effective date of the reduction in force. An employee separated by a reduction in force is paid for accumulated vacation leave (as permitted by Board of Regents policy) in the same manner as other separations.

  4. On the final day of employment, the employee must complete the institution’s clearance process and Human Resources will process all other termination business for the employee.

  5. If applicable, Human Resources will complete Form DOL-402, titled “Mass Separation Notice” (in duplicate) and a copy of Form DOL-402A “Mass Separation Notice (Continuation Sheet),” setting forth the information required thereon (Georgia Department of Labor Rule 300-2-4-.10 and O.C.G.A. §34-8-70).


The responsibilities each party has in connection with the Policy on Reduction in Force are:

Party Responsibility
Vice Chancellor for Human Resources, USG Provide guidance to institution human resources officers on effective utilization of this process, monitor campus utilization of this program through annual reports submitted by each institution on the use of this process, update the system as necessary on the use of this process.
Institution Chief Human Resources Officers Ensure appropriate utilization of the USG RIF policy submit reports in accordance with the vice chancellor of human resources guidelines, ensure utilization of this program is in compliance with applicable laws.
Institution Affirmative Action/EEO Offices Monitor RIF process and its appropriate use to ensure an unbiased and non-discriminatory RIF decisions.
Institution Chief Business Office or designee Notification; serve as a resource for position funding information to ensure accurate identification of positions funded through grants or other sponsored funds, which therefore are not subject to this policy.


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