Section 1. Reduction-In-Force (RIF) is a situation created by abolishing one or more permanent or indefinite positions resulting in the involuntary reassignment, change to lower grade, or separation of employees from their positions.
Section 2. The following are not covered by this article:
- terminations of a temporary appointment, an indefinite appointment in a position to which another employee has been granted a right to return, a temporary promotion, and an indefinite appointment made for a specific period of time;
- separation or demotion for cause, or change to lower grade as a result of a classification
- permanent-conditional employees and indefinite-conditional employees.
Section 3. Special Conditions
- Part-time employees holding positions as described in Section 1 which are covered by this article may only be placed in other part-time positions in accordance with the procedures set out below.
In a RIF, full-time employees may only claim other full-time positions, and part-time employees may only claim other part-time positions.
- Staff members who have competed and been selected for existing affirmative action or career development programs and are participating in the programs or future programs which have been implemented pursuant to Article 8 (Midterm Bargaining) cannot be displaced from those programs by other staff members who are in a RIF. However, should these programs be terminated and the staff members participating in them are in positions described in Section 1, they will be placed in positions in accordance with the procedures set out below.
Section 4. No RIF will provide an advantage to an employee that he/she did not have when the RIF occurred. Similarly, no lateral reassignment will provide an advantage to an employee he/she did not have before the reassignment occurred.
Section 5. The Library shall not institute a RIF as a disciplinary measure against an employee or group of employees.
Section 6. To minimize the adverse impact on employees, the Library shall, where it determines to be practicable or desirable, accomplish any RIF through attrition. Before instituting a RIF, the Library shall, where it determines practicable, take steps to address budget cutbacks by reducing costs.
Section 7. When the Library determines it will reassign employees whose positions are eliminated, it may laterally reassign those affected employees as follows:
- when lateral reassignments are used, all affected employees in a unit will be placed in the same manner;
- to qualify for such a reassignment, an employee must meet the minimum qualifications of that position. Employees will be presented with a list of the vacant positions available, the position descriptions of those positions, the name(s) of the supervisor(s) if known, and other information which might help them fill out an employment application form and express a preference. Employee preferences will be taken into consideration;
- employees will be encouraged to attach such information as education, experience,
pertinent specialized skills and abilities, (e.g., knowledge of foreign or computer languages) and assignment preference;
- where practicable, the Library will reassign qualified employees based on consideration of operational effectiveness and efficiency and the employees' stated first or second preferences. When preferences cannot be granted because too many employees want the same job, the Library shall reassign qualified employees by order of preference in accordance with seniority.
Section 8. In certain instances, the Library may restrict the displacement of employees (see Section 9(c)) in a particular organizational unit when the projected number of displacements would be so great as to have an adverse effect, as determined by the Library, on the bargaining unit and the meeting of required goals and deadlines. In such instances, the Library may establish a percentage beyond which additional displacements will not be allowed.
Section 9. The following are the definitions of the key terms used in this article:
- Competitive Area. Consists of all organizational entities in the Library where positions in the affected employee's competivive level (see: b, below) are located. An affected employee's reassignment to such organizations will be effected in the following sequence whenever possible:
1st competitive sub-area:
in the affected employee's own office or division;
2nd competitive sub-area:
in his/her own service unit; and,
3rd competitive sub-area:
in other service units of the Library.
- Competitive Level. Consists of all positions, occupied or vacant, which are (1) in the same series and grade as the affected employee's current position or (2) in a closely related series at his/her current grade. These positions must be so similar in all important respects that the affected employee might be reassigned to that position with no special training.
- Displacement. Means the supplanting of an employee from his/her position in the Library by an affected employee whose position is being abolished or claimed (see d, below) and who has greater retention preference.
- Claimed Position. Is an occupied position which an affected employee may occupy by displacing another employee who has less retention preference. The claimed position must be:
- in the affected employee's competitive level; or
- one that the affected employee held at the Library in the past, but which is not at a higher grade level than his/her current position; or
- in the same series as his/her competitive level, but at a lower grade, and for which he/she meets the minimum qualifications.
- Position for Which an Employee Qualifies. Refers to a vacant position, which management had decided it will fill, for which the affected employee meets the minimum qualifications. This position must be in compliance with Section 4, above, but may have a lower grade than that of the affected employee's current position.
- Retention Preference. Means the right of an affected employee to be retained insofar as is possible in the employment of the Library in his/her current position. For affected employees covered by this article, retention preference shall be based on length of Library service (intervening military service will not constitute a break in Library service). In the case of identical lengths of Library service, retention preference will be determined by:
- the most recent performance rating; or
- other official written evidence pertaining to performance on the job that was in existence in the employee's official personnel folder prior to the commencement of the RIF.
- Advantage. Is defined as placement in a position at a higher grade or in a position with a higher promotion plan than the incumbent's current promotion plan or placement in a supervisory position unless the employee exercises retreat rights.
- Retreat. Means the placement of the affected employee in another position at the same but not at a higher level than his/her current position which the affected employee held in the past and which is held by an employee with less retention preference.
Section 10. Immediately prior to the official notification to the affected employee, the Library shall inform the Guild of any approved RIF. This notice, in writing, shall include the reasons for the planned RIF, the approximate numbers and types of positions affected, the approximate date of the action, and an invitation to the Guild to participate in meetings with affected employees conducted by the Library to explain RIF procedures and answer any questions.
Section 11. The Library shall notify affected employees at least ninety (90) days, except in fiscal emergencies, but no fewer than thirty (30) days in advance of the RIF, unless precluded by law. This notice, in writing, shall include the following information:
- the action the Library intends to take;
- reason for the RIF;
- effective date of the RIF;
- affected employee's Library service computation date;
- affected employee's appointment status;
- affected employee's competitive area and level;
- why any employee at the same competitive level in the division or office affected by the RIF with less retention preference is being retained. This includes information concerning why any employee occupying a position at a lower grade that is in the same promotion plan with the affected employee's competitive level is being retained;
- severance pay, as applicable;
- time limits on grievances and complaints of discrimination and where they should be addressed;
- salary and grade retention rights, if applicable; and
- reemployment rights, if applicable.
Section 12. The affected employee shall submit an employment application form.
Section 13. Upon notification to the affected employee in respect to a staff reduction, the Library will impose a hiring freeze on positions in those series that are identified by the affected employee's competitive level and for which he/she qualifies. A hiring freeze under the terms of this section will be for at least ninety (90) days.
Section 14. The employee and/or the employee's representative shall have the right to review all records pertaining to a proposed separation or assignment to a lower grade level position. The right to review includes examination of the retention register of positions which the employee has the right to claim. The retention register shall be made available immediately upon the employee's receipt of either an offer of a position at a lower grade level or a notice of proposed separation.
Section 15. The Library shall take the following sequential steps using vacant or occupied positions in the Library to resolve the RIF:
Step 1. Using Vacant Same-graded Positions:
Prior to the effective date of the RIF, place the affected employee in a vacant position in the same competitive level, or in a position for which the affected employee qualifies and which is at the same grade as his/her current position.
Step 2. Using Occupied Same-graded Positions:
If Step 1, above is not successful prior to the effective date of the RIF, place the affected employee in a position occupied by another employee in the same competitive level who has less retention preference.
Step 3. Using Occupied Same-graded Position (retreat rights):
If Step 1 and 2, above, are not successful, prior to the effective date of the RIF, place the affected employee in another position at the same but not at a higher level than his/her current position which the affected employee held in the past and which is held by an employee with less retention preference.
Step 4. Using Vacant One-lower-graded Positions:
If Step 1 through 3, above, are not successful, prior to the effective date of the RIF, place the affected employee in a position for which he/she qualifies and which is one grade lower than his/her current position.
Step 5. Using Occupied One-lower-graded Positions:
If Steps 1 through 4, above, are not successful, prior to the effective date of the RIF, place the affected employee in a position that is one grade lower than his/her current position and which is occupied by another employee who has less retention preference.
This position must:
a. be in the same series as the affected employee's competitive level; or,
b. be a position which the affected employee held in the past.
Step 6. Using Vacant Two-lower-graded Positions:
If Steps 1 through 5, above, are unsuccessful, prior to the effective date of the RIF, place the affected employee in a position for which he/she qualifies and which is two grades lower than his/her current position.
Step 7. Using Occupied Two-lower-graded Positions:
If Steps 1 through 6, above, are not successful, prior to the effective date of the RIF, place the affected employee in a position that is two grades lower than his/her current position and which is occupied by another employee who has less retention preference.
This position must:
a. be in the same series as the affected employee's competitive level; or,
b. be a position which the affected employee held in the past.
Step 8. Using Other Vacant or Occupied Positions not Addressed Above:
If Steps 1 through 7, above, are not successful, prior to the effective date of the RIF, repeat the procedure for Steps 6 and 7, above, for positions which are three or more grades lower than the affected employee's current position until a placement is made or he/she declines further consideration.
Step 9. For Occupied Entry Level Positions:
An affected employee may claim an occupied position at the entry level when that position is in the same series or closely related series as the affected employee's position and the incumbent of that position has less retention preference. The affected employee must also meet the minimum qualifications for that position.
To minimize the impact of a RIF on employees who occupy positions as specified in Steps 2 and 3, above, the Library reserves the right to bypass these steps and offer the affected employee a vacant position as specified in Step 4. The affected employee has the right to decline such an offer, and if declined, the Library will follow Steps 2, 3, and successive steps until a placement is made, the affected employee declines further consideration, or the affected employee is separated.
When a RIF is resolved by placing the affected employee in a position which is at a lower grade level than that of his/her current position, salary and grade retention rights will be extended whenever possible in accordance with law, governing regulations, LCRs, and this Agreement.
Section 16. An affected employee will be given ten (10) calendar days in which to accept or refuse any placement made in accordance with Section 15, above. Acceptance of a position made in accordance with Steps 1 through 9 of Section 15, or in accordance with the bypass provision of Section 15, will conclude the Library's obligation to the affected employee insofar as the RIF is concerned. Refusal of any placement offered in accordance with Steps 1 through 9 of Section 15 will result in separation of the affected employee.
Section 17. The Library will establish and maintain for three (3) years a reemployment list for employees separated by RIF. The affected employee will be notified of his/her placement on the reemployment list.
- Employees affected by a RIF for whom no positions can be located shall be assisted by the Library as is practicable in seeking other employment opportunities.
- When employees are to be displaced as a result of a decision to contract out the work they perform, the Library will include in its solicitation a clause requiring the contractor to offer the right of first refusal for employment openings under the contract to qualified downgraded and/or separated employees, if that employment is consistent with post-Government employment conflict of interest standards. Affected employees will not be required to exercise their right of first refusal until such time as the Library has fully met its obligations, as provided for in this article, regarding the affected employees' placement. Employees declining to exercise such right shall in no way diminish rights he or she might otherwise have under the provisions of this article and this Agreement.
Section 19. The Library shall explain to eligible affected employees the program for early retirement.
Section 20. Placement on Administrative Furlough
As an alternative to abolishing an employee's position, the Library may furlough (with the employee's consent) an employee who might otherwise be placed in a RIF status. As an alternative to abolishing positions, the Library retains the right to furlough when it determines that the shortage of funds or curtailment of work affecting the position will not exceed one (1) year.
The Library may use furlough only when it intends to recall the employee to the same position as that from which he/she had been furloughed. When the possibility of recall within one (1) year is doubtful, furlough should not be used.
- Order of Furlough. The Library may not separate an affected employee in a RIF while another employee having the same competitive level, but less retention preference, is on furlough. If the Library is unable to place the affected employee at his/her current grade level, the Library shall provide the affected employee the opportunity to be placed on administrative furlough. Should the affected employee decline administrative furlough, the Library will attempt to place the affected employee in a position which is in this sequence:
- one grade lower than his/her competitive level;
- two grades lower than his/her competitive level;
- three grades lower, etc. Should the affected employee reject an offer at this level, he/she would then be separated from the Library.
Note: For professional positions in grades between GS-5 and GS-11, the following are positions one grade lower, GS-5 for GS-7, GS-7 for GS-9, and GS-9 for GS-11.
- Should the affected employee accept placement on administrative furlough, the originally furloughed employee would be given a thirty (30) day RIF notice.
- Order of Recall. When the Library has more than one employee furloughed from the same competitive level, it shall recall those employees in the order of retention preference.
- No Recall from Furlough. If the budget or work situation responsible for the use of furlough changes so that a furloughed employee cannot be recalled to duty, a reduction-in-force notice (as described in this article) will be issued to the furloughed employee at least thirty (30) days before the date of separation. If it becomes apparent that a one (1) year furlough is to end in separation, the notice will be issued soon enough to keep the furlough from exceeding the maximum length of one (1) year and still provide the full thirty (30) day notice of separation as required.
- No Return from Furlough. If a furloughed employee refuses or does not respond to a call to return to duty, the employee shall be separated. The official record will reflect RIF as the reason for separation.
Section 21. The Library agrees to apply all provisions of this article fairly and equitably. Nothing in this section diminishes the Library's retained management rights under 5 USC 7106 (a)(2)(A).
Section 22. A RIF is completed when all affected employees are placed in positions or are separated from the Library.
Section 23. The Parties will meet, consult, and bargain over the impact and implementation of changes in conditions of employment not covered by this Agreement.
Section 24. All reductions-in-force will be subject to procedures and requirements, which mandate that all non-competitive personnel actions be based on legitimate, non-discriminatory, job related criteria and that Human Resources Services shall review those actions to assure their compliance.
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